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Italian Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder

April 14, 2019 (Last Updated: August 5, 2020) by Emily

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The most tender and delicious Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder made with fennel seeds, preserved lemon and fresh herbs. This pork could not be easier to make and tastes incredible. Serve it with olive oil potatoes and veggies or on a focaccia sandwich with homemade salsa verde.

Slow cooker pulled pork shoulder on a sandwich

Here it comes, our first ever slow cooker recipe and it’s pretty perfect if I do say so myself. This slow cooker pulled pork shoulder has all the flavours of a classic Italian porchetta but in pulled pork form and it’s seriously delicious!

The best thing about it is that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare and then you set it and forget it. Make this in the morning and it’ll be ready for dinner with literally zero effort involved.

The seasonings

I chose seasonings that I absolutely love in a classic porchetta, fennel, lemon, oregano, thyme and garlic. The herbs are rubbed all over the pork shoulder with a little olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. It’s really important to season with salt to enhance all the delicious flavours.

In Italy, we’d sometimes get preserved lemon in our porchetta sandwiches and they were always my favourite so I added it in here. Be careful though they’re really strong and fragrant so you just need a little and although you can also use fresh lemon I find it too acidic for this recipe.

How to lock in flavour

Ok, so an IMPORTANT step to making the very best slow cooker pulled pork shoulder is to sear the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. Why? because searing locks in a ton of delicious flavour and created the most delicious crust on the outside.

The slow cooker will give you the most beautiful and tender meat on the inside but you really need to sear it on a skillet or frying pan for the best results and it only takes 5 minutes.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder – Step By Step

If your pork shoulder has the fatty skin on make sure to remove it first. Rub all the herbs and salt all over the pork shoulder on all sides (photo 1 & 2).

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan on a high/medium heat. Brown the pork on all sides (roughly 30 seconds each side). Add it to the slow cooker (photos 3 – 5).

Step by step photos showing how to make slow cooker pulled pork Italian style
Two photos showing before and after cooking pulled pork in a slow cooker

Add the wine to the pan to deglaze and scrape any brown bits with a wooden spoon then pour it over the pork in the slow cooker. You won’t need to cook the wine for more than 1 minute in the pan.

Add the peeled, whole garlic cloves to the slow cooker, cover and set on low for 10 hours (photos 6-8).

After 10 hours, turn the slow cooker off remove the pork to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Serve with sides of choice or in sandwiches. 

A close up of pulled pork with salsa verde on a sandwich

Serving suggestions

I love to serve this pulled pork on sandwiches made with homemade rosemary focaccia and salsa verde it’s super simple but one of the best things you’ll ever eat. Another great way to serve this is with roasted potatoes, grilled veggies or with a fresh salad.

P.S If you have leftovers my Leftover Pulled Pork Ragu is super easy and tastes incredible, perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Top tips and recipe FAQs

  • You can easily adapt this recipe with your favorite herbs and spices.
  • Don’t skip the searing of the meat as it locks in a lot of flavour.
What can I use instead of wine?

To make this recipe alcohol free you can replace the wine with chicken stock.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftover meat can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or can be frozen in suitable containers/bag for up to 3 months. If freezing I recommend shredding it first.

More Italian recipes you might like

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5 from 5 votes

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder

The most tender and delicious Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder made with fennel seeds, preserved lemon and fresh herbs. This pork could not be easier to make and tastes incredible. Serve it with olive oil potatoes and veggies or on a focaccia sandwich with homemade salsa verde.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 260kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 2.8 lbs pork shoulder skin removed (1.3kg)
  • 3/4 cup white wine (200ml)
  • 6 garlic cloves whole
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon peel
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp oregano dried
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary fienly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • If your pork shoulder has the fatty skin on make sure to remove it first. Rub all the herbs and salt all over the pork shoulder on all sides.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan on a high/medium heat. Brown the pork on all sides (roughly 30 seconds each side). Add it to the slow cooker.
  • Add the wine to the pan to deglaze and scrape any brown bits with a wooden spoon then pour it over the pork in the slow cooker. You won’t need to cook the wine for more than 1 minute in the pan.
  • Add the peeled, whole garlic cloves and chilli flakes to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  • After 10 hours, turn the slow cooker off remove the pork to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Serve with sides of choice or in sandwiches. *see serving suggestions in notes.

Notes

I love to serve this pulled pork on sandwiches made with homemade rosemary focaccia and salsa verde it’s super simple but one of the best things you’ll ever eat. Another great way to serve this is with roasted potatoes, grilled veggies or with a fresh salad.
  • You can easily adapt this recipe with your favorite herbs and spices.
  • Don’t skip the searing of the meat as it locks in a lot of flavour.
  • Leftover meat can be stored in the fridge or freezer. If freezing I recommend shredding it first.
  • If you don’t want to use wine (although it gives the best flavour) you can use stock.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 2435mg | Potassium: 543mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We’d love you see what you’re getting up to in the kitchen!

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    pat g
    August 2, 2020 at 7:39 am

    i’m planning to use your delicious sounding pork shoulder recipe (and maybe the polenta fries too). for the pork — is 10 hrs on HIGH correct — or is that 10 hours on low? thanks

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      August 2, 2020 at 10:10 am

      Hi Pat, I’m so happy you spotted that it’s definitely 10 hours on low. I’m changing the instructions now, thank you!

  • Reply
    ROSSELLA ZIMBELLO
    September 13, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    I will be making this pulled pork recipe next week! Do you have the recipe for Salsa Verde? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      September 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Rossella, I don’t have a recipe on the site yet but if you google Italian salsa verde you should get a good one. Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Jessica Formicola
    April 15, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    I love your step-by-step shots! I am adding this to my must make dinner list to try very soon!5 stars

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    April 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    This is such a flavorful pork shoulder. My family will love this.5 stars

  • Reply
    Sharon
    April 15, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    I love slow cooker recipe but what I love even more is slow cooker sandwich recipes! This looks so good, the perfect meal for busy nights.5 stars

  • Reply
    Toni
    April 15, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I really can’t wait to try it again! Really delish!5 stars

  • Reply
    Tawnie
    April 15, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    We love pork in our house – can’t wait to make this one!! Thank you!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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