Slow-cooker recipes have garnered lots of dedicated fans, and with good reason. The appliance is hands-off so that you can place the ingredients in, set the timer, and sit back. Now, knowing it also works with pork shoulder, you can’t help but be excited about it. This special pork cut is great for lots of dishes and is a popular household addition to menus.
But die-hard pork lovers may believe they have an absolute way of cooking pork shoulder, and as such, the crockpot is a no-no. Plus, others may feel the cooking method won’t work for specific recipes and prefer non-stick with what they know. But the good thing is crockpot pork shoulder has lots of ups you’d want to consider. And if you read further, you’d realize that the appliance and this pork cut are made for each other.
Pork Nutrition Facts
Why Use a Crockpot?
To understand why you use a crockpot, you need to learn about pork shoulder. The meat is derived from the pig’s foreleg and refers to two cut types; picnic shoulder and Boston butt. The picnic shoulder is cut from the lower half of the foreleg, while the Boston butt comes from the upper part. But both are derived from the limb, meaning their tissues are subjected to lots of work. So, to ensure they cook to softness, a slow and moist method is the best means of preparing the meat. Enter the crockpot.
Crockpots are designed especially for this purpose, and it’s why pork shoulder excels in them. The appliance is fashioned to heat food at low temperatures for an extensive time frame. And it can house enough sauce or liquid, so the food gently simmers in the liquid and the steam it releases.
Cooking Crockpot Pork Shoulder
Now that you know why the crockpot is your best friend when cooking pork shoulder, you can look at the steps it requires.
Prepare the Pork Shoulder
Start by blotting excess moisture off the meat with paper towels. Then, you’ll want to make one-inch marks on every part of the meat’s surface. The incisions are crucial, as they allow your seasoning to penetrate the tissues for a tastier result.
Season the Pork Shoulder
Some people consider dry rubs for crockpot pork shoulder. But wet rubs are another excellent way to go. The fluid nature of the seasoning penetrates faster as the pork shoulder cooks. And part of it turns to steam which in turn penetrates the food to soften and flavor it.
So consider pulsing your seasoning combo in a blender to get a paste, then rub it all over the meat. And options to look at include black pepper, garlic, ginger, onions, rosemary, cumin, smoked paprika, black peppercorns, and shallots. And when seasoning the meat, ensure to massage the paste or dry rub into the cut marks you made.
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Cook the Pork Shoulder
Once the pork shoulder has been generously seasoned, place it in the slow cooker and cook for seven to eight hours. The crockpot should also be set to LOW, so the meat can turn out tender and pull apart easily. You’ll be serving the pork shoulder in shreds, so this texture is important.
When the pork shoulder is done, you’ll be left with some of its juice in the crockpot. You can make it into a delicious sauce to be drizzled over the meat when it’s served. Other ideas for serving this crockpot pork shoulder include;
- On top of rice or couscous
- As a side with creamy macaroni, spaghetti, linguine, and other pasta
- Paired with vegetables and leafy greens
- Paired with mashed potatoes
- As a filling for tacos and burritos
- Shredded to fill burgers and sandwiches
- One pork shoulder, boneless and skinless, six pounds
- 20 garlic cloves
- Take paper towels and blot the excess liquid off the pork shoulder. Then carve one-inch incisions all over the meat.
- Process the garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt with half the oil in a blender. You want the mixture to result in a smooth paste. Set aside two tablespoons of the spice mix for later.
- Rub the remaining garlic paste all over the pork, ensuring some of it is pushed into the incisions, then put the pork shoulder in the crockpot.
- Program the slow cooker to LOW and cook for seven and a half to eight hours. By then, the meat should be fork-tender but not falling off the bone.
- Pour the remaining olive oil into a pot and heat it till it shimmers. Then, saute the garlic paste for a minute until it’s fragrant. Then, turn off the stove, let the mixture cool, and whisk in the juices, Serrano pepper, and cilantro.
- Drizzle this sauce over the pork and serve as desired.
Also, watch this video for more tips.