When I started cooking pork roasts in the crockpot I was always so nervous. Would they burn, would they still be raw, would they taste like shoe leather? I didn’t want to leave the house, just in case. I’ve made enough successful roasts now to know the basics. When I’m not going for a BBQ on a bun and use a BBQ sauce, just a few shakes of seasoning and the roast is delicious every time.
There was that one time I cooked the roast on high for about 8 hours, totally covered in liquid, and it was so dry we choked a few bites down. It basically boiled itself to death. I remedied that by shredding it and putting it back into the crockpot with several cups of barbecue sauce. Pork loves to absorb liquid, even after being boiled, so it soaked up the sauce and was edible on buns again. Whew.
But other than that time, and another time I cooked a larger than usual roast and it wasn’t done in time, I do pretty well with the roasts. I think one of the secrets to good flavor is to sear the heck out of all sides of the roast in a hot skillet before placing in the crockpot. Sear that sucker GOOD, the darker the better! You will be fighting over the darker pieces later, trust me.
No other prep is needed: salt and pepper the roast on all sides and sear away! Make sure the skillet is hot before you place the first side down. Leave the heat on medium high and yes, you’ll more than likely end up with grease spattered all over the stove. It can’t be helped. It’s a small inconvenience for flavor.
While the roast is searing you might want to add slices of onion to the bottom of the crockpot. And chop up a couple handfuls of carrots to place around the roast. Maybe another handful of chopped celery. Save some slices of onion to top the roast as well. Add chunks of potato if you wish. I usually cook the potatoes separately because the roast, carrots and celery fill the crockpot.
You’ll need broth for the braising part of the cooking in the crockpot. I use a simple beef broth from a carton. After the roast and vegetables are placed in the crockpot I fill it half way up the side of the roast with beef broth. I’ve learned that the roast will produce its own juices so I start with a lower level of broth to prevent drowning it. I also season the roast at this point with a little oregano, a dash of garlic powder and sometimes some cumin. You could use your seasonings of choice.
I start the crockpot out on the high setting and with a 3-4 pound pork roast it’s done in 3 hours. I turn it down to low and let it cook a few more hours if necessary. I like the temp to reach about 200°F on the meat thermometer. At that temp the fat and collagen has dissolved and lent their flavors to the roast and drippings. Don’t ever remove the fat before roasting!
When I’m ready to serve dinner I carefully remove the roast to a platter using two forks or utensils. It’s going to be so tender it’s going to want to fall apart on the way to the plate. Beware! Scoop out the vegetables and pour the drippings into a saucepan if you plan on making gravy.
Serve with some mashed potatoes made on the side and you have a meal of perfection. Your only worry might be how to use the leftovers. I like to shred the pork while it is still warm; it shreds easily with two forks.
The first night we usually eat it in pieces with the vegetables and a starchy side such as potatoes or rice. After that we like it with bbq sauce on buns or diced in pot pies or other casserole type dishes.