Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

By December 11, 2015

The crock pot is by far the easiest way to cook your pork shoulder to perfection. Start it in the morning before you leave the house, and by the time you return after work the house will be filled with delicious smells and dinner will be ready. When it's done, it shreds easily with a fork. Can be made the day ahead, chilled in fridge and some fat removed the next morning, and reheated in braising liquid. Serve with some BBQ sauce and crunchy lettuce on a bun for a delicious sandwich, alongside mashed potatoes or root veggies and kale salad, or inside tacos.

 1 Pork Shoulder
 Spice Blend for Rub: combination of salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder, curry powder, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and/or chili powder. Choose salt and 3-4 other flavors, about -1.5 tsp each
 Aromatics for Pot: smashed garlic, quartered onions, rough chopped carrots, apples.
 Braising Liquid: beer, wine, cider, water, squeeze of lime juice. Use only enough that the liquid comes 1/2 the way up the pork.
 Optional: BBQ sauce to mix in at the end
For Homemade Mac n' Cheese
 2 tbsp flour
 2 tbsp butter
 1 cup whole or 2% milk
 1.50 grated cheese ( a combination of cheddars--smoked, sharp, jack, colby, aged-- works well)
1

Right when you wake up in the morning, remove the shoulder from the fridge and allow to come up to temp on the counter.

2

Blend together your spices-- always include salt, and about 1-1.5 tsps of whatever else you're using. Rinse the shoulder and dry well with paper towels, and then rub in the rub. Allow to rest for 15-30 mins while you get lunches packed and your hair dried.

3

You can also now chop up your aromatics (smashed garlic cloves, quartered or smaller onions, carrots in 2" chunks) and put in the bottom of your crock pot. Select your braising liquid/s.

4

Get a braising pan or a skillet (cast iron is great for this) hot with some oil (olive has too low of a smoke point; use coconut or sunflower instead.) Sear the outside of the pork shoulder until it is just browned, about 2 minutes per side.

5

Transfer the shoulder to the crockpot nestled on top and among the veggies, and then cover only about half way up with a braising liquid. You do not want the pork shoulder to be submerged or even mostly covered, otherwise it'll get tough-- the steam from the liquid will slowly cook the shoulder but not boil it.

6

Set your crock pot to low for 6-8 hours, but if you can, check on it occasionally if your crock cooks fast. When it's done, the meat will fall apart and shred easily with a fork and knife. Remove the roast from the juices and shred it with fork and knife, removing any gristle and discarding as you work.

7

Strain the juices and try to remove much of the fat that collects on top-- quick popping it into the freezer or pouring it through a fat separator will do it instantly. Pour some of the juices back onto the meat and serve warm, with or without a few tbsp of BBQ sauce. Also freezes really well in zip lock bags for an quick weeknight dinner.

8

We served this with a quick homemade Mac n' Cheese: cook 1.5-2 cups of pasta according to directions, reserve a 1/4 cup of the water when draining. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pan, and when it foams add in 2 tbsp of flour. Whisk constantly, cooking off bitter taste, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of milk until thickened. Whisk in 1-1.5 cups of grated cheese (cheddar, smoked cheddar, gouda, asiago or a mix.) Put pasta back into cooking pot and add in most of the cheese mixture and the reserved cooking liquid, stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside pulled pork for a true Southern feast.

If you want to marinate first, know that if you use a high acid or salty marinade (such as a vinegar- or tomato-based marinade), expect to reduce the cooking time. Acid and salt “cook” the meat some prior to the actual cooking. If you're marinating, you might be able to have the whole thing on the table in less than 4 hours (either in a low oven, 325, or in your crockpot for 3-4 hours.)
--Trevor's Pig Roast Brine modified for just 1 pork shoulder:
Heat 1 quart of vinegar and 1 quart of cider in a stockpot with 3 large onions, cut into 8ths, 5 cloves crushed garlic, 3 tablespoons mustard powder, 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, and 0.75 to 1 cup kosher salt. Heat until liquid is about to boil. Make sure the salt is fully dissolved. Add the ice to cool the mixture and pour over the meat, completely covering. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hrs.

Ingredients

 1 Pork Shoulder
 Spice Blend for Rub: combination of salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder, curry powder, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and/or chili powder. Choose salt and 3-4 other flavors, about -1.5 tsp each
 Aromatics for Pot: smashed garlic, quartered onions, rough chopped carrots, apples.
 Braising Liquid: beer, wine, cider, water, squeeze of lime juice. Use only enough that the liquid comes 1/2 the way up the pork.
 Optional: BBQ sauce to mix in at the end
For Homemade Mac n' Cheese
 2 tbsp flour
 2 tbsp butter
 1 cup whole or 2% milk
 1.50 grated cheese ( a combination of cheddars--smoked, sharp, jack, colby, aged-- works well)

Directions

1

Right when you wake up in the morning, remove the shoulder from the fridge and allow to come up to temp on the counter.

2

Blend together your spices-- always include salt, and about 1-1.5 tsps of whatever else you're using. Rinse the shoulder and dry well with paper towels, and then rub in the rub. Allow to rest for 15-30 mins while you get lunches packed and your hair dried.

3

You can also now chop up your aromatics (smashed garlic cloves, quartered or smaller onions, carrots in 2" chunks) and put in the bottom of your crock pot. Select your braising liquid/s.

4

Get a braising pan or a skillet (cast iron is great for this) hot with some oil (olive has too low of a smoke point; use coconut or sunflower instead.) Sear the outside of the pork shoulder until it is just browned, about 2 minutes per side.

5

Transfer the shoulder to the crockpot nestled on top and among the veggies, and then cover only about half way up with a braising liquid. You do not want the pork shoulder to be submerged or even mostly covered, otherwise it'll get tough-- the steam from the liquid will slowly cook the shoulder but not boil it.

6

Set your crock pot to low for 6-8 hours, but if you can, check on it occasionally if your crock cooks fast. When it's done, the meat will fall apart and shred easily with a fork and knife. Remove the roast from the juices and shred it with fork and knife, removing any gristle and discarding as you work.

7

Strain the juices and try to remove much of the fat that collects on top-- quick popping it into the freezer or pouring it through a fat separator will do it instantly. Pour some of the juices back onto the meat and serve warm, with or without a few tbsp of BBQ sauce. Also freezes really well in zip lock bags for an quick weeknight dinner.

8

We served this with a quick homemade Mac n' Cheese: cook 1.5-2 cups of pasta according to directions, reserve a 1/4 cup of the water when draining. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pan, and when it foams add in 2 tbsp of flour. Whisk constantly, cooking off bitter taste, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of milk until thickened. Whisk in 1-1.5 cups of grated cheese (cheddar, smoked cheddar, gouda, asiago or a mix.) Put pasta back into cooking pot and add in most of the cheese mixture and the reserved cooking liquid, stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside pulled pork for a true Southern feast.

Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

7 Comments

  • Matt says:

    fantastic ! succulent….tender pork with a complex flavor profile. marinated with the dry rub for 8 hours, cooked on crock-pot low for 7 hrs….perfect

  • George says:

    You just let the rub set in the fridge for 8 hours, then cooked? Talk about low maintenance! It’s on the menu this weekend!

  • Karen says:

    Karen
    Anyone who seats their meat first has my vote, that let’s me know you know what you are talking about.
    I am cooking my pork shoulder today.
    Thanks for a great recipe and good directions

  • Anne says:

    I’m doing a shoulder for the first time today, I was just guessing at it for my slow cooker because who hasn’t heard “low and slow”. I feel much more confident now that I’ve read your comments, probably should have done that first.

  • Marie says:

    Oh my gosh! I made this today and it was beyond wonderful. I followed the directions here and it was the best pork shoulder I have ever tasted. I will definitely do this again.

  • BRYAN JOUBERT says:

    This is my first time doing a roast. I found this recipe and I just guessed how much of every spice to use. I did the dry rub, then seared it in the pan for 2 minutes on each side. Then I put it in the slow cooker on top of crushed garlic, apples, onions, carrots, squeezed lemon juice, one Corona beer and a couple of cups of chicken broth to bring the liquids half way up the roast. It only been cooking for 2 hours on low but OMG, does it smell friggen amazing. I can’t wait for my wife and son to get home to smell the delicious roast I haver cooking . If it tastes and good as it smells, This roast will not last very long. Remember, cooking shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun, full of love and shared with family and friends.

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