An easy 3-ingredient slow cooker pulled pork using pork tenderloin - great for sandwiches or sliders!
Pulled pork is an Eastern North Carolina specialty, where my mom is from.
When we would visit my grandmother over by the coast, we’d always pick up some roadside barbecue, which in that area of the state always means pulled pork and usually means a vinegar-based sauce.
It’s simple, it’s scrumptious, it’s decidedly Southern. And the N.C. version is cooked so long it falls off the bone. We shred it and serve it on hamburger buns. It just feels like home to me.
The real-deal guys in the pit go slow and low for hours upon hours - often overnight. You and me, we gotta find another way.
I gotta say, this 3-ingredient homemade version holds up! It’s amazing how simple and how hands-off this meal is, yet how delicious and tender and juicy and flavorful the pork comes out. I do use BBQ sauce here - which would be frowned upon in the Eastern part of the state - because it brings a ton of flavor and extra moisture to the pork after it’s cooked and so completely tender.
And the pork in this recipe? It’s pork tenderloin.
It’s light, it’s lean, it’s not full of fatty spots that are gonna get in the way of loving on your pulled pork sandwich.
It’s also not gonna leave you with a lead ball in your stomach when you’ve finished your meal. And gone back for seconds. And sneaked an extra forkful while you clean dishes. 😉
The other sneaky thing about this dish is using root beer. Now, soda may not be the healthiest option - and it’s certainly a departure from what you usually see here on this blog - but I gotta say, I don’t even feel bad about it.
It just works and I go with it.
I tend to be a little more forgiving with traditional dishes that have been passed down. Don’t mess too much with a good thing, right?
You can serve this pulled pork as a sandwich for dinner - one of our favorites - or you can pile it onto little sliders for finger foods at a party - great for game day eats! They are such a hit!
Be sure to make some of my most favorite no-mayo coleslaw to go with this. It’s vinegar-based and the perfect tangy-sweet accompaniment to this pork. Plus, it’s the traditional Eastern North Carolina way to go. 👍
Welcome to the South, y’all! I think you’re gonna love it.
Slow cooker pulled pork
An easy 3-ingredient slow cooker pulled pork using pork tenderloin!
- 2 ½ pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and silver skin removed
- 1 20-ounce can Dr. Pepper soda (or other root beer)
- 18 oz. bottle BBQ sauce (or 2 heaping cups homemade)
- Place pork tenderloin in slow cooker. Pour soda over the pork.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Drain well. Remove and shred pork, then return to the slow cooker.
- Stir in the BBQ sauce until well mixed.
- Serve immediately or let it sit on warm until ready to serve.
Make my easy no-mayo coleslaw (Eastern N.C. style) to go on top of or alongside of your sandwiches.
This pulled pork freezes great! Just let it cook and pack it up in a labeled bag for the freezer. I love having some on hand for busy weeks.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 10ggSaturated Fat: 3ggCholesterol: 184mgmgProtein: 59gg
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
Yum!! My hubby made slow cooked pork last week and it was AMAZING!!!! Cant wait to try your recipe! xx
Oh you will love it then! Slow cooked pork is fantastic and this recipe makes it so easy. (Plus it's a lighter than most since it uses the pork tenderloin!) Have a great weekend! XO
Alli @ Tornadough Alli
This looks so good! I just made a pork tenderloin in my crockpot the other day! This recipe looks amazing, I will have to try this for next time for sure! I would love for your to come link up at tonight's Throw Back Thursday link party!
Thanks Alli! It's such a simple recipe but turns out so very flavorful! I missed last night, but will definitely bookmark you and come party next week 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Here planning 'back to school ' weeknight dinners...... this is DEFINITELY going on my list!
Good for you - planning is key for me too! Hope you all love this one - it's so easy to make and full of flavor!!
Do you get rid of all the accumulated liquid in the crock pot when the pork is done before adding the BBQ sauce? Thank you!
Hi Ruveen! No, I don't drain the liquid. I find that once I shred the pork, return it to the crock pot and get it stirred in, there isn't much extra liquid left (the shredded pork reabsorbs it, which helps keep the pork so flavorful). If you're worried you might have too much, feel free to take some out and save it to the side. Then you can add it back in if needed to help keep everything moist. Hope that helps!
I have a pressure cooker that subs as a slow cooker when needed. Do I need to adjust the time that it slow cooks because there is no high or low button?
And I am only using one tenderloin, should I adjust the time as well?
Hi Allison! So, I actually have an Instant Pot version of this recipe if you want to check it out: https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/instant-pot-pulled-pork/ The caveat though is that I think if you're using a pork tenderloin, it's really better slow cooked since it's not as fatty. (I recommend a boneless pork loin or pork shoulder for the pressure cooker version.) I don't know what pressure cooker you have or how the translations work, but you might be able to look in your manual or Google it to see if it's high or low or somewhere in the middle on the slow cooker setting. Feel free to drop your model here and I can try to do some poking around to help you adjust this recipe. 😊
Hi Kathryn! I actually cooked it for half the time and it turned out fine, although I forgot to cut the root beer amount in half. It wasn't a big deal though, I just poured the extra liquid out. I will add a note, because I am a vinegar loving bbq gal, I wish I didn't add the bbq sauce to after it was cooked (it in addition to cooking in the root beer). I don't love sweet and saucy bbq, but if you do....this is a winner! It didn't help that my hubby bought a rich bourbon bbq sauce either! Again, if you like sweet bbq, you'll love it! If you like more vinegar style, you will probably want to make some adjustments 🙂
I am going to make the honey garlic chicken tonight in my pressure cooker converted to slow cooker. I will post my pressure cooker info on that recipe so we can see how it works out!
I'm so glad it turned out well! Also, yum on the bourbon BBQ sauce - that's totally up my alley! But I appreciate your notes on adjusting if you want a more vinegar-style sauce. 😊