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Slow Cooker “Barbecued” Pork Shoulder Roast and Southern Barbecue Dry Rub

May 7, 2010

By Kath Dedon


The Southern Barbecue Dry Rub in Joy of Cooking is so easy to put together; there is no reason to pay a high price for a commercially blended rub. The original recipe calls for brown sugar, which I don’t use. It’s good without it, but add it if you want a bit of sweetness. I have used this rub on pork country ribs with good results. I decided to try it with a pork shoulder roast.

A pork shoulder roast is best cooked at a low temperature for a long time. This can be done in the oven or, even better, in a barbecue. I decided to try it in my slow cooker since I was going to be gone for most of the day.

I followed Rick Rodgers’ suggestion in The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook and used a collapsible vegetable steamer in the slow cooker to elevate the roast above the liquid. The roast turned out quite tasty.

We had the roast with corn and a salad. You could also shred the pork, add your favorite barbecue sauce and make pulled pork sandwiches. Yum!



Slow Cooker “Barbecued” Pork Shoulder Roast and Southern Barbecue Dry Rub

(Southern Barbecue Dry Rub adapted from a recipe in Joy of Cooking)


(print the recipe)


Southern Barbecue Dry Rub

¼ cup sweet smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons ground pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional – I’ve made it with and without sugar.)


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. The rub can be used with pork or beef.


Slow Cooker “Barbecued” Pork Shoulder Roast

1 (3–3½ pound) pork shoulder roast

Southern Barbecue Dry Rub

½ cup water


Generously rub the Southern Barbecue Dry Rub all over the pork roast.

Put a collapsible vegetable steamer in the slow cooker. (If you don’t have a vegetable steamer that will work, wad up some balls of aluminum foil, put them in the bottom of the slow cooker with the roast on top of them.)

Pour ½ cup water in. Put the pork roast on the steamer.

Cook on Low until very tender, 9-10 hours. (It would be hard to overcook the roast on Low; mine cooked for 11 hours and was perfect.)

Remove the roast to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot. Bring to a boil and cook until it reduces into a sauce. Pour over the roast and serve.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2010 7:50 pm

    That barbecue looks fantastic! Really mouthwatering! I’ve always preferred the low-and-slow cooked barbecues. I like it when the meat get pulled easily off the bones, tender yet juicy. I’m really patient with this thing. I can make beef brisket for hours and wouldn’t complain a bit, lol!

    • May 7, 2010 7:53 pm

      Thanks for your comment! The slow cooker is a great way to cook pork or beef with a good barbecue rub.

  2. Byron permalink
    May 7, 2010 8:41 pm

    I’m going to make some this week!

  3. June 25, 2010 4:59 am

    9-10 hours? Never tried that before. The meat not become too tender? Maybe I should give it a try. Thanks for the recipe

    • June 25, 2010 7:41 am

      9 – 10 hours isn’t too long in a slow cooker, Jack. And a pork shoulder roast, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, is best when cooked for a long time at a low temperature. You want a tender result.

  4. September 12, 2010 2:34 pm

    What a fanTAStic blog you have here!! I love cooking and I stumbled upon your blog when I pondered the possibility of a slow cooked, dry rubbed pork shoulder with the help of Google. I am going to make this for our Canadian Thanksgiving as we are planning to head to the West Coast of Vancouver Island and I want something wonderful but that doesn’t need baby sitting (like a turkey does). This way we can enjoy the outdoor pursuits of the coast all day while our wonderful meal slow cooks.

    I’m going to enjoy perusing your past entries and I plan on returning often to see what you’ve posted lately. By the way, that cheese cracker recipe looks amazing! Also, I have a wonderful husband who doesn’t do much cooking but does all the dishes every night too. It’s a pretty sweet deal!

    All the best.

    • September 12, 2010 4:56 pm

      Wow, thanks so much for your kind words, Sherry!

      Your Canadian Thanksgiving on Vancouver Island sounds terrific! (I kind of wish we celebrated Thanksgiving in October like you do in Canada.) I think you’ll enjoy this pork shoulder roast. The rub is really good.

      Husbands who do dishes are awesome, aren’t they? 😉

  5. Wallace permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:09 pm

    I just found this recipe and plan to try it this weekend. Is the roast not covered in water? Are you using the heat from the cooker and moisture from the water to cook it? Thanks!

    • May 6, 2011 4:30 pm

      That’s exactly right, Wallace. I found the method in Rick Rodgers’ The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook. It really worked well. If you don’t have a steamer that fits, you could try wadding up some aluminum foil into balls and placing the roast on them.

      • Barbie permalink
        January 6, 2012 10:48 am

        Oh thank goodness you suggested that part about using foil. I couldn’t find anything to substitute for the steamer! Cooking a 5 lb roast now…might not be ready for tonight, but we’ll eat on it this weekend! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. May 8, 2012 9:35 am

    Amazing recipe LOVED it wrote a review on my blog and linked back to your blog! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • May 8, 2012 6:05 pm

      Thank you, Jessica! This has been one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and for good reason. It is so easy, and so good. Thanks for the link and your comment! 🙂

  7. June 22, 2012 7:17 pm

    I’m going to make this on Sunday for a large event we’re hosting. The problem is, the party starts at 2 p.m. … so I either need to get up in the middle of the night to start the slow cooker, or start it on high and then turn it down?

    Can you offer some advice on whether it would work to start it on high for an hour or two and then how many remaining hours on low? Thanks!

    • June 22, 2012 7:26 pm

      Oh, wow, I’m not really sure. I think you could sub 1 hour on High for 2 hours on Low. Maybe you could start it at 8:00am on High and cook it for 3 hours, and then lower the heat to Low and cook it for another 3 hours. Or you could cook it the day before and then reheat it on Sunday.

      • June 22, 2012 8:23 pm

        I’ve heard the one hour on high to two hours on low thing before, too. I think I’ll try that. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  8. joanne howard permalink
    July 18, 2013 3:02 am

    hi i stumbled across your recipe by mistake and goodness me it looks and sounds amazing, the only problem i have is i dont posess a slow cooker so could i cook this in an oven on a very low tempereture.

    with thanks


    • July 18, 2013 6:35 am

      Hi Joanne,
      You could slow roast it in the oven. I would roast it in a pot with a cover (or use foil to cover it) at 300˚ for 3 – 4 hours, or until the roast is fork-tender. The cover, or foil, is used to keep the roast from drying out too much.


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