Make Ahead

North Carolina Style Pulled Pork in Crock Pot with NC Vinegar Sauce & Coleslaw

November 25, 2015
0 Ratings
  • Serves 14
Author Notes

This is a recipe that I have adapted a bit from a good friend's Mom. She is a born and bred Southern woman and after a few years of living in North Carolina for college and a short time thereafter I quickly realized that this is the best pulled pork recipe that ever existed. It's so simple to make yet so complex in flavor. The Vinegar Coleslaw topping makes the best sandwiches in the world! Your family and friends will thank you. —John Bartenstein

What You'll Need
  • Pulled Pork and Sauce
  • 3 Medium Sized Vidalia Onions
  • 3.5-4.0 pounds Pork Shoulder or Butt (Bone In)
  • 1 Can of Coca Cola
  • a healthy dashes Sea (or Kosher) Salt and Freshly Ground Tri-Color Pepper Mix
  • 1 Small Head of Cabbage
  • 1 Medium Sized Vidalia Onion
  • 1 Medium sized Carrot
  • 1/2 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard Seed (or Dry Mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Celery Seed (or Celery Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Tri-Colored Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (or Kosher Salt)
  • NC Vinegar Sauce
  • 2 cups Cider Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 cup Heinz Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  1. Pulled Pork and Sauce
  2. Slice 3 onions into 1/4" discs and layer on the bottom of Crock Pot.
  3. Trim about half of the fat and rind (if applicable) off the Pork. Leaving some fat and rind is important! There's flavor in there! Don't worry, we'll get rid of lots of it later. Set entire Pork on the bed of sliced onions in the Crock Pot with the fattiest side facing up.
  4. Pour 1 can of Coca Cola over the pork. The carbonation is going to work right away! (In other words, don't sub flat Coca Cola from an old 2 liter bottle in your fridge. It has to be freshly opened!)
  5. Season the top of the pork with plenty of Salt and Pepper.
  6. Put lid on Crock Pot and cook for 8-10 hours on Low.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the Coleslaw. Roughly chop the cabbage, one remaining onion, and the Carrot. Place in Food Processor and pulse a few times to get a fairly fine chop. (Alternately, finely dice cabbage, carrot, and onion as small as possible) Move diced Cabbage, Carrot, and Onion to a large Mixing Bowl.
  8. Mix next 7 ingredients (White Sugar through Sea Salt) in a separate bowl with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  9. Pour whisked liquid mix over diced cabbage and onion. Cover bowl and refrigerate until Pork is done. At least 5 hours if you make the Coleslaw later in the day.
  10. After 8-10 hours, turn Crock Pot to Warm or Off. Remove lid from Crock Pot and allow pork to cool for 30 mins. Use a big spoon and fork to shred the Pork while simultaneously removing any leftover fat, bone, and rind and discarding. This will be easy to do. It's a little gross but well worth the fact that you left it in there for the first 8-10 hours of cooking. Trust me.
  11. Drain and discard about 1/2 to 2/3 of the liquid in the Crock Pot while keeping all of the shredded Pork in the Crock Pot.
  12. Add 3/4 of the NC Vinegar Sauce, stir to coat, and cook on low for another 2-4 hours.
  13. Pile juicy Pulled Pork on your favorite soft buns and top with NC Style Coleslaw. Enjoy!
  1. NC Vinegar Sauce
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until it boils.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for an hour.
  4. Whisk sauce and pour into a cool bowl. Add to Pork as instructed above. Use leftovers to spice up individual sandwiches or plates.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • John Bartenstein
    John Bartenstein
  • Susannah Marchese
    Susannah Marchese
  • Christiana

5 Reviews

Susannah M. January 8, 2017
John Bartenstein, thanks for shedding some light on an old recipe:)
John B. January 8, 2017
Susannah, my pleasure! I treat my food like my work! Every time it's better than the last :-)
Susannah M. January 8, 2017
You know, I was just looking for a crock pot recipe for my kids. Haven't been on Food52 for a year, and there you were! Funny to come across you here. I'm actually a vegetarian, and have never drank a coca cola, so this is not a recipe for me:) But my kids will LOVE it! xo
Christiana February 8, 2016
This was a perfect addition to our Superbowl menu. Without a can of Coca Cola in the house, I substituted Goslings Ginger Beer. It was delicious!
PJ L. November 28, 2015
Shhh! My friends in Virginia don't know this is NC Pulled Pork until they've tried it and raved about it. Then they're amazed to learn it's NC Pulled Pork and slaw out of my crock pot. Our NC neighbor's have a winner !