With just three ingredients, you can put together these amazingly delicious pulled pork sandwiches. It tastes like you spent all afternoon in the kitchen, but it’ll be our little secret that you only spent 15 minutes putting these together!
We all have those days where pulling dinner together can be a challenge, whether you are juggling kids’ activities, a job, or even both! Or honestly, maybe you just want a break from making a time-consuming dinner! Hey, we’ve all been there! But I know you also want to give your family a great-tasting meal that they will enjoy eating and that you can feel good about serving.
I have a pretty good list of crockpot meals that save me on my busy days. This recipe is at the top of my list. The whole family loves it! I love that it is simple, delicious, and versatile. I typically serve it on hamburger buns as a sandwich (but one of my kids likes to eat it without a bun), and we often will eat the leftovers with a side of rice the next day. I love meals where you can serve the leftovers the next night differently, so it doesn’t feel like we’re having leftovers!
For this recipe:
Pork loin, root beer, and barbecue sauce…that’s it! It feels like cheating (is cooking supposed to be this easy?)! Cooking dinner does not need to be complex or challenging; it just needs to taste good!
Why root beer? Root beer – or any soda – does an amazing job of tenderizing meat. Slow cooking the pork in the soda breaks down all the tougher connective tissues in the meat, leaving you with incredibly tender, moist meat. Also, don’t worry about all the sugar in the soda because when the meat is done cooking, you will pour off any excess soda.
The soda won’t add much flavor to the meat; its only job is to tenderize. But don’t worry, the barbecue sauce is where your flavor will come from. You can use any barbecue sauce you enjoy. You can also add more or less than the recipe calls for based on your personal preference.
Our favorite toppings are cilantro, pickled carrots, and daikon (Japanese radish). Not only is it pretty to look at, but the carrots and daikon add a nice crunch to the sandwich, which is a nice contrast to the tender pork. Also, as with any pickled vegetable, the tang from the vinegar complements the other flavors from the barbecue sauce perfectly! I buy the carrots and the daikon together, already pickled. You can also buy them raw and pickle them yourself.
There are a variety of ways to serve these sandwiches, you could add sautéed onions, coleslaw, or even pineapple!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker, Instant Pot, Crock Pot
- 2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 12 ounce bottle of root beer, any brand
- 1 18 ounce bottle of barbecue sauce, any brand
- salt to taste
- 8 hamburger buns
- pickled carrots and daikon
- Place the pork in the slow cooker or Instant Pot; pour the root beer over the meat.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. The center of the meat should reach between 145°F and 160°F. (See notes for Instant Pot cooking times).
- Take the cooked pork out of the cooker and shred the pork using two forks. The meat should pull apart easily. Pour out any reaming root beer and discard.
- Return the meat to the slow cooker, and stir in the barbecue sauce. Add salt to taste.
- Serve over hamburger buns and garnish with the toppings of your choice.