If you have shopped at a grocery store or scrolled through any form of social media this summer, you have likely seen the Not Your Father's Root Beer prominently displayed, whether it be at the front of Hannaford's beer aisle or in the selfied hand of a friend who has jumped on the bandwagon. Now I'm not a jump-on-the-bandwagon kind of girl, but an ale that tastes so much like real root beer that people can't tell the difference? It sounded like the perfect concoction to pour over ice cream. For my sister Rachel's bachelorette party a couple of weekends ago, we decided making ice cream floats out of it was a must.
The verdict? The floats were delicious (what's not to love?). But did the NYFRB taste exactly like a refreshing bottle of IBC? Sadly, it did not. And after one float, we were so full we didn't need to eat dinner.
The remaining bottles have been sitting in my fridge ever since.
What does one do with leftover beer once the thrill of ice cream floats is gone? Pour it all over meat and throw it in the CrockPot, of course.
I absolutely adore pork tenderloins because they are the most versatile meat there is. It doesn't matter what you flavor them with - let them slow cook and they will inevitably taste amazing. I have been cooking a lot of pulled pork lately. Something about summer makes me crave BBQ and buns. Plus, in our steamy second story apartment, any excuse not to turn the oven on is welcome.
My mother introduced me to a 3-ingredient pulled pork recipe that makes sandwiches so good they could make a grown man fall to his knees and beg for a second. The recipe simply calls for a boneless pork tenderloin, a can of root beer, and barbecue sauce. I thought that if those three ingredients could generate such outstanding flavor, what could a little extra pizzaz do? So I rubbed the pork in chunky dijon and drowned it in spiked root beer.
The result? Tender, juicy pork that fell apart when touched by a fork. Not to mention it made our apartment smell like a southern style BBQ joint.
I usually like to cook anything that I'm making in the CrockPot on low heat. Low and slow makes for some delicious flavors and aromas. But because I got a little carried away setting up my new classroom and didn't realize how time was getting away from me, I didn't start the pork until around 3:00 in the afternoon. So, high it was. I would suggest cooking the pork on high heat for 4 hours, or on low heat for 7-8. Either way, it's going to taste glorious.
Once the pork falls apart easily and is no longer pink, it's ready for shredding. I do it right in the CrockPot, just to really get all those juices soaked in. Just make sure to drain the remaining juices before transferring it to another bowl if this is the option you choose. The other option is to remove the pork from the CrockPot whole and shred it in a large bowl using two forks. After shredding, mix in the barbecue sauce and voila! You have some super delicious pulled pork!
Now, there is of course one final, and essential, component to a perfect pulled pork sandwich. And that's the bun. I chose some yummy onion buns that were in the bakery section of the grocery store because I knew they could double for bulkie rolls for a turkey sandwich picnic later on in the week. But you can use pretty much any bread. Just make sure to take the extra couple of minutes to toast them - it makes all the difference! It's possible to toast them using a frying pan, but I find it's easier to do it on the griddle. It makes for more efficient and even grilling. P.S...don't skimp on the butter! :)
Once the buns are toasted, you can load them high with pork. Topping the pork with cole slaw, mustard, or shredded cheese is always yummy. For us though? We just ate them straight, served with a generous portion of new Maine potatoes (picked by my studly local farmer... a.k.a., Ethan) and corn on the cob. If you couldn't tell, we are clinging onto summer just as hard as we can!
This pulled pork sammie has everything going for it: smoky meat, buttery buns, and soul-warming, finger-lickin' satisfaction. All you need is a little classic country music, and you'll feel like you're in your own personal honky tonk. Enjoy!
Love well and eat well,
Recipe for Not Your Father's Pulled Pork
- 1 - 1 1/2 lb boneless pork tenderloin
- 1 bottle (12 oz) Not Your Father's Root Beer
- 1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 4 bulkie rolls, cut in half
- 4-6 Tbsp butter
- Place pork into CrockPot. Pour beer over meat. Rub meat with mustard. Cook on low 4 hours or high 7-8 hours. Flip tenderloin halfway through cooking.
- Shred pork using two forks. Remove from CrockPot and place in a large bowl, making sure to drain excess liquid.
- Mix the pork with the barbecue sauce until well combined. Add more barbecue sauce if desired.
- Set griddle temperature to 350 degrees F. Once it is hot, coat the insides of the rolls with butter and place them butter-side down on the griddle. Let cook until brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Pile pork onto the rolls. Can be enjoyed plain or served with coleslaw, shredded cheese, or mustard on top.