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posted June 14, 2022

Cherry Cola Pulled Pork

This cherry cola pulled pork is bursting with cherry cola flavor from the inside out. Injected, and spritzed with cherry flavored cola, and slathered in a sweet cherry cola BBQ sauce, this smoked pulled pork is beyond delicious!

Cherry cola pulled pork sandwiches on a serving platter with text overlay - Cherry Cola Pulled Pork.

Cherry Cola Pulled Pork

The method for making this pulled pork is pretty traditional, but I’ve added a few twists to really bump up the cherry cola flavor profile. If you’ve never smoked a pork butt or pork shoulder before, check out my post for Simple Smoked Pulled Pork for an in-depth post on smoking pulled pork.

To tie all of the flavors together at the end, I served this cherry cola smoked pork butt with some homemade cherry cola BBQ sauce. Honestly, the smoked pork butt itself is incredibly juicy and tender, so the sauce isn’t totally necessary. but the flavors are so good the sauce is the perfect finishing touch for this cherry cola pulled pork.

Pork butt being injected with cherry cola.

Ingredients for Cherry Cola Pulled Pork

This pulled pork will take a bit of time to cook, so be sure you have set aside a day to dedicate to this little food baby. Once you are ready to smoke this cherry cola pulled pork, here’s what you’ll need to grab (or make) prior to sticking the meat on the smoker.

  • 8-10 pound bone-in pork butt. Definitely go with the bone-in pork butt for this recipe! If you cannot find bone-in pork butt, boneless will do.
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Rub. My Sweet Rub is a Hey Grill Hey cornerstone, and I always recommend having some on hand for a handful of our recipes. You can make this using my recipe for Sweet Pork Rub or you can purchase a bottle from the Hey Grill Hey Store.
  • 3 cups cherry cola. One cup of cherry cola will be used for the injection, one for the spritz while the meat is on the smoker, and one cup for the braising liquid.
  • Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce. This sauce has been a popular sauce here on Hey Grill Hey. It’s sweet and tangy and tastes great on more than just pulled pork. You can check out the full recipe on my post for Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce.

Pork butt being seasoned with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.

How to Make Cherry Cola Pulled Pork

Now that you have all your ingredients assembled, it’s time to smoke up some dinner! Here’s how to make cherry cola pulled pork.

  1. Preheat. Head on into the backyard and fire up your favorite smoker. I recommend using cherry wood for this pulled pork, and preheat until the temperature is holding steady at 225 degrees F.
  2. Inject and season. Using a meat injector, inject 1 cup of cherry cola all around the pork butt. Next, season on all sides with Sweet Rub.
  3. Smoke. Smoke the pork butt directly on the grill grates of the smoker until the internal temperature of the smoked pork butt reaches 165 degrees F.
  4. Braise. Place the smoked pork butt in an aluminum pan with one cup of cherry cola. Wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, and return the pan to the smoker. Continue to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.
  5. Rest. Once the pork hits 200 degrees F, remove it from the smoker. Rest the meat for 30 minutes.
  6. Shred and serve. Remove the bone from the meat and discard any gristle and large chunks of fat. Next, shred the meat with some meat shredder claws. Serve as-is or piled high on a bun with Homemade Coleslaw and Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce.

Pork butt in a cherry cola braise with a meat thermometer reading 200 degrees F.

How Long to Smoke Pork Butt for Pulled Pork

It will take approximately 10-14 hours to fully smoke this pork butt. The total cook time will vary greatly depending on the size of your pork butt, the consistency of the heat on your smoker, and a variety of other factors.

Rather than stare at the clock while you cook this cherry cola pulled pork, pay attention to TEMPERATURE. The goal for this pulled pork is 200 degrees F.

Once the pork crosses that 200 degrees F internal temperature, you’ll know that the tight connective tissues inside the pork shoulder will have broken down and the smoked pork butt will easily shred apart. I recommend using THIS instant meat thermometer to track your temperature during the cooking process.

Cherry cola pork being shredded with meat shredder claws.

Tips for Cherry Cola Smoked Pulled Pork

Here are some tips for making this awesome meat.

  • Try a different cola! Even though this recipe is written for cherry cola, feel free to experiment with your favorite cola and brand.
  • Make the sauce ahead of time. While you can make the BBQ sauce the day you are smoking the meat, I always recommend making it the day before and storing it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  • Serve with Candied Jalapenos. Now hear me out. These candied jalapenos are little slices of BBQ heaven, and they are so incredible on pulled pork sandwiches, I’m not sure I can ever eat one without them. 

Cherry cola pulled pork sandwiches on a serving platter.

More Pulled Pork Recipes

This cherry cola pulled pork isn’t the only pulled pork that is unique or full of awesome flavor. Check out a few other pulled pork recipes from Hey Grill Hey that have their own amazing flavors you’ve gotta try.

Cherry Cola Pulled Pork Recipe

Ready to become the master of pulled pork? Join my members-only group The Grill Squad to access my Steak Masterclass (and so much more!) to increase your confidence of all things BBQ. Let me help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero!

This post was originally published in February 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Cherry cola pulled pork sandwiches on a serving platter.

Cherry Cola Pulled Pork

Susie Bulloch
This cherry cola pulled pork is bursting with cherry cola flavor from the inside out. Injected, and spritzed with cherry flavored cola, and slathered in a sweet cherry cola BBQ sauce, this smoked pulled pork is beyond delicious!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 12 hrs
Total Time : 12 hrs 10 mins
Servings : 10 people
Calories : 146kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 8-10 pound bone in pork butt
  • ¼ cup Sweet Rub (link in recipe notes)
  • 1 cup cherry cola (for the injection)
  • 1 cup cherry cola (for the spritz)
  • 1 cup cherry cola (for the braising liquid)

Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup cherry cola
  • ½ cup pitted sweet cherries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Sweet Rub

Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with cherry wood.
  • Inject and season. Inject the bone-in pork butt with 1 cup of cherry cola. Season on all sides with Sweet Rub.
  • Smoke. Smoke the pork butt until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. This typically takes around 8 hours. Spritz the pork butt with cherry cola every hour during this step.
  • Braise. Transfer the pork butt to an aluminum pan. Pour 1 cup of cherry cola over the pork butt in the pan and then cover tightly with foil. Return the covered pork butt to the smoker and cook at 225 degrees F until the internal temperature of the pork butt reaches 200 degrees F. This step usually takes anywhere between 3 and 4 hours.
  • Rest, shred, and serve. Remove the cherry cola pulled pork from the smoker and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before shredding. Remove the bone and any gristle or excess fat. Moisten the pulled pork with the braising liquid from the pan before serving and serve with cherry cola BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 4mg
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