When you need a meal that really satisfies, red meat is hard to beat. Though beef is often the go-to in this department, you might want to give pork a second chance. For starters, it’s a delicious change from your usual steak or stew. Pork also tends to be less expensive than beef.
Now that you have your protein of choice, it’s just a matter of figuring out what to make. When you enlist your crockpot, your options are pretty much endless. We’re sharing six pork recipes that deliver great-tasting results all thanks to the low-and-slow cooking device.
1. Slow Cooker Tomatillo Pork Chile Verde
Most of us have a go-to chili recipe that calls for beef, beans, tomatoes, and a spicy seasoning blend. For those who live in the Southwestern part of the country, though, a green version with pork is all the rage. Serious Eats explains the difference has to do with access to New Mexico’s beloved Hatch green chiles. Folks who live in this area have been known to tuck them into everything from cheeseburgers to breakfast dishes, but they really shine when cooked slowly into a tender pork stew.
The bad news for those of us who live in other areas of the country is it’s incredibly hard to find these particular peppers. PaleOMG solves the problem by using a combination of anaheim and jalapeño chiles in this rich pork dish. Tomatillos add just the right amount of tang and help up the green factor. This could become your new favorite stew.
- 3 jalapeños, halved
- 3 anaheim chiles, halved
- 8 tomatillos, husked and halved
- 1 to 2 tablespoons melted ghee or cooking oil
- ½ cup lime juice
- ¼ white onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2½ pounds pork shoulder
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Lime wedges
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with a layer of aluminum foil and place chiles and tomattillos on top, cut-side down. Lightly brush vegetables with ghee or oil and season with salt. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until outsides are charred. Let cool, then peel skins and remove seeds.
Add tomatillos, chiles, lime juice, onion, and garlic to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over medium heat. Season pork all over with salt and sear until deeply browned on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer pork to crockpot, then top with blended vegetables. Add oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin, white pepper, and broth. Season with salt. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove pork from crockpot and shred with two forks. Add meat back to crockpot and mix to combine. Serve garnished with lime wedges and cilantro.
2. Slow Cooker Spanish Meatballs
Instead of using beef for these paprika-spiced meatballs, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food uses budget-friendly ground pork. The somewhat milder flavor of this protein allows the sauce to really shine and, because ground pork tends to have a bit more fat than ground beef, they’ll stay super moist. The recipe suggests serving these with bread, but pasta would be equally delicious.
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped, divided
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika, divided
- 5 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Rustic bread
Directions: In a large bowl, combine pork, ¼ cup onion, cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, breadcrumbs, eggs, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and mix gently to combine. Using your hands, roll into 25 meatballs, each 1½ inches wide.
Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown half of meatballs on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Add remaining onion to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining paprika and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low until meatballs are tender, about 5 hours. Serve with bread.
3. Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
If there’s one downside to traditional barbecue, it’s the weather’s ability to derail things. No one wants to spend time outside manning the smoker or grill if it’s freezing, snowing, or even just raining on a warm day. With these slow-cooker ribs from Brown Eyed Baker, you’ll never have to worry about the forecast. Just coat the ribs with a simple rub as you usually would, then plop them into a crockpot to slowly cook.
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 pounds baby-back ribs, membrane removed, cut into sections to fit slow cooker
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1 (40-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
Directions: Mix paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne to combine in a small bowl. Evenly rub mixture over ribs, covering all sides.
Grease a 6-quart slow cooking with nonstick cooking spray. Starting with onions, alternately layer onions and ribs until you’ve used all of each. Add water, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Meat is done when it easily pulls away from bone.
Remove ribs to a large plate and pour off onions and liquid from crockpot. Return ribs to slow cooker and pour in barbecue sauce. Turn ribs to coat. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour longer. Serve.
4. Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Creamy Herb Sauce
A simply cooked pork chop makes a good dinner, but it becomes something spectacular when you sauce it with a creamy, herb-flecked sauce. Taste the difference for yourself with these delicious chops from Slow Cooker Gourmet. The recipe works equally well with fresh herbs, as long as you add them at the very end, so use whatever you have on hand.
- 2 pounds pork loin chops
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ small onion, diced
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried mustard powder
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
Directions: Season chops on both sides with thyme, salt, pepper, and mustard powder. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, stir in onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Push onions and garlic to sides of pan and add pork chops to the center. Cook until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chops and onion mixture to a slow cooker. Add chicken broth, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove chops from insert and tent with foil to keep warm. Stir in cream. Transfer sauce to a small pot. Mix cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cooking liquid in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker. Let cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Serve chops with sauce poured over top.
5. Thai-Style Pork Stew
Crockpots usually make us think of classic American cooking, like chicken soup or beef stew. There’s no reason to stick to the same flavor profiles just because the device was invented in the U.S., though. For something totally different, try a Southeast Asian-inspired braise from Cooking Light. With peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic, it’s a real treat for your taste buds.
We love that this recipe uses store-bought teriyaki sauce to speed things up, but make sure to check out the label before tossing a bottle in your cart. If you can’t decipher an ingredient, try a different product.
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
- 2 cups julienned red bell pepper
- ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 cups cooked basmati rice
- ½ cup diagonally cut green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
- 8 lime wedges
Directions: Place pork, bell pepper, teriyaki, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and garlic in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove pork and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to slow cooker and stir well. Stir in pork.
Combine stew and rice in a large bowl. Serve garnished with onions, peanuts, and lime wedges.
6. Pork with Apples, Bacon, and Sauerkraut
It might sound too good to be true, but you can pull off an entrée fit for company using your crockpot when you make this elegant pork and apple dish from Southern Living. Because it cooks slowly, you’re guaranteed to end up with a really moist pork loin. All you need to complete the meal is some mashed or roasted potatoes.
- 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat and silver skin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 6 ounces thinly sliced bacon or pancetta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, quartered
- 1 (12-ounce) package frozen pearl onions
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle stout or porter beer
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, plus more
- 3 firm apples, divided
- 2 cups jarred sauerkraut, rinsed
- 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- ¼ cup chicken broth
Directions: Season pork with salt and pepper. Wrap top and sides with bacon or pancetta. Tie roast with kitchen twine in 1-inch intervals.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook pork, turning occasionally, until deeply golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from skillet, reserving drippings.
Place onion, pearl onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and top with pork.
Add beer to reserved drippings in skillet and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 8 minutes, stirring to loosen brown bits. Stir in mustard, then pour over pork. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
Peel two apples and cut into large wedges. Add apple wedges, sauerkraut, and cabbage to slow cooker. Cover and continue to cook for 1 to 2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 150 degrees Fahrenheit and apples are tender.
Cut remaining apple into thin strips and toss with parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, combine preserves and broth in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until smooth and melted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Brush pork with apricot mixture, cut into slices, and serve with cabbage and onion mixture, apple salad, and additional mustard.
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