I’ve smoked a pork butt twice (there’s really no un-awkward way to say that) and both times it was especially difficult to get it to that “fall-off-the-bone” state. Smoking takes hours and I don’t always have that kind of time on my hands, so I wanted to get all of that pork butt goodness, but without the hassle. Where do I go for my no-hassle, long and slow cooking needs? The crock pot!
A while back, AmasianV’s, girlfriend made some pork shoulder in a slow cooker that turned out really well. When I asked her for the recipe, she pointed me towards Skinny Taste for Mexican Pork Carnitas. I couldn’t believe how simple the recipe was considering how well it turned out. In fact, the recipe was almost so obvious that I was ashamed I didn’t just think of it myself. Sometimes those are the best recipes though!
The following recipe is basically the same as the Skinny Taste recipe except that I tweaked the spices. I’ve made this two times before and each time it came out absurdly salty. The first time I used regular Adobo seasoning from Goya as the recipe recommended, but it was so salty that it kind of burned if I ate the pork on its own. The second time I used low sodium Adobo from Goya and even that was still too salty, albeit a little better. My fix for this is to skip the Adobo all together for this recipe. Just use the same basic ingredients without the salt and you’ll get a less salty, but still remarkably delicious result.
One 3 or 4 pound slow cooked pulled pork shoulder = 2835 – 3755 Calories
Tender Pulled Pork Shoulder in the Slow Cooker
Tender, flavorful, smoky, and mildly spicy pulled pork.
- 3 or 4 pound boneless pork shoulder – Boston or Picnic Butt (230 cal. per 4 oz. or about 2760 – 3680 cal.)
- 2 or 3 canned chipotle peppers with their sauce (about 50 cal.)
- 3/4 cup low sodium and/or fat free chicken broth (about 5 cal.)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano
- Black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves of garlic cut into slivers (about 20 cal.)
- Large crock pot or slow cooker
- Large skillet or frying pan
- Two forks
- Can opener
- Measuring cup
- Set a large skillet or frying pan on the stove on medium-high heat and get it hot.
- Sear the pork shoulder all over for a couple of minutes on each side. Note: This time around I used a Picnic Butt, so it had two pieces loosely connected that I just separated. Also, make sure to open a window or use a ventilating hood because while the smell is delicious, everything in the area will smell like delicious, bacon-y goodness.
- While the pork is searing, pour the 3/4 cup of chicken broth into the slow cooker along with the bay leaves, chipotle peppers, and a couple of teaspoons of the chipotle sauce
- Roughly cut up the garlic into slivers. You might end up with 12 – 18 pieces.
- After the pork has finished searing on all sides, use a sharp knife to stab 12 – 18 holes into the pork half way through the meat (a hole for every piece of garlic).
- Next, stuff the garlic slivers into the holes using your hands. If the pork is still too hot, then just give it a couple of minutes to cool down.
- While the pork is in the slow cooker, liberally sprinkle the pork with the onion powder and garlic powder,. Next, add just enough cumin and black pepper to dust the whole piece of pork, but not enough to make a solid layer. Sprinkle the oregano on the same way as the cumin so that it covers the pork sparsely and doesn’t create a solid layer. Just coat the entire surface with the spices and rotate the pork as needed.
- Cover the pork and let it cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours.
- After 8 or 9 hours, uncover the pork and remove a little bit of the fat if you want. Some people love their fat, but I like to pull out some of the larger pieces before shredding the pork. Also, remove the bay leaves and the chipotle peppers.
- Use two forks to start shredding and pulling apart the meat.
It’s that easy. Use the pork as taco meat with fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa or add a dab of BBQ sauce and make a pulled pork sandwich on toasted bread.
Bonus Recipe – Pickled Onions
If you want to add something really simple that would complement this pork, try some fresh cilantro and pickled onions. Just thinly slice up half an onion and place the onion (10 cal.) in a ramekin or other container.
Then cover the onions with red wine vinegar and add a teaspoon of sugar (15 cal.). Mix well and let it all sit, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before use. Put some of the pork into a corn tortilla, top with some drained onion as well as fresh chopped cilantro and you have a bare bones taco that is pretty incredible.