cooking with the doctor

When I woke up this morning, there was snow on the ground. It’s all melted into rain now, thank you for asking, but this mid-April brush with winter made me all the more excited, and grateful, for the hot (in both senses!) leftovers from last night, destined for today’s lunch table: Dr. Pepper pulled pork.

Considering I hadn’t even tasted Dr. Pepper at this time last year, this dish is a big step. Considering I don’t consider myself a huge fan of spicy foods, and this dish calls for a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, this dish is an even bigger step. And yet the idea of slow-roasting pork shoulder in both for five hours caught hold of me, if only for curiosity’s sake. (Billy is so lucky, to hear entreaties like “This sounds weird. Let’s make it for dinner!) We tried it last weekend and, with some trepidation, spooned it into corn tortillas with sour cream, tomato salsa, caramelized onions and red peppers, and a little jack cheese.

It was unbelievably good. The meat was quite spicy but a little sweet, with an almost barbecued flavor, and the smooth sour cream mellowed out all that heat. Matched with the acidity of the tomatoes and the deliciously sweet onions and peppers, and the cheese — I was just done. It’s the best slow-cooked meat I’ve ever had, and definitely the best pulled pork.

We made it again last night, less than a week after its first audition. It’s that good. I know it sounds weird, and you’re likely thinking, there’s surely a reason chefs don’t regularly baste their roasts with soda . . . but try it anyway. If only for curiosity’s sake. I think you’ll be converted.

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
(Via the Pioneer Woman)

Enough meat for 10-12 6inch tortillas. How many that serves is between you, your guests, and your stomach.

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs pork shoulder (also called pork butt; you can buy the whole shoulder, about six pounds, or packaged shoulder cuts, which are just the right size for this recipe)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or about 3 ounces
  • 1 can Dr. Pepper, more to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Cut the onion into wedges and lay it at the bottom of a heavy dutch oven. Add the meat. Salt and pepper generously. Add the brown sugar and chipotle peppers, and pour the Dr. Pepper over it all.

Lid it, and cook in the oven until the meat is positively falling off the bone and pulls apart easily, about five hours. (Pictured in the photo above. If, after some preliminary fork investigation, your meat looks more like the photo at the very top of the post, it’s not ready. Return it to the oven, lidded, for another hour.) Using two forks, shred the pork, discarding big pieces of fat. Put it on the stovetop and keep warm until ready to use. Feel free to add some more Dr. Pepper at this point, just for kicks, for the meat to absorb.

N.B. Although I have not tried it this way, you could definitely adapt the recipe to a slow cooker — just cook it for longer, i.e. all day.

We love it in corn tortillas (ahem, not pictured) with salsa, sour cream, grilled onions, peppers, and cheese.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Martha on April 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Wow, looks delicious! Weird, yes, but tempting!


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