A (Non-French) Barbecue Pork Shoulder Roast Recipe for Your Slow Cooker

Pork Shoulder Roast. Photo by John Tornow via Flickr.

Here’s an amazing six-ingredient slow-cooker recipe for barbecue pork shoulder roast. No, it’s not French, but it’s an easy recipe for to enjoy as winter drones on and on (and on).

In my experience cooking for and eating with French people, I’ve come to the conclusion that anything that resembles barbecue sauce pretty much creeps them out. There’s something in the Gaullic blood that says “non!” at the sweet-spicy mingling of things like tomato, vinegar, brown sugar, etc.

So, what’s an barbecued pork shoulder roast recipe doing on a French food and lifestyle blog? I can’t help it. J’adore a good oven-braised pork shoulder roast, and when there’s a great barbecue sauce involved…I’m in.

A few things to note:

1. Get the right cut: I love the pork shoulder roast (versus a pork shoulder) because the roast is generally smaller. Frankly, I usually don’t need 5 pounds of meat. I also prefer bone-in…it yields the most flavor.

2. Cookie’s! A little Iowa flag-waving here: This recipe calls on favorite barbecue sauce: Cookie’s. Made in Wall Lake, Iowa, it’s the thick, sweet-and-spicy sauce I grew up on and still enjoy. But if you can’t find Cookie’s, try your own local fave.

Cuisinart’s “Cook Central” Slow Cooker

3. Cuisinart’s “Cook Central” Slow-Cooker: I am the proud owner of a beautiful Cuisinart “Cook Central” Slow Cooker. I love this thing, because it lets you brown the meat in the cooker (no extra pan to wash). When the roast is done, it has this nifty keep-warm feature that keeps the food warm and safe to eat without overcooking it (as so many slow-cookers can do). And finally, when you remove the roast, you can boil down the juices right in the cooker itself (something that those low/high cookers would take forever to do).

Of course, you can use a traditional slow cooker, but you’ll need to brown the roast in a separate pan, and boil those juices in a separate pan as well. A small price to pay for a really good recipe.

PS: The photo above isn’t exactly of my recipe (by the time I got around to eating it, night had fallen and it was too dark to take a good shot). But the photo gets to the heart of the wonderfully soft and tender results that pork shoulder, when done right, always yield. Of all the photos I searched, that one nailed it best.

Five of the six iIngredients needed for this recipe. And yes, use sustainably raised, natural, hormone-free pork for the best results. I got mine at Whole Foods.

Six-Ingredient Barbecue Pork Shoulder Roast for Your Slow Cooker

Serves 4.

1          2 1/2 to 3-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
1          tablespoon cooking oil
1          medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2          minced garlic cloves
1          cup low-sodium beef broth*
1          cup Cookie’s Barbecue Sauce (or your favorite sauce)

• Season the roast all over with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the roast in the hot oil over medium-high heat (set the temp to 400°F if you’re using that wonderful All-Clad slow cooker), turning as needed, until it’s nicely browned all over.
• Remove the roast from the pan; drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes or until they’re tender. Add the garlic, cook a couple seconds, then carefully add the beef broth (it may spatter).
• Return the roast to the pan. Set the cooker on low heat in the slow-cooker mode. Cook for 8 hours or until the roast is tender.
• Remove the roast from the cooker. Keep warm. Skim the fat from the juices in the cooker, if desired. Set the cooker on 350° and boil until the liquid is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Stir in the barbecue sauce; cook and stir until all is incorporated into a nice sauce-like consistency.
• Slice the roast into luscious chunks and serve. Pass the barbecue sauce.

* Note: If you’re not using low-sodium beef-broth, use 1/2 cup broth and 1 cup water, otherwise, the end result may be too salty.


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3 comments to A (Non-French) Barbecue Pork Shoulder Roast Recipe for Your Slow Cooker

  • Love that you cook in smaller portions. 5 lb. is fine for company, but way too much for us everyday. I also love a recipe with not so many ingredients. I am surprised French people do not like bbq. It touches all flavor buds, salty, sweet, spicy, …..

  • Rachel F

    Can’t wait to try this one Wini! Definitely something to look forward during the polar vortex!

  • Becky Sidney

    Consider the IA Food Coop. Great IA meat selection. We’ve been getting spinach and Romaine grown in local greenhouses. Lasts a lot longer than the stuff from the grocery store.

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