Looking for a way to upgrade your go-to crockpot shredded pork roast recipe? Look no further than this flavorful twist – brining the pork in beer and adding a spice rub. This recipe is meant for a large pork roast…perfect for your next family gathering!
This recipe makes about 16 servings which for many of you is a big ol’ gathering. For others of us…it’s our immediate family :). I’ve made this roast so many times over the years because it’s ideal for feeding a bunch without having to fuss on the day everyone is over.
Why Does Brining Pork Roast in Beer Work Spectacularly?
Here’s why brining your pork roast in beer is a total game-changer:
- Flavor Explosion: Beer brings a whole new level of taste to the meat. The malt, hops, and other beer ingredients infuse the pork with their distinct flavors, creating a richer and more complex taste that will blow your taste buds away.
- Tenderize Like a Pro: Beer is more than just a flavor booster. It contains enzymes and acids that work their magic on proteins in the meat, making it incredibly tender and juicy. That means every bite of your pork roast will be melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
- Deep Flavor Infusion: The brining process allows the beer flavors to seep deep into the pork, resulting in a moist and flavorful roast. It’s like a marinade on steroids, ensuring that every inch of the meat is infused with deliciousness.
- Carbonation Magic: But wait, there’s more! The carbonation in beer has another trick up its sleeve. It creates a gentle and acidic environment during brining, which helps tenderize the meat even further. The result? A pork roast that’s unbelievably tender and succulent.
So, when you brine your pork roast in beer, you’re not just adding flavor, you’re taking it to a whole new level of deliciousness. It’s the secret ingredient that will make your go-to crockpot recipe stand out and leave your guests begging for more. Get ready to wow their taste buds with this mouthwatering and unique dish!
What Can I Use Instead of Beer for Brining Pork?
Ginger ale makes a great substitute for lager beer in your pork roast because it mimics some of the flavors, and has the carbonation to help create tenderness.
Key Ingredients for Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Roast For a Crowd:
- Big Pork Roast. I look for a bone-in pork roast about 8 pounds, for this recipe. See the tips further down for tips on picking a good roast.
- Beer. A classic lager works great for this. I use Miller Genuine Draft. It’s a good classic beer great for drinking and for meat ;).
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Like beer, ACV is another secret weapon for creating super tender meat.
- Smoked Paprika. It’s the quickest and easiest way to give slow-cooked meat a deep smoky flavor minus the smoke.
- Brown Sugar. Brown sugar helps retain moisture (did you know that?), creates a caramelized crust, and balances out the flavors.
- Worcestershire Sauce. It adds a yummy savory taste and helps make the meat tender as it cooks slowly.
- BBQ sauce. I use BBQ sauce at the very end to quickly give the shredded pork that classic flavor and texture that everyone loves. Use your favorite!
How to Choose a Pork Roast for Crockpot Shredded Pork
First, you’ll see I have a bone-in roast. The bone helps the meat stay juicy and adds depth to the overall flavor. I prefer using a bone-in whenever I can.
Second, pork shoulder or pork butt make the best roasts for this recipe. They are great for slow cooking because they have a good amount of marbling, which makes tender and juicy shredded meat. The fat content helps keep the meat moist during the long cooking process, and helps it shred when cooked low and slow. So, pork shoulder or pork butt roast are your go-to choices for that melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Add-INS to try in your shredded pork:
- Diced tomatoes: Adds a fresh and tangy taste to the shredded pork.
- Chopped bell peppers: Gives a crunchy texture and colorful appearance.
- Sliced mushrooms: Provides a meaty texture and enhances the flavor.
- Pineapple chunks: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor that goes well with the shredded pork.
- Diced jalapeños: Gives a spicy kick and adds some heat to the dish.
- Corn kernels: Adds a touch of sweetness and a pleasant texture. Try both the jalapeño and corn combo!
- Black beans: Provides a creamy and filling addition to the shredded pork while stretching the recipe.
Do you love using your CrockPot for meals? Don’t miss my 30 Day CrockPot Challenge!
How to Make Slow Cooker Pork Roast for a Crowd:
- Brine the roast in beer.
- Mix up the spice rub.
- Remove the roast from the fridge and pat dry.
- Rub the spice rub on the roast.
- Pour the cider and water into the slow cooker.
- Carefully add the roast.
- Gently pour the Worcestershire sauce on top of the roast.
- Cover and cook according to the table below.
NOTE: I like to cook mine for an hour on high and then turn it down low for 6 hours to make sure the crockpot comes to heat fully.
How to Brine the Pork Roast in Beer:
- Place the pork roast in a container that is large enough to fully submerge the roast in the beer. A food-grade plastic container or a large resealable plastic bag works well. I use my dutch oven when making an 8lb roast.
- Pour enough beer into the container to fully cover the pork roast. You may need more than one bottle depending on the size of the roast. For my 8lb roasts in my dutch oven I use 3 bottles.
- Cover the container or close the bag tightly.
- Place the container in the refrigerator and let the pork roast brine for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. The longer it brines, the more flavor it will absorb.
- Once it is done brining, carefully remove the pork roast from the container, allowing any extra liquid to drip off.
- Pat the pork roast and continue on down the recipe road…
How Long Should I Brine the Pork Roast?
When brining a pork roast in beer, it’s best to let it soak for at least 6 hours or overnight, if possible. This allows enough time for the flavors from the beer to get into the meat and do its thing, giving us the tastiest pork roast ever! Give it a good soak overnight.
How to Make the Spice Rub:
- Combine all the spice rub ingredients together and stir well.
- Set the spice rub aside until the pork roast has been brined.
- It works great to make the spice rub when you put the roast into the beer then it’s ready to go when you want to put the meat into the slow cooker.
How to Prep the Pork Roast for the Slow Cooker:
- Remove the roast from the beer and set it on a cookie sheet or other pan large enough to hold it while you put the spice rub on.
- Pat the roast down with paper towels so it is fairly dry. It’s okay if the roast is still a little damp, though.
- Generously rub and pat the spice rub into all sides of the roast.
- Pour the apple cider vinegar and water into the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Gently put the spice rubbed pork roast on top.
- Slowly pour the worcestershire over top of the roast.
- Cover and cook according to table below.
NOTE: I usually turn my slow cooker on high for 1 hour to bring it up to heat and then turn it to low for the remainder of the time.
How long should I leave the Pork Roast in the slow cooker for?
|Pork Roast Size||Cooking Temp||Cooking Time|
|2-3 pounds||Low||6-8 Hours|
|2-3 pounds||High||4-5 Hours|
|4-5 pounds||Low||8-10 Hours|
|4-5 pounds||High||5-7 Hours|
|6-8 pounds||Low||10-12 Hours|
|6-8 pounds||High||6-8 Hours|
Remember that these cooking times are approximate and can totally vary based on factors like the specific slow cooker you have, your taste preferences, and the accuracy of temperature settings. Check the internal temperature of the pork roast with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 195°. That’s always the best way…especially when feeding a crowd!
Shouldn’t Pork Temp at 145°-160°?
Yes, yes, usually! BUT…when you’re planning to shred a pork roast, it’s best to cook it to a higher temp to help the meat to break down, resulting in a more tender and easily shreddable texture. The pork should be cooked until it reaches a point where it can be easily pulled apart with a fork or shredded with minimal effort, usually around 195°.
How to Finish The Shredded Pork Roast:
- Carefully remove the pork roast from the slow cooker and put it into a large mixing bowl.
- Shred the pork using two forks or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment while it’s still warm. Shredding it while it is still warm will make it easier to handle and shred. I don’t recommend trying to shred it after the roast has cooled.
- Pour the bottle of BBQ sauce into the shredded pork and stir.
- Add in as much of the liquid from the slow cooker as you need to create the texture/moisture you like. I usually end up adding about 3/4 cup liquid.
Make Ahead/Store Shredded Pork:
- Allow the shredded pork to cool down to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent moisture buildup and bacterial growth.
- Divide the shredded pork into smaller portions based on your intended use. This makes it easier to defrost and use only the amount you need.
- Refrigerator: Place the shredded pork in airtight containers or sealable plastic bags. Remove any excess air to minimize freezer burn. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: For longer storage, place the shredded pork in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Label them with the date for easy reference. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
Transfer the frozen shredded pork to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. If you’re short on time, you can place the sealed bag of frozen shredded pork in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until it’s thawed completely. If you need to thaw a small amount quickly, you can use the defrost function on your microwave.
I find that it works well to add a bit more barbecue sauce to the shredded pork when I’m reheating it.
- Stovetop: Heat a skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil or broth. Add the shredded pork and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the shredded pork in an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil, and heat for about 20-25 minutes or until warmed.
- Microwave: Place the shredded pork in a microwave-safe dish, cover it, and microwave on high in 30-second increments until heated thoroughly. Stir in between to ensure even heating.
The leftovers work fantastic for pork tacos (I saute them for a bit in a hot skillet to make them a bit crispy)and bbq pizza so plan on leftovers, if it isn’t eaten right away!
CrockPot Shredded Pork Roast for a Crowd
- 1 8 lb. Pork Shoulder Roast
- 3 12 oz bottles of beer Miller Genuine Draft, or similar, is recommended
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
For slow cooking
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup water
To finish up:
- 16 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Brining the Roast
- Add the 1 8 lb. Pork Shoulder Roast to a container large enough to allow it to be completely submerged in beer. I use my dutch oven.
- Pour the 3 12 oz bottles of beer over the top of the roast until it is fully submerged.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
To make the Shredded Pork
- Carefully remove the brined pork roast from the liquid and set it on a baking sheet. Pat off the excess liquid. It's okay if the roast is still a little bit wet.
- Mix the 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 Tbsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp garlic salt, and 1 tsp cayenne pepper together.
- Gently rub and pat the spice rub on all sides of the roast.
- Pour the 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water into the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Gently set the spice rubbed pork roast into the liquid in your slow cooker.
- Pour the 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce over the top.
- Use the table in the post to determine how long to cook your roast. For an 8lb I recommend 1 hour on high heat and 8 hours on low heat or until you reach 195 degrees in temp.
- Remove the roast from the liquid and set it into a large mixing bowl.
- Use two forks or the paddle attachment on your mixer to shred the pork. Be sure to do this while it is warm.
- Pour the bottle of bbq sauce into the meat and mix. Add additional liquid from the slow cooker into the meat until you reach your desired texture. I usually add about 3/4 of a cup.