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I love this time of year. The air is starting to warm up. The birds are returning. The flowers are starting to bloom. And a select few college teams are still playing basketball. All are signs that March is upon us. And I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
NCAA® March Madness is about to descend upon us. It promises to be full of s the proverbial David vs. Goliath stories, surprising upsets, instant classics, and heartbreaking losses as the field of 68 men’s teams will duke it out for the opportunity to visit my fair city of Indianapolis. It’s in our beloved town where the kings of the college basketball world will soon be crowned.
Yes, I am excited about NCAA® March Madness. I get this way every year. I love every minute of the tournament, from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. It’s wall-to-wall basketball for three weekends in a row. And I can’t get enough of it.
I have already made the declaration in our home: if the TV is on, we will be watching basketball. End of discussion.
With so much on the line with each game, I believe watching them should be an event unto themselves. This year, I plan on gathering the family around the TV to soak in as much of the hoops hysteria as possible. We’ll probably even invite some friends over to watch with us.
When gathering people together to watch, you want to keep things simple. After all, the tournament is primarily about the games. Right? You don’t want to spend half of Game Day in the kitchen making snacks. Fortunately, Coke has provided a convenient way to help you prepare for the tournament with the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart.
These convenient four packs come in three different flavors: Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, and Coke Zero. They’re easy to carry and a great deal! You can get four 4-packs for only five bucks. A #FinalFourPack is a great way to make wall-to-wall basketball watching even better!
You have to eat while watching basketball, right? Watching all those games can be exhausting. With help from one of the Final Four Packs, you can make a simple meal-sized snack that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser: Cherry Coke Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I love this recipe because you can put it together quickly and then go back to watching the games. You just set it and forget it until it’s time to remove from the oven several hours later.
The process to make Cherry Coke Pulled Pork Sandwiches is really quite simple. It just requires a lot of patience. But that’s OK. You’ve got some great basketball games to keep you occupied!
What You’ll Need:
- 1 3-to-4 pound pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
- hamburger buns
- 1 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 12 ounce can of Cherry Coke
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Spices (see below)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
What you’ll do:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
3. Put hamburger buns to the side. You won’t need them for a few hours.
4. Place pork shoulder into roasting pan or similar dish with sides.
5. Combine remaining ingredients (ketchup, Cherry Coke, red wine vinegar, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices) into a mixing bowl. Stir until blended.
6. Pour over the pork.
7. Bake until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can bake it longer than that if you’d like. In fact, it’s recommended. Some say you want to reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Because that gives the connective tissue even more time to break down, making the meat amazingly tender. You want to set it low and bake it slow. A good rule of thumb is to plan on an hour per pound of meat at minimum.
8. Go watch a game or two. Or maybe even three! It is NCAA® March Madness time, after all. Don’t worry about the pork for a while.
9. Seriously. Stop worrying about the pork. Set it and forget it.
10. Once your meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a large platter. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
11. While the meat is still warm, use two forks and pull the pork apart.
12. Add some of the sauce from the baking dish to your pulled pork.
13. Spoon the pulled pork onto the hamburger buns.
See? It’s really that easy. Some people like to top their pulled pork with slaw. You can do that if you’d like. Or serve it with pickle spears. Or top it with mayonnaise (I know, it sounds weird, but trust me. It’s pretty good). This sandwich is the perfect pairing with the Tournament because it gives you all the time in the world to watch all the buzzer-beaters you can handle!
What’s your favorite Game Day snack? Do you have any traditions for NCAA® March Madness? Please share them in the comments below!
But that’s not the only way Coca Cola can make your college basketball experience even better with their Final Four Pack. You can follow Coke and Coke Zero on their social media platforms and continue the fun all year long.
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