Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cook Pork Shoulder Slow Cooker

Cook Pork Shoulder Slow Cooker
  • The holidays are finally over.  It's finally the new year.  I thought about doing a recap, a redux of the year, review of my least and most favorites, resolutions, and all of that good stuff.  But instead, I decided to just give you my 2 favorite New Year's recipes.  I promise they will give you the energy to start a new year.  Special thanks to Chef  Chef for teaching me to appreciate Hoppin' John and giving me guidance for making it, a few years ago.
  • First up, the pork shoulder.  This recipe could not be easier - seriously.  Last year, before my slow cooker exploded (not literally, it just burned a slow death on this very day), I put the whole mess in the slow cooker before going to work and then, when Husband and I arrived home after our long nights at work, the entire house was full of the smell of pork.  Unfortunately, I don't like to leave my gas oven running while I'm at work for 10 hours, so I had to make it overnight.  And, at about 5am, the amazing smell of yummy pork actually woke me up.
  • New Year's Day Pork & Kraut - serves however many you'd like.  Husband and I like to leave it on the "keep warm" setting of the oven and pick at it all day, and then have leftovers.  I'd say this serves about 6.
7 pound piece of bone-in pork shoulder, aka pork butt
salt & pepper
2 28 oz jars sauerkraut
5 whole allspice berries
1 tsp fennel seeds
1" stick cinnamon
5 whole cloves
2 (12 ounce) bottles of beer, preferably not a lite beer, but something fuller bodied - I used Columbus Brewing Company's Ohio Honey Wheat


  • Place the pork butt in a large Dutch oven or stock pot (mine fit in my trusty All Clad 8 quart stock pot) and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Turn it so that the fat side is up - my theory is that the fat will melt down over the pork and keep it delicious.  I have no idea if this is true or not, but I've always done it that way.  Dump the sauerkraut over - including the juices, add in the seasonings and the beer - the pork should be almost covered in liquid, and covered with the kraut.  Cover the pot.  Place in the oven and set the heat for 275 degrees - think low and slow.  The pork should be done in about 7-8 hours, but you can pretty much leave it in for up to 10 hours without harm.  Alternatively, you can cook it in a slow cooker set on low heat for about the same amount of time.  You can pretty much tell the pork is done when you prod it with tongs and the meat just falls off.  Serve hot with a good amount of sauerkraut on top.  This recipe is also really good with the addition of a great knackwurst (slice them up and you only need about 1/2 per person when you have all of that pork butt).  Alas, I didn't make it to Thurn's in time this past Saturday.
  • You might notice I did not brown the meat - you are certainly welcome to do so, but I am usually making this dish in a bad mood (ie, having to go to work on NYE), so I like to keep it criminally easy, and it's so delicious, there's no reason to stress out about it.  It should be easy, especially if you have *ahem* indulged the night before.  I'm just nursing my sore knees and feet.
  • Hoppin' John is a Southern tradition that I had never heard of until my previous restaurant job, where Chef taught me to love it and the basic principles of making it.  More than a sum of its parts, Hoppin' John is cheap and nutritious, and tasty to boot.  Basically, it is black eye peas and rice, with bell peppers and bacon.  A good dose of Tabasco when eating never hurt anyone, either. A lot of people are scared of black eye peas, for some reason, but they are really good.  They have a rich, full flavor - almost a little smoky, which makes them perfect with another delicious pork product - bacon!  The story is, one should eat Hoppin' John & collard greens on New Year's day to bring prosperity in the coming year - the black eye peas are for coins, and the collards are for dollar bills.  Alas, when I was doing my shopping (stupidly, last-minute) at Weiland's, and they didn't have any kind of fresh braising greens, so I guess Husband and I will only have lots of coins this year.  Sounds about right.  This recipe is just a guideline - you can adjust it however you'd like after you make this basic version the first time. 
Hoppin' John Servers About 6
6 nice thick strips of bacon, cut into 4 strips lengthwise, and then into 1/4" dice
1 medium red onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 green bell pepper, small dice
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, mashed in garlic press
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 cans black eye peas, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken stock (homemade, of course) or water, plus a little more if needed
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp butter
Lots of Tabasco, to serve


  • Render the bacon over medium-high heat until it is nicely browned and crisp.  Drain about half of the fat off.  Leaving the bacon in the pan, add the onions and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes, then add the pepper.  Cook a few more minutes, until the peppers begin to soften, and then add the garlic and the red pepper flakes.  Add the rice and stir everything to coat nicely.  Add the peas.  Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot; simmer for 20 minutes, checking after 15, just to make sure you don't need anymore stock or water.  After 20 minutes, lower the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes.  The stock should be absorbed and the rice soft.  The taste actually improves after sitting for another 10 minutes or so on low heat, just letting the flavors meld together.  Taste to check seasoning - because bacon can be very salty, I usually don't add salt at the beginning of the cooking process as I typically would when cooking rice (or any starch, really) - and add salt and pepper as needed.  Stir in the butter.  Turn the heat off and place in bowls with Tabasco on the side.
  • Serve with the bottle of Egly you brought home from work and didn't have the energy to drink.


  • This delicious one dish crockpot recipe combines a pork sirloin roast with lots of vegetables, seasoned with allspice and apple butter. 
3 lb. boneless pork sirloin roast
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 acorn squash
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup apple butter
3 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves


  • Heat oil in a heavy skillet and cook pork roast until browned on all sides, turning occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes. While that's cooking, cut the acorn squash into 8 wedges and remove seeds. Do not peel. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Place squash and sweet potatoes in 6-7 quart slow cooker. Top with browned pork roast.
  • In a small bowl, mix together apple butter, horseradish, cornstarch, allspice, pepper, chicken broth, and thyme. Pour into slow cooker.
  • Cover crockpot and cook on low for 7-9 hours until pork and vegetables are tender. 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes

Calories: 410
Fat: 12 grams
Sodium: 200 mg
Vitamin A: 100% DV
Vitamin C: 30% DV

  • A very simple recipe that can be adjusted for heat. Serve with warm tortillas and your choice of garnishes, such as: lettuce, grated cheese, chopped onions, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and olives."
3 pounds pork shoulder
2 (1 ounce) packages taco seasoning mix
chili powder to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1.Place pork shoulder in a slow cooker with taco seasoning. If desired, add chili powder and/or red pepper flakes. Add water until meat is covered. Place lid on pot and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • 2.Remove pork shoulder from pot and shred.

  • Apples and caraway seed are traditional flavorings for a pork shoulder roast that cooks to perfection in your pressure cooker.

  • 3- to 3-1/2 lb. pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup apple cider OR apple juice
  • 3 medium cooking apples, cut into wedges

  • Trim any visible fat from the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl combine caraway seed, salt, and pepper; rub this mixture over roast.
  • In a 4- or 6-quart pressure cooker heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat or use brown function. Cook meat until brown on all sides, adding more oil, if necessary. Remove the meat from the pressure cooker and set aside. Drain off fat.
  • Place the trivet or an oven-proof rack in the pressure cooker. Return the meat to the pressure cooker and add the onion, water, and apple cider. Lock lid in place and bring cooker up to high pressure; cook for 45 minutes.
  • Allow pressure to come down naturally, then carefully remove lid. Transfer meat and onion to a serving platter; keep warm by covering with foil.
  • Add apples to pressure cooker and bring to boiling. Cover loosely (do not lock lid) and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until apples are crisp-tender. With a slotted spoon, remove apples to serving platter with pork roast and onions. Serves 8
  •  I had such success with my slow cooker french dip the other week, I couldn’t wait until I had the opportunity to break out my slow cooker again for another dish. My trip to Dallas put me in the mood for some barbecue and I decided to try and adapt one of my favorite recipes to the slow cooker: pulled pork. Pulled pork is traditionally cooked by smoking the meat (usually a pork shoulder or pork butt) for hours at a low temperature, infusing the meat with a nice, smoky bbq flavor and creating a super tender texture where the meat simply falls apart at the touch of a fork. You don’t really get the smoky flavor with a slow cooker, but you can easily replicate the long, low-heat cooking process with excellent results.
  • I picked up a nice big pork shoulder at Whole Foods and put it into my slow cooker with some homemade barbecue sauce. I noticed, when I was researching various different pulled pork recipes, that most don’t call to use that much cooking liquid/bbq sauce in with the meat. I’ve always found that things in my slow cooker work best when there is quite a bit of liquid and so I ended up making a really big batch of sauce. I put half into the slow cooker to infuse the meat and reserved half, pouring it onto the finished pulled pork when I served it on top of my homemade yogurt sandwich rolls. More barbecue sauce is generally a good thing in my book, especially with a tangy one like this.
  • The pork turned out to be incredibly moist and tender. It’s hard to find good barbecue out here in So. Cal., so I would even venture to say that it is the best I’ve had in a while – high praise, considering that the meat wasn’t smoked and the recipe took virtually no “active” work time! I’ll make this again and again and it’s definitely something I would break out to serve at a big, casual party. You can use a different bbq sauce if you have a favorite, although tangy sauces are pretty standard for pulled pork.
5-6 lb. pork shoulder/pork butt
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp mustard
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup water

  • Place onion on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place pork shoulder, trimmed of any obvious excess fat, into slow cooker on top of onions.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients to form the barbecue sauce. Feel free to adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Pour half of the sauce over the pork and cover. Set remaining sauce aside.
  • Cook over low heat for about 8 hours (or according to your slow cooker’s presets).
  • Remove pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Transfer meat back into slow cooker and cook for a few more minutes, until meat has soaked up the sauce. Pulled pork can be held on the “warm” setting in the slow cooker for serving.
  • Serve on soft sandwich rolls, topped with extra barbecue sauce.

 Cooking Sequence
  • Prepare pork and begin to slow cook
  • Allow roast to slow cook - 8 to 10 hours
  • 25 minutes before serving, prepare potatoes and peppers; serve - 25 minutes  
olive oil cooking spray
1 pork shoulder roast (about 4 lb)
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 fresh garlic cloves
2 chorizo links (about 3 oz)
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles (undrained) 

  • 1. Coat slow cooker with cooking spray; preheat on high. Cut 10–12 one-half-inch-deep slits into fat side of pork, about 1–2 inches apart. Sprinkle roast with adobo seasoning and pepper; place in slow cooker (fat side up).
  • 2. Crush garlic, using garlic press, over top of pork. Use knife to remove garlic from bottom of press. Rub garlic into pork, pressing into slits (wash hands).
  • 3. Slice chorizo lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; sprinkle over pork. Spread chiles over top of pork. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8–10 hours or until tender and internal temperature reaches 160°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)
olive oil cooking spray
1 (20-ounce) package homestyle sliced potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 lemon (for juice, rinsed) 

  • 1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes.
  • 2. Remove pan from heat and coat with cooking spray. Add potatoes; coat top of potatoes with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 8–12 minutes, turning often, or until tender and golden.
  • 3. Squeeze juice of one-half lemon over potatoes; toss to coat and serve.
aluminum foil
2 large bell peppers (rinsed)
2 fresh garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper
olive oil cooking spray


  • 1. Place oven rack 6 inches from broiler, then preheat oven on broil. Line baking sheet with foil. Cut peppers in half; remove seeds. Place on baking sheet (cut side up).
  • 2. Crush garlic, using garlic press, into peppers. Use knife to remove garlic from bottom of press. Spread garlic evenly over peppers. Sprinkle each pepper with adobo seasoning and pepper.
  • 3. Coat top of peppers with cooking spray. Broil 6–8 minutes or until edges are dark brown. Remove from oven, cover tightly with foil, and let stand 6 minutes. Slice and serve.

  • If you're planning on feeding a group, pork  shoulder is a great budget-stretching option. They average 7-9 lbs. before cooking and can be used for classic North Carolina-style pulled pork for sandwiches and other dishes.
  • Slow cooking the pork shoulder in an electric smoker will give you a moist, flavorful entrée for a reasonable price and, because electric smokers take little supervision once they're plugged in, it is an easy technique even for beginners with no smoking experience.
  • It takes a little advanced planning because smoking is a slow process, but it's well worth the wait.
Electric smoker big enough for a 9 lb. roast
Grounded power supply
Hickory chips
7-9 lb. pork shoulder roast (butt portion preferred over picnic by grill masters)
North Carolina-style barbecue sauce
Sauce brush
Meat thermometer
Two forks to shred the roast
Hamburger buns


Make the rub.
2 tbsp. half-sharp (mildly spicy) paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dry mustard powder
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt flakes
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Blend the paprika, cumin, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt, and black pepper, being sure to break up any lumps of sugar. Seal in a jar until ready to use.
A professional-style smoker for a crowd.
Make the North Carolina-style barbecue sauce.
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 tbsp. kosher salt flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • Put all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Put the lid on and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Take the pork shoulder out of its wrappings about 24 hours before serving time. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with the seasoning rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.
A table-top smoker
  • Soak the hickory chips in a pan of water for 30 minutes. How much you will need depends on the size and capacity of your smoker. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation.
  • Prepare the smoker 18 hours before you want to serve. Start by reading all the instructions that came with your model. Drain the soaked hickory chips and load them into the basket of your smoker. Fill the smoker's water pan. Plug it in and set the temperature to 225 degrees (if your model has a temperature control feature.)
  • Load the pork shoulder into the smoker, skin side down, thermometer facing up. For a 9 lb. roast, it will take 16-17 hours to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees, ideal for falling-off-the-bone pulled pork. If you plan to slice the pork like a traditional roast, cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Put more hickory chips on to soak. Check the smoker occasionally and refill the water pan and chips as needed. The more often you check, however, the more heat you will lose and the longer it will take to cook the meat. Follow the manufacturer's directions and suggestions for best results.
  • Brush the North Carolina-style barbecue sauce onto the pork shoulder during the last 30 minutes of smoking.
Small, economical smoker
  • Remove the pork shoulder carefully from the smoker when the roast has reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees. It will be tender and falling off the bones. Cover the roast with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before pulling the pork off the bones and shredding it with two forks. Serve on hamburger buns with Southern-style side dishes.

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