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Easy Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork! With spices, honey, ginger, soy sauce. Just put it in the crockpot and go!
Photography Credit:Elise Bauer
Have you ever had those steamed Chinese dumplings with the savory barbecued pork inside? They’re called “cha siu bao” and they’re absolutely addictive.
This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is inspired by the filling in those dumplings. This is one of those recipes I couldn’t stop making or eating, it’s so good! Seriously. Easy to make too.
We start with big chunks of well marbled pork shoulder rubbed with Chinese 5-spice powder. Chinese 5-spice is a common spice rub for Chinese cooking. (If it’s not available at your local market, you can make your own. We’ve included one recipe below, and there are several others online to choose from.)
Put the spice rubbed pork into a slow cooker, top with a sauce mixture of hoisin, soy sauce, honey, sherry, ginger, and garlic, and set it for 4 hours on high or 8 on low.
You can put the pulled pork in tacos, burritos, or if you want to mimic the dumplings, serve them on a sweet Hawaiian dinner roll.
One thing about cooking pork shoulder in a slow cooker is that a generous amount of fat is rendered in the process. You may be tempted to either cut off all the fat before cooking, or ladle off most the fat afterwards.
Here’s a tip. The fat is where you’ll find the flavor, and it’s needed to keep the meat from drying out. I suggest ladling off excess fat after cooking, and then adding some back to get to the consistency, taste, and texture you want.
Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork Recipe
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into very large chunks (3 to 4 inches)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of Chinese 5-spice powder*
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp dry sherry or Shaoxing cooking wine
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 12 Hawaiian dinner rolls
- 1 large scallion sliced
*To make Chinese 5-spice powder, toast 1 teaspoon peppercorns in a skillet until fragrant. In a spice grinder, grind the roasted peppercorns with 2 whole star anise, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds. Stir in 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
1 Season the pork with 5-spice powder: Rub the 5 spice powder into the pork chunks, all over, and let sit while you prepare the sauce in the next step.
2 Whisk together the sauce ingredients: Whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, sherry, ginger, and garlic in a medium bowl.
3 Place pork and sauce in slow cooker: Place the seasoned pork shoulder pieces in a slow cooker, cover with the sauce.
4 Slow cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, until the meat easily pulls apart. About halfway through the cooking, turn the meat over in the pot.
5 Ladle off excess fat: Use a ladle or a large metal spoon to remove excess fat that has risen to the surface while the meat has been cooking. Don't discard it yet, you may want to add some of it back.
6 Shred the pork: Use two forks to pull apart the pork into shreds. If the pork still seems dry, add back some of the fat.
7 Serve over sweet Hawaiian dinner buns topped with sliced green onion or cilantro.
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Slow Cooker Chinese BBQ Pork
2014 has been a big year for me. It is the year I became a published author. It has been a surreal experience. You can go buy my book HERE . Writing a cookbook devoted to slow cooking is no.
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2014 has been a big year for me. It is the year I became a published author. It has been a surreal experience. You can go buy my book HERE
. Writing a cookbook devoted to slow cooking is no small feat. You haven’t mastered the slow cook until you have 7 of them going on your counter at the same time. It can get crazy.
Even after all that slow cooked food, we haven’t gotten tired of it. I’ve had a rough December and getting dinner on the table hasn’t been easy. Slow cooker to the rescue! This particular recipe is killer. The smell as it cooked all day was driving me nuts. I could hardly wait for dinner! It smells great and tastes great. You’ll love the flavors of a Chinese BBQ sauce. Serve it with some stir fried veggies, rice, or if you really want to go for it, make some steamed buns.
Thank you for a wonderful year! Seriously, it wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of thousands of people that come visit my site each month. You have helped my dreams come true. Thank you!
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 8 hours, low
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 TB fish sauce
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB honey
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 (3 lb) pork butt roast
1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, and brown sugar.
2. Place pork butt in a 6 quart slow cooker. Pour barbecue sauce over pork roast.
What to Serve With Pulled Pork
We love pulled pork since it’s perfect for so many occasions. Here are some of our favorite sides to go alongside the tender, tasty pork:
- — I love the crunch of coleslaw with pulled pork. If you don’t like mayo-based salads, try our mayo-free coleslaw. — This mayo-free potato salad is perfect served cold or warm. Here’s our classic creamy potato salad if that is more your style. — This fresh and easy pasta salad packed with crisp vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and tossed with a simple homemade dressing. — You’ll love this ultra creamy mac and cheese recipe! With the perfect ratio of milk to cheese to sauce, this macaroni and cheese is at the top of my favorites list!
Why Pork Slow Cooker Recipes are the best:
- The ability to use your Slow Cooker!
- Pork ingredients can be some of the most comforting foods! You have soup, ribs, meatballs, pork chops &ndash you name it, HELLO COMFORT FOODS!
- You can dress it up, like Pork Chili, or keep it simple, like Sausage and Cabbage.
- Pork Slow Cooker Recipes can be healthy or more calorie rich, whichever you desire.
- Did you forget about the price? Pork can be cheaper than chicken at times! These recipes can decrease your grocery bill, while still being delicious!
- If budget meals are in your plans for this coming year, check out Cheap Chicken Recipes for $10 or Less, Cheap Dinner Recipes for $5 or Less, and 25 Cheap Meals for Large Families Under $10.
This is no joke, these 50 Pork Slow Cooker Recipes can fill your whole meal plan this week! The variation is great and the flavor is even better.
The best pork to use in a pulled pork recipe is a boneless shoulder pork. I like to try and get the biggest one possible &ndash just make sure it fits in your slow cooker! Why do I like to get a big one? Well, aside from having seemingly forever hungry children, I love to make pulled pork sandwiches the next day! It&rsquos a super quick lunch. Pulled pork also tastes amazing when turned into a soup.
I cooked this in a 6.5L capacity slow cooker and the pork shoulder weighed 2kg. It made enough to feed 5 of us generously for dinner, as well as plenty left over for lunches the next day.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Rub And Sauce
You can have a play about with the pulled pork rub and create a combination that suits you best. I like the following blend best
Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
This is my usual go to when making pulled pork, but sometimes I will add in a little cayenne pepper and/or chilli powder.
I mix these ingredients together and then add them to some tomato ketchup, white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Or you can just mix the spices with some BBQ sauce if you have some.
Do I Need To Marinate The Pork Before Adding It To The Slow Cooker?
Mostly I don&rsquot marinate the pork &ndash but you absolutely can. I usually miss out this step because I am not prepared enough the night before! It would make more sense to mix the pulled pork rub and sauce together the night before and rub it over the pork. This not only improves the taste, it&rsquoll also save you precious time in the morning! But, if like me, you don&rsquot seem to get round to this kind of thing of an evening, fear not, it still tastes amazing when made just before switching the slow cooker on.
Side Note: If you do choose to marinate it ahead of time, follow the same steps below but just leave it in the fridge overnight. I would recommend allowing the slow cooker pot to warm up to room temperature before switching the slow cooker on &ndash just in case the switch from cold to hot cracks or damages the ceramic slow cooker pot.
Adding It All To The Slow Cooker
Simply add the pork shoulder joint to the slow cooker and pour the pulled pork rub/sauce over the top. The best way to cook the pork is on low and for a long time, this will ensure that the pork is super soft and tender and quite literally just &lsquopulls&rsquo apart. If you have the time, set it off on low for 8 hours. If you haven&rsquot been able to put it on until later in the day, you can cook it on high and it should be ready in 4 hours.
Turning It Into Pulled Pork
When the cooking time is up, the pork is ready to be pulled apart. You can either take the joint out and do this in a separate bowl or chopping board, or just do it straight in the slow cooker pot. I tend to opt for the latter, if you do, just be really careful not to burn yourself on the slow cooker. Use 2 forks to shred the pork, the pork should be soft enough that this is easy to do, with it falling apart easily. Once the pork has been suitably shredded, stir the pork around in the sauce until completely coated.
Serving The Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Our absolute favourite way of eating the pulled pork is in brioche buns with a little coleslaw. Some sweet potato fries or roast sweet potato also taste great on the side.
Storing The Pulled Pork
If you have any pulled pork leftover, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be served cold in a sandwich or roll, or reheated and then eaten.
Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork - Recipes
Over the past few months, when I have been stuck for an idea for dinner and need something easy and mostly hands-off, I have been turning to pulled pork. I have a few recipes I like to use, including Guinness Pulled Pork, Asian Pulled Pork and Pork Carnitas. A big plus is that these recipes make enough that you'll have leftovers for the next day.
Last week I was browsing through recipes online and came across one for a Chinese BBQ Pulled Pork, or Char Siu.
After reading through the recipe I knew what changes I would make based on our preferences, and had an idea as to how it would taste. I also knew I would serve it with noodles and sauteed bok choy for a really simple weeknight meal that would definitely give us leftovers.
This smelled so good while cooking - I could not wait to eat. The pork was so tender and juicy, sweet, salty and spicy - a perfect combination.
The only problem with making this recipe is I now have another pulled pork recipe to turn to, and when I love them all as much as I do, deciding which one to make is hard! I guess that's a good problem to have.
Slow Cooker Chinese BBQ Pulled Pork
Loosely Adapted from: Cooking Light
Slow Cooker Honey Pulled Pork Recipe
To prepare this yummy meal I used 6-quart (6 l) slow cooker.
- 1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 pounds pork loin, halved lengthwise
In a slow cooker, combine the stock, honey, minced garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk until smooth.
Place halved pork, side-by-side, in the pot. Turn to coat on all sides.
Close the cooker. Cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours or until meat is tender.
Turn off the slow cooker and open the lid. Using tongs, remove cooked meat from the pot and transfer to a large bowl.
Using two forks, gently pull the meat apart. Return pulled pork to the slow cooker and toss with cooking liquid. Serve hot.
- 1 (5 pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Place the pork shoulder into a slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Pour the vinegar around the pork. Cover, and cook on Low for 12 hours. Pork should easily pull apart into strands.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard any bones. Strain out the liquid, and save 2 cups. Discard any extra. Shred the pork using tongs or two forks, and return to the slow cooker. Stir the brown sugar, hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes into the reserved sauce. Mix into the pork in the slow cooker. Cover and keep on Low setting until serving.
What Is Chinese Five Spice Powder?
Chinese five spice powder is a blend of 5 spices used in many types of Asian cooking. It can be purchased already mixed, but, depending on where you live, can be hard to find. If you need to make your own, grind together the following ingredients until you have a fine powder.
- 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 3 star anise
- 3/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cloves
Use this spice sparingly. It&aposs strong and a little goes a long way.
If you are a visual person and want to see how the spice is made, check out the easy-to-follow video below.
Slow Cooker Pork and Broccoli
- Author: 365 Days of Slow Cooking
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 1 x
Tender pieces of pork and a super savory sauce with semi-cooked broccoli all go together nicely over white rice.
- 1 cup beef broth (or 1 cup water and 1 tsp beef bouillon)
- 1/4 cup Tamari sauce (or glu ten free low sodium soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lbs pork sirloin roast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 (16 oz) package of frozen broccoli or 1 lb of fresh broccoli florets
- In a 4-6 quart slow cooker add the beef broth, tamari, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic cloves. Whisk until smooth.
- Add in the pork and stir to coat with the sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Remove the lid and turn to high. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the slow cooker and stir in well.
- Add in the broccoli* and stir in. Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for about 30 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked through and the sauce is thickened by the cornstarch.
*I used fresh broccoli but I chose to steam it in the microwave for a couple of minutes before adding it to the slow cooker. I just prefer the taste and texture of broccoli that way. If you use frozen you may want to run hot water over it in a colander before adding it to the slow cooker. That way it won’t bring the temperature of the food in the crockpot down too much.
Did you make this recipe?
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How to Make Asian Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Wet Rub = Flavor. First, we whisk together a Wet Rub consisting of toasted sesame oil, ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. If you don’t have sesame oil, you don’t have to buy it just for this recipe. Feel free to substitute olive oil instead. You will notice the Rub consists of 2 whole tablespoons ground ginger – I know that sounds like a lot but I promise it is AMAZING and is needed to cut through the sweetness of the sauce.
Seared Pork = juicy and flavorful. Next, we sear our pork to seal in the juices and to create what’s known as the Maillard reaction in which the amino acids and reducing sugar react to create a caramelized, deeply flavorful, rich savory crust. Yes please.
Dynamite Sauce. We whisk together our Sauce ingredients consisting of coconut milk, soy sauce, Japanese sweet rice wine, Asian sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, sriracha and cornstarch. Keep in mind if you taste the sauce at this point it will not be balanced because we are going to add the “Caramel Sauce” later.
What is rice wine and where can I buy it? The only sauce ingredient you might have a question about is the Japanese rice wine. Rice wine should become a pantry staple if you do much Asian cooking because it is used in MANY of my recipes such as my Mongolian Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp and many more. Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar- DO NOT switch them out. Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor while also tenderizing the pork. Rice vinegar, on the other hand will add an acidic flavor.
I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for. The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.
Cook until Tender. Pour the sauce all over the pork and let it cruise until fall apart tender. If it is not fork tender, it simply needs to cook longer.
Caramel Sauce. Once our pork is tender, we remove it to a cutting board until it is cool enough to shred then add back to slow cooker. Meanwhile, remove slow cooker sauce to a measuring cup. If there is less than 2 ½ cups then add enough water to equal 2 ½ cup. We will add this to our Caramel Sauce later.
To make the Caramel Sauce for our pulled pork, add brown sugar and water to large skillet and boil over medium heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Don’t overcook or it will harden! Slowly whisk in the 2 ½ cups Slow Cooker Sauce and simmer over medium high heat, whisking constantly until reduced and thickened, approximately 7-10 minutes.
It is important that you use a large skillet with sides or it will take MUCH longer for your sauce to thicken. If after 7-10 minutes your sauce isn’t thickening for whatever reason, then increase the temperature, whisking constantly.
How Saucy? Pour desired amount of Caramel Sauce over pulled pork and toss until evenly coated with a spatula. You may or may not use all of the sauce – totally your preference.
EAT! Serve Asian Caramel Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with rice/veggies/etc. on buns with slaw or my AMAZING Caramel Pork Tacos with Pineapple Snow Pea Salsa!
If you love slow cooker pulled pork and beef recipes, then you will love my Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork, Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Beef, and Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa!