Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

Hands-On Time: 15min
Cook Time: 10h
Ready In: 10h 15min
Yield: serves 6
slow cooker pork shoulder

Pork shoulder, also sometimes called Boston butt, is a rich, flavorful and economical cut of meat. Perfect in pulled pork sandwiches or stuffed into tacos and burritos, I often make a huge batch for several different meals, or I freeze half for another time. Though it requires quite awhile to cook, most of it is hands-off time, and the long, slow cooking process makes the meat incredibly tender and juicy. Browning the meat is optional, but I think it gives it better flavor and color.



  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork shoulder well with salt and pepper. Place meat in the pan fat side down and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  2. Remove from pan and place in the vessel of a slow cooker. Add the water, onions and garlic to the slow cooker, cover and set temperature to low. Cook for 8-10 hours, or until tender and falling apart. Remove meat from the pot and shred using two forks.
  3. At this point meat can be crisped under the broiler to make carnitas (Mexican-style pork) and used for taco or burrito filling. Or alternately, you can drain the slow cooker of any fat and juice and return meat to the pot. Stir in one bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for one hour more, or until heated through. Serve on buns topped with coleslaw.

    Recipe Variation: Instead of using your slow cooker you can keep meat in the Dutch oven after browning it, add the onions and garlic, cover, and place in your oven (preheated to 325 degrees) and bake for 4-5 hours.

Find more recipes from Alison Needham on, or visit her blog at

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