A sweet and spicy Saturday meal: Dr. Pepper Pork

I like pork. I never met a pig product I didn't like. I am particularly partial to the pork loin, for it is lovely in its diverse applications. I don't ever pass up an opportunity to buy a pork loin when it is on sale, and I always plan to cook it in the crock pot over the weekend, but somehow I never do. Crock pots require a degree of thinking ahead that just doesn't agree with my fabulous and spontaneous lifestyle. Or, at least, with my ADD.

So, with my most recent pork purchase, I planned to slow cook a little barbacoa, but of course, I remembered this plan at about 4 in the afternoon on the day it was intended. Oops. Go ahead and consider this a crock pot recipe that I have already bastardized to go in the oven. I like to make a big mess of something on Saturdays so that there are leftovers for the rest of the week, particularly right now, when I could give birth at any moment. It's comforting to know there's food around. You'd think I was born in the depression, the way I'm stockpiling food.

Traditional pork barbacoa has chilis in adobo sauce, and I do love a good chili in adobo, but it is awfully spicy, and I like to make things my 3-year-old will eat these days. So, while this recipe has a kick, it's not too spicy for a delicate palate. If you love spicy, go ahead and blend in some chilis in adobo. You won't regret it.

Mr. Meat and Potatoes gave me a Soda Stream for Christmas, mostly to shut me up since I've been whining about wanting one since June. I want every single thing I drink to have bubbles in it. And now, since this most precious of gifts has been bestowed upon me, it does. I've been compulsively using it, and I like to incorporate it into my cooking as often as possible, so into the barbacoa went a liter of homemade Dr. Pepper. People, there isn't much that Dr. Pepper can't make better. And Dr. Pepper you made in your house? Righteous. I mean, you could use store-bought Dr. Pepper to fine results, I'm sure, but somehow making a fresh batch right there for my recipe seemed far superior.

Dr. Pepper Pork Barbacoa

For the sauce:

2 cups El Pato Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 liter (about 5 1/2 cups) Dr. Pepper (do not use diet)

1 tablespoon juice from pickled jalapenos

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

few shakes of crushed red pepper


3 pounds pork loin or pork butt

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil (I had some pepper-infused olive oil that I used for this to great results)

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F.

Then salt and pepper your pork liberally and heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Toss the pork in the oil and brown thoroughly on all sides. Do not skimp on this step. Turn on your vent, because this could get rather smoky.

Meanwhile, mix up your sauce. I just stirred mine together but if you are using chilis in adobo you'll want to blend or food process it to make it all smooth and incorporated.

Just put everything except the Dr.Pepper in a bowl and stir. Pour the Dr. Pepper into the pot around the pork and then pour the tomato mixture over the pork to coat.

Cook at 325 F for about three hours.

I served mine with some jasmine rice and black beans, a la rice bowl with green onions and cilantro, but you could wrap it in a tortilla or even on a bun. Whatever makes your skirt fly up.

It makes a lot and will freeze nicely for later, say, when you are recovering from a cesarean section and cooking sounds like a torture akin to pulling out your arm hairs one by one.


SCOE 5 years, 8 months ago

Megan, I have the perfect solution for your lack of planning and ADD (I resemble both conditions). It's called electric pressure cooker. My wife and I purchased one about a year ago and use it several times a week. You can cook crock pot meals in a fraction of the time. It will make cheap cuts of meat tender and tasty in no time. If you forget to take something out of the freezer in the morning it will still cook in time for a great dinner. You can cook a whole frozen chicken in about an hour (give or take) and when you are done it just falls off the bone making deboneing a snap. For pork loin or roasts you can cook it in about 40 mins. (depending on size) and it just falls apart, add a little BBQ sauce, cook a few more mins. and makes great pulled pork sandwiches. Serve with homemade oven fries and you have the perfect meat and potatoes meal for hubbys and kids. I think you could make this recipe in the pressure cooker in less time than the oven (might have to de-corbonate the Dr. Pepper don't know about the added pressure, but you would still have the flavor). I would like for you to try your slow cooker recipes in a pressure cooker to see what you think. Cookers are reasonable priced and my wife and I are having a blast trying different things. If your family likes soups, stews and chilies than you have to get one of these and give it a try, you (and hubby) won't be sorry. I to am a meat and taters man and other than grilling or smoking this is the next best thing. Looking forward to seeing some pressure cooker articles in the future.

Megan Green Stuke 5 years, 8 months ago

YES!!!!!!!! Where do I get this!!?? I want this miracle appliance IMMEDIATELY!

SCOE 5 years, 8 months ago

They sell them at Bed & Bath, Kohls, maybe Target and on a couple on QVC. QCV has videos to watch if you like.

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