Mains, Pork, Sandwiches

Instant Pot Cheerwine Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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Cheerwine? Yum! Pulled pork? Yes, please. Today we are combining two of my favorite things for an ultra tender and delicious pulled pork sandwich that is oh so North Carolina! Made with the greatest cherry soda of all time (strong personal opinion), this pulled pork has a hint of sweetness that is well balanced by that strong vinegar base we all know and love in the South. There is no denying that we know how to make a pulled pork sandwich in North Carolina. I’m a huge fan of the vinegar based, highly tangy, and full of red pepper flakes sort. The sauce registers mostly tangy, and I just know you are going to love it. I’m not sure how many times I drug (dragged?) (definitely not drugged) ???? my sandwich through that amazing sauce that had dripped out onto my plate, but I just couldn’t get enough.

“Uniquely Southern”

I don’t drink a lot of soda, but if Cheerwine is on the menu, it is hard for me to resist. If a bottle is an option, especially if it is on display in an old fashioned cooler full of ice, I’m most definitely buying one. Every now and then I just have to have this cherry soda made right here in North Carolina. If you aren’t from the area, I highly recommend you check it out, whether you choose to make this recipe or not. It is seriously delicious!

My New Favorite Kitchen Tool

I can’t believe I didn’t know about fat separators! (such an appealing name) I ordered one of these just for this recipe and I already can’t imagine my life without it. Not dramatic at all. I’ve mentioned a few times that patience in the kitchen is not my strong suit. I like to work fast, and I always dread having to wait for cooking liquid to cool or be refrigerated so I can scoop the fat off the top when making sauces and gravy.

This tool is genius. It allows you to pour the sauce from the bottom and leave the fat behind. There is a strainer built into the lid, but I found the pores are too large to catch many of the scraps you will want to filter out. I used a fine mesh strainer to pre-strain my sauce. And let me just say one more time, you are going to LOVE this sauce! The one I bought below is recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. It happens to be on sale right now at Amazon. Actually, I have noticed that a lot of kitchen items are on sale right now if there is something you have been waiting to buy for yourself!

Sandwich Optional!

You obviously don’t have to make a sandwich with this pulled pork! You can easily serve it up with a few Southern sides for a great dinner. Check out my Southern Honey Cornbread and Southern Style Mustard Greens. It would also go great with my Nana’s Baked Macaroni. I really can’t wait to have a party and serve these on some cute little slider buns. Come to think of it, that would make a great Super Bowl food for this weekend!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you love these sandwiches! If you give them a try, please leave me a comment/rating to let me know how it went. 🙂

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Instant Pot Cheerwine Pulled Pork Sandwiches


  • Author: Katelyn
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 to 8 sandwiches 1x

Description

Cheerwine adds a hint of sweetness to this juicy, tangy, ultra tender pulled pork, making these amazing sandwiches “Uniquely Southern”. Even better, they are made super quick in the instant pot!


Ingredients

Scale

Instant Pot Cheerwine Pulled Pork

  • 3 1/4 pound Boston Butt, trimmed and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup Cheerwine
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup water

Sandwiches

  • 8 sesame buns
  • your favorite prepared coleslaw
  • sliced pickles

Instructions

Prepare the Pulled Pork

  1. Combine seasonings in a medium size bowl (kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, ground mustard, paprika).
  2. Add the pork to your bowl of seasoning, then toss to coat evenly 
  3. Turn instant pot to the high sauté function, add oil, and allow to heat until shimmering. 
  4. Add pork to the hot oil in batches and cook to brown on all sides. As each batch finishes browning, remove the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon.
       
  5. When all the meat has been browned, turn off your instant pot and return all the pork and juices to the instant pot. 
  6. Add Cheerwine, distilled white vinegar and water and stir everything to combine. 
  7. Seal the instant pot with lid, turn the vent to the “sealing” position and cook on manual high pressure for 40 minutes. 
  8. Manually release the steam and open instant pot. 
  9. Remove meat with a slotted spoon to a cutting board, and shred it with two forks. 
  10. OPTIONAL STEP: At this point, you can place the meat on a sheet pan under the broiler in your oven for a few minutes to crisp it up. 
  11. Strain the liquid from the instant pot using a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator or other vessel (a large measuring cup works great). If you aren’t using a fat separator, allow the fat to rise to the top and scoop it out. The remaining liquid is your bbq sauce!

Assemble Sandwiches

  1. Toast the sesame buns (optional)
  2. Pile high with instant pot Cheerwine pulled pork
  3. Add some extra sauce 
  4. Top with coleslaw and sliced pickles

Notes

  • Even if you plan to use a fat separator for the sauce, I recommend removing the lid (lid has its own strainer but the pores are too large) and straining the sauce directly into the fat separator with a fine mesh strainer. Otherwise, smaller bits of meat and seasoning can sneak in and clog up your fat separator.
  • Feel free to sub your favorite dark soda. I imagine these would be delicious with Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper as well!
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cheerwine, pulled pork, bbq, barbecue, sandwich

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