Root Beer Pulled Pork in Shallot-Root Beer Jus with Tangy Onions and Jalapeno Creme Fraiche

This recipe was inspired by the dessert, root beer float. Each component of this dish has a specific purpose, so when eaten in combination, you get a variety of elements. Tenderness, tartness, crunchiness, smooth and creamy. Lastly, a little root beer to remind you of that old soda fountain drink dessert. Please feel free to adjust any ingredients to fit your taste.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: 16 to 20 servings
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6 large yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped

3 heads garlic, peeled, slightly crushed, kept whole 

6 large oranges, juiced then quartered

8 jalapenos, halved

6 serrano chiles, halved

1 (750 ml) bottle Pinot Noir, or other red wine

4 (12-ounce) bottles root beer

Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pork Butt shoulders, cut into large chunks (about 15 pounds) 

Shallot Root Beer Jus, recipe follows

Tangy Red Onions, recipe follows

Jalapeno Creme Fraiche, recipe follows

Chopped fresh chives or scallions, for garnish

Shallot Root Beer Jus:

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

10 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

4 (12-ounce) bottles root beer

Tangy Red Onions:

4 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large red onions, peeled and julienned

1 (200 ml) bottle Pinot Noir red wine vinegar

1 cup red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup granulated sugar, or more to taste

Jalapeno Creme Fraiche:

3 containers creme fraiche (7 1/2 ounces each)

3 jalapenos, seeded and minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the pork. Taste the marinade and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. If you want the dish to be spicy, add more jalapenos and serranos. 
  3. Season pork lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Divide pork into 2 large roasting pans and pour the marinade over top. Toss to coat with the marinade. Cover each pan with foil and put into the preheated oven. Alternatively, the pork can be marinated in the refrigerator for a few hours. Bring to room temperature before baking. 
  4. Bake the pork until tender and meat is falling apart, approximately 3 or more hours. 
  5. While the pork is cooking, prepare the Shallot Root Beer Jus, Tangy Red Onions and Jalapeno Creme Fraiche. 
  6. Remove the pork from the oven and shred the meat with forks, but leave it a bit chunky. Toss the shredded pork in the cooked marinade. Taste the meat and season, to taste. Keep warm. 
  7. Assembly: Make sure the pork is heated. If you made it the day before and it was in the refrigerator, reheat the meat and the jus. The onions can be chilled or brought to room temperature but do not heat, in order to maintain the crunchy texture. 
  8. Arrange few pieces of pork on each plate, then top with some Tangy Red Onions and garnish with a squeeze of Jalapeno Creme Fraiche. Poor the Shallot Root Beer Jus around the outside edge of the pork then garnish with chives or scallions. 

Shallot Root Beer Jus:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add the oil and butter, Heat until melted and hot but do not burn the butter. Add the shallots stirring occasionally. Caramelize the shallots slightly, season with salt, to taste, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow them to soften about 5 minutes and then add the root beer. Bring the root beer to a simmer and reduce slowly for approximately 2 hours. Season, to taste. The flavor of the shallots should be prominent to reduce the sweetness from the root beer.

Tangy Red Onions:

  1. Heat large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and butter. Heat until melted and hot but do not burn butter. Add onions, stirring so that they do not brown. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegars and turn heat down to medium-low, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. The onions will be really tart but you can add a tablespoon of sugar, at a time, to mellow it out a bit. You still want to keep that tanginess. 
  2. Continue cooking for 20 minutes letting the vinegars absorb into the onions. The onions will release some water so you will strain that off when you finish cooking. Transfer the onions to a bowl and cover. Let the onions sit overnight in the refrigerator. Finely chop before serving.

Jalapeno Creme Fraiche:

  1. In a bowl, add the creme fraiche and the jalapenos. Season, to taste, with salt and white pepper and stir to combine. Put into a squeeze bottle, with large tip so it won't get plugged from the minced jalapenos.