One Roast, One Method, Two Simple Meal Options
A Boston butt is the porky equivalent of a chuck roast, the classic cut for pot roast—and like its beefy counterpart, it's made to order for slow cooking. While you get on with your day, a few hours' cooking in the Crock-Pot transforms the rather chewy pork shoulder, leaving it rich-tasting and fork-tender. Depending on your dinner plans, you can treat the finished butt as a pork roast or shred it for pulled pork. It's just as easy, and just as tasty, either way.
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8
- 1 Boston butt roast, 4 1/2 to 5 pounds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- Spray the liner of a 6-quart Crock-Pot with nonstick spray, or line it with a slow cooker liner bag for easier cleanup.
- Make a pad with two or three sheets of paper towels, and blot the roast dry on all sides. Sprinkle it on all sides with the seasonings. If you're using the Worcestershire sauce, shake it from the bottle onto the pork, and then gently rub it into the surface of the meat.
- Mound the onions into the bottom of the Crock-Pot, then nestle the roast in on top of them. Cover with the lid, and cook on the high setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or the low setting for 7 to 8 hours, whichever best fits your schedule for the day. Test the roast by inserting a fork and twisting it. The roast should be tender enough to easily remove a morsel. If you have a bone-in roast, grasp the bone and jiggle it. It should move freely.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board or serving platter, and strain the cooking juices into a measuring cup. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.
- To serve the meat as a pork roast, thicken the cooking juices to make a gravy. Slice the roast, and serve it with potatoes and vegetables.
- To serve as pulled pork, shred the roast and return it to the slow cooker. Thin a cup of your favorite barbecue sauce with 1/2 cup of the cooking juices, and add it to the pork. Toss, and cook for another 30 minutes or so. Serve on soft buns, with your choice of side dishes.
- The seasonings used here are simple and universal. You can add other herbs and spices as you wish, or—if you know at the start you want to make pulled pork—a barbecue spice rub.
- To get double value for your time and effort, serve the pork first as a roast and then shred the leftovers for pulled pork.
- Slow cookers retain moisture, so your Boston butt will cook perfectly without any added liquid. If you wish, though, you can add apple juice, cider, wine, beer or other liquids to create more flavor for the pork and your sauce. Smothering the butt in 2 to 4 cups of sauerkraut has a similar effect, and makes for an excellent cold-weather meal.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.