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Slow Cooker: Coca-Cola Braised Pork

It’s almost February. We’re in the thick of winter, when a slow cooker should be getting a real workout. But strangely, I haven’t been using mine that much. I like doing soups and chilis on the stove, but the truth is, the slow cooker is almost a magical appliance. You throw in a few things, cover it with the lid, abracadabra and 6-8 hours later, you have something amazingly delicious. It took this Coca-Cola Braised Pork shoulder to remind me just how magical it can be. I’m not even going to feign modesty and say, “Oh, it’s pretty good, you might like it.” I’ll just say it, this pork shoulder is super tasty. It’s not just good, it’s gooooooooood.

The standard Coke-braised pork shoulder relies mainly on the soda for flavoring, but this one builds on that base with gochujang for heat, soy sauce for its umami-ness, rice vinegar for a little tang and garlic, ginger and green onions as aromatics. Over the six hours, the juices reduce and intensify into a rich reddish sauce without being cloyingly sweet, and its perfect for drizzling over your rice, or over a pulled pork sandwich.

I also brown the meat before putting it into the crockpot, it’s not 100% necessary, but the browning definitely provides extra flavor and gives the sauce something to hold onto as it reduces.

This was a main course for us, served with baby bok choy, simply stir-fried in garlic and soy sauce. But this could easily be a great little Superbowl snack if you turn it into a pulled pork sandwich. Top it with a quick carrot and radish slaw and with the reduced sauce, you’re off to the races.

Coca-Cola Braised Pork Shoulder
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish, Entree
Ingredients
  • ~ 3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 3-4 in. chunks
  • 2 c. Mexican Coke (w/ cane sugar)
  • ¼ c. gochujang
  • ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 T. mirin
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, cut into 1 in. lengths
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 in. piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • ¼ t. ground black pepper
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the Coke, gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, green onions, ginger and garlic.
  2. Season the pork chunks with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil. Brown the pork chunks until well-browned on all sides. It may take 2 batches. Pour the marinade into the pan to deglaze and scrape up any brown bits. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high for ~ 6 hours.

 

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tiffany #

    This looks delicious! I really want to try it, however can I substitute mexican coke for just regular coke? Also do you think setting the slow cooker on a lower setting for longer (like 8/9hrs) would be ok?

    October 16, 2014
    • Hi Tiffany – Yep, I actually used Mexican coke in the recipe. 8-9 hours on low should be fine! Enjoy!

      October 17, 2014
  2. Jamli #

    This is absurdly delicious. That is all.

    January 25, 2014
  3. Brooke #

    I’ve made this twice now and I’m about to again today. Its one of the best things I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe!!!

    June 23, 2013
  4. I want to serve this next weekend, any substitute for gochujang? I checked one Asian store and it isn’t available… Thanks!

    January 31, 2012
    • Replacing gochujang is a tough one. There are recipes out there that try to approximate it, but I don’t think it’s quite the same. Serious Eats suggests a mix of soy sauce, garlic and Korean red chili pepper powder, if you can get that. Here’s another option that adds a little bit of miso, which I think you need to approximate the fermented bean paste in the store-bought gochujang. Alternatively, you could go in a different direction and try the Molasses & Sriracha Pulled Pork I also included in the post. Hope that helps & thanks for stopping by!

      February 1, 2012
  5. Leah #

    Okay this looks really good, but what is gochujang? Tell me what it is, what it looks like, and I should be able to get it at my international market (HUGE!).

    January 31, 2012

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