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Coca-Cola Braised Pork in the Slow Cooker


coca-cola braised porkIt’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.

coca-cola braised pork

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

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 6 hours 10 minutes


  • ~ 3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 3-4 in. chunks
  • 2 c. Mexican Coke (w/ cane sugar)
  • 1/4 c. gochujang
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • salt & pepper



Whisk together the Coke, gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, green onions, ginger and garlic.


Season the pork chunks with salt and pepper.


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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  • Brooke
    March 12, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Since I’ve never had gochujang, I don’t know what I’m missing. I’ve made this about 5 times using sriracha and brown sugar instead and it’s absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Gary Tang
    January 16, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    OMG!!! AMAZING!!!!

  • Tiffany
    October 16, 2014 at 10:20 am

    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?

    • Michelle
      October 17, 2014 at 8:33 am

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

  • Jamli
    January 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    This is absurdly delicious. That is all.

  • Brooke
    June 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    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!!!

    • Michelle
      June 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Glad you like it!

  • myfudo
    January 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm

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

    • Michelle
      February 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      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!

  • Leah
    January 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    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!).

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