Pork cuts come in all different shapes and sizes, from the lean and tender pork fillet to the marbled pork shoulder. Many cuts of pork may be avoided due to their higher fat content, but cooking pork down in a slow cooker can render out a lot of the fat and connective tissue. The result is moist, tender and shreddable meat.
Keep reading to find out the best cuts of pork for the slow cooker, and a few different slow cooker recipes.
The best cuts of pork for the slow cooker
From whole pork joints with plenty of fat and connective tissue, to the more lean diced pork, pork mince or loin, there are loads of different ways to enjoy pork using your slow cooker. Each cut requires slightly different preparation or cooking times, so read on to find out how to handle your chosen cut of pork.
Pork shoulder is a generous cut, with plenty of meat and crackling skin. The bone in pork shoulder can be hard to cut around, so many people prefer to use it for pulled pork and let the meat simply fall off the bone. Pork leg roast can also be used in the same way, following the same cooking method.
How to cook pork shoulder in the slow cooker
- Remove the crackling skin with a sharp knife, and trim off any excess fat cap. It’s okay to leave some fat on, as this helps to provide flavour and keep the meat succulent. The reserved skin can be crisped up in the oven and served on the side.
- Place in the slow cooker and pour over your chosen sauce ingredients.
- Slow cook for 10-12 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high, for a 2kg pork roast.
- The meat is done when it falls apart and shreds easily with two forks. The bone should be easy to remove with tongs.
Slow cooker sticky pork
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Pork loin roast or sirloin can also be delicious when slow cooked. Unlike shoulder or leg, slow-cooked pork loin is a bit more like a traditional oven roast — suitable for slicing, not shredding. Because loin is a leaner cut than shoulder or leg, it doesn’t need nearly as long in the slow cooker to become tender and delicious. In fact, too long can dry the meat out.
How to cook whole pork loin in the slow cooker
- If the roast has skin on it, carefully remove it with a sharp knife. Reserved skin can be crisped in the oven to make crackling.
- Sear the loin roast on all sides in a frying pan over a high heat.
- Slow cook on low for 2.5 hours, plus half an hour per 500 grams. (For a 2kg piece, roughly 4.5 hours)
- The meat should be tender and sliceable, with an internal temperature of around 62°C.
Diced pork is usually cut from the shoulder. While it comes from the same part of the animal, it can be used quite differently from a whole shoulder piece because the fat has been removed, and the meat is in smaller pieces. Use diced pork to make a stew or curry in the slow cooker.
How to cook diced pork in the slow cooker
- Toss diced pork pieces in seasoned flour to lightly coat, then sear on all sides in a frying pan over a high heat.
- Add pork pieces to your slow cooker with your other stew ingredients, holding back any tender vegetables like peas or corn.
- Add tender vegetables in the last half hour of cooking.
- Slow cook for 7-8 hours on low, for 1kg diced pork.
Pork shoulder chops
Most pork chops are best suited for fast frying, but shoulder chops in particular can go well in the slow cooker. Depending on how you like your pork chops, shoulder chops can take between two to six hours to cook. A longer cook time will give you a result more akin to pulled pork, whereas a shorter cook will be more like a steak or chicken breast.
How to cook pork shoulder chops in the slow cooker
- Sear the chops quickly on both sides over a high heat.
- Place a layer of vegetables, such as sliced onions, on the bottom of the slow cooker to hold the chops off the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the pork chops to the slow cooker on top of the vegetables and pour over your cooking liquid/sauce.
- Slow cook for 2 to 6 hours for about 1kg pork chops. Test the chops with a knife after 2 hours, and again every hour or so until you’re happy with the texture.
Pork mince can be used just as you would use it normally, but the low and slow cooking method helps to make it extra tender. We love to use a mixture of pork and beef mince to make an extra flavourful bolognese or meatballs.
How to cook pork mince in the slow cooker
- Brown mince over a high heat in a frying pan. Or if making meatballs, sear meatballs all over.
- Add plenty of liquid, such as tinned tomatoes or stock. The mince should be submerged, but not drowned.
- Cook for at least 5-6 hours on low.