Cherry Cola Barbecue Pork


Cherry-flavored Cheerwine has been a favorite in North Carolina since L.D. Peeler created it more than 100 years ago. Used as the braising liquid for a pork shoulder, it makes out-of-this-world pulled pork barbecue.

Cherry Cola Barbecue Pork
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 (5-pound) pork shoulder or Boston butt
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles cherry cola*
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Bakery hamburger buns, Pickled Red Onions (recipe follows), pickle slices, to serve
  1. In a small bowl, stir together salt, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, and coriander. Season pork with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, place pork and cherries. Bake for 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Add cola; cover with foil, and cut small vents in foil. Bake until fork-tender and a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 185°, about 2½ hours more. Remove from Dutch oven, and let stand for 15 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred pork, discarding fat and bones; reserve cooking liquid.
  4. In Dutch oven, bring cooking liquid, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and mustard to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add pork to sauce, tossing to coat. Serve on buns with Pickled Red Onions and pickle slices.
*We used Cheerwine.

Pickled Red Onions
Serves: About 2 cups
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a small enamel-coated Dutch oven, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 1 minute; remove from heat, and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.



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