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Fall is already made of its own special kind of pumpkin-scented, wood smoked, crisp breezed kind of win. Because soft sweaters and leaves crunching underfoot and summer fading into all my favorite colors.
And then there’s college football, which might just be the best part.
We’re dyed-in-the-wool fans of our South Bend-based team (and my dad’s alma mater), which means that every gameday since I was a little girl has been about tradition, storytelling, and sharing time together as a family. Jeff likes to joke that he married into the family’s fandom (totally true), but come football season, his heart beats blue and gold like the rest of ours.
Dr Pepper is all about tradition too. Created in 1885 by a young pharmacist who wanted to capture the way his drug store smelled with all its fruit syrup flavors mixing together in the air, his experiments resulted in the unique concoction we know today. And though we’re not very big pop drinkers at our house, when Dr Pepper asked me to come up with some super simple, legitimately life-improving gameday snacks incorporating the humble carbonated soft drink, I did a little experimentation of my own with cases and two-liter bottles picked up at Walmart.
You’re going to want to bookmark the results immediately. (Full recipes follow below.)
Because slow cooker pulled pork.
All it takes is one can of Dr Pepper, two pork loins and homemade dry rub to create a piping hot slow cooker filled with tender and tangy deliciousness.
Pile it high on fluffy, sweet rolls and it’ll quickly become something you put in your permanent crowd-pleasing rotation of recipes. Promise.
And then there’s “dirty” cupcakes.
Inspired by the drink of the same name, which combines Dr Pepper, coconut syrup, fresh lime juice, and a splash of half and half; these babies channel all that weirdly delicious goodness into incredibly moist cupcakes.
The path to gameday nirvana is ridiculously easy too. All you need is a box of cake mix and a can of Dr Pepper.
Light and frothy, the coconut extract-infused batter bakes up in just 18-20 minutes, and better yet, is peanut- and tree-nut free (depending on the cake mix you choose.) Sweet vanilla-lime frosting seals the deal.
And get this.
Dr Pepper is giving away tuition money. As an official sponsor of the College Football Playoff, who will also be presenting the National Championship Trophy, Dr Pepper is all about helping you be one of a kind. Just play their digital football toss game for a chance to win $20,000 in tuition. You could also win a number of free prizes, and even an additional $5,000 in tuition, which will be awarded to one lucky winner at select Walmart locations. Check out http://cbi.as/mhrt for the times and store listings.
Be sure to check out http://cbi.as/mhrt for more information on how you can #WinTuition, and tell us what you would do with your winnings. Would you pay off some credit hours? Put it toward your student loans? Sound off in the comment thread below.
- 2 3-4 lb. pork loins (trimmed)
- 1 12-oz. can Dr Pepper
- ½ cup pork rub (or a combination of your favorite seasonings)
- 1 28-oz. bottle honey BBQ sauce
- Massage dry rub into both pork loins, turning to coat.
- Nestle pork loins into slow cooker and pour in Dr Pepper slowly.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours. (If you're impatient like me, cook on High for 5-6 hours instead.)
- Remove pork to a plate and drain as much liquid from the slow cooker as possible.
- Return pork to the slow cooker and using forks, shred. (It will fall apart by this point, and you'll want to start sampling, but wait. It gets better.)
- Add BBQ sauce and gently toss.
- Cook on Low for 20-30 minutes or until sauce is heated through.
- FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1 12-oz. can Dr Pepper
- 1-2 tsp. coconut extract
- 24 cupcake liners
- 1 ice cream scoop
- 2 cupcake pans
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 jar vanilla frosting
- ½ fresh lime (juiced)
- 1 jar Maraschino Cherries (drained and patted dry)
- Preheat oven according to the directions on the box of cake mix.
- Combine cake mix and Dr Pepper, stirring thoroughly to combine.
- Fill each cup ¾ full using the ice cream scoop. (It makes it much easier that way.)
- Bake according to the directions on the box of cake mix.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly while preparing the frosting.
- Mix the frosting and 1 tbsp. of lime juice until well combined.
- Frost each cupcake and top with a Maraschino Cherry.