Coca-Cola, you ask? Yep. It’s really not so unusual. Braising meat in rich sweet liquid is pretty common and combining cola with chili sauce makes a solid BBQ sauce. You could use other sodas—Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, cherry cola (AKA here as Cheerwine), ginger ale, even root beer. Just do NOT use diet soda! As for the pork, it’s gotta be a leg portion—any other cut is too lean. Boston butt is your cut—the name used whether from the shoulder or butt.
Pulled pork is an easy party recipe because it's a flexible and forgiving process with several make-ahead stages. Timeline-wise, you could season the meat a day or two ahead and let it dry brine in the fridge. Or toss everything together and go. Cooking can be done up to 2 days ahead. Game day is easy too, especially if you serve from a crock pot to keep it warm for hours.
Serve it Up!
Coca-Cola Boston Butt BBQ is amazing served over our heirloom gourmet grits. Truly delicious! We recommend Creamy Country Grits, or go carefree with our Basic Crock Pot Grits. With a nod to traditional BBQ, top your grits bowl with coleslaw or plain shredded cabbage and dill pickle slices. A sprinkle of chopped sweet onion, like a Vidalia, is nice too. Or serve it on buns or in tacos!
Makes 10 to 15 servings on grits or buns | Cooking time: 5 to 10 hours, depending on the method you use
Prepare the Meat
If the roast comes with layer of skin and fat, trim it off, along with any big exterior blocks of fat.
Place half the onion in the bottom of a crockpot or a heavy dutch oven. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes, if using. Coat both sides of the meat with the seasoning. Lay the pork on top of the onions and top with the remaining onions and bay leaves.
Make-ahead note: If dry brining the meat ahead of time, cover the pot and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Cook the Pulled Pork
In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the Coca-Cola, chili sauce, and mustard. Pour the mixture over the meat. Cover the pot.
If baking in the oven, cook at 300˚ F for 5 to 6 hours, turning a couple of times in the process. The meat is ready when it breaks apart when lifted. If using a crock pot, cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours, High for 4 to 6 hours.
Transfer the BBQ to a platter. Pull out any bones and trim off large pieces of fat, if they bother you. Tent with foil while you take care of the sauce.
Make the Sauce
Transfer the sauce to a measuring cup. Let it settle a moment, then skim off most of the fat (it’s OK to leave a little). Add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and tinker with the seasonings, if you like. You should have 2 to 2½ cups of sauce—more is better.
Make-ahead note: At this point the pork and sauce can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days. Reheat before pulling and serving.
Pull and Serve the BBQ
When ready to serve, transfer the meat to a cutting board and “pull” the pork into shreds. If the shreds are really long and don’t seem fork friendly, make a few chops across the pile of meat. Alternately, if you prefer chunky “chopped” BBQ, cut the meat into thick slices then chop to the size you prefer.
Transfer the BBQ to a serving dish and pour about 1 cup of the sauce over top. Serve the remaining sauce alongside the BBQ. You can also serve the BBQ in a crock pot and keep it warm for up to 2 hours. Keep it covered, checking every half hour or so, and adding more sauce if it appears to be drying out.
Serve Coca-Cola Boston Butt BBQ over Barkley’s Mill Stone Ground Heirloom Grits.Bonus Points
For parties and events, like the Super Bowl, we love to set up a grits bar with lots of unique toppings. Coca Cola pulled pork BBQ is perfect on a grits bar. Match it with Festive Charleston Shrimp and Grits and you’ve covered surf and turf! Check out our tips on setting up a Grits Bar.