This is autumn in a crockpot.
You know how I know that?
Because it’s autumn… and I went right outside and harvested the sage from my herb garden. We picked the apples from our tree and the onions from our garden just a couple weeks ago!
And because when I walked into the house and was hit with the smell of herby, apple-y, slow-braised meat, I knew we had catapulted out of salad season and right into cooked-all-day-soups-on-season!
I always hate to see summer come to an end, because it definitely feels like an “end” of something- end of production, end of projects, the end of progress.
But I love the harvest season too- gathering and putting away many of the things we worked so hard to produce all year is an almost indescribable feeling.
And I love sweaters.
And sippin’ warm homemade cider.
And feeling cozy.
And slow-cooked meats.
And feeling cozy while I eat slow-cooked meats.
We’ll be putting this one on repeat for the next couple months as the cold weather rolls in. This time of year we’ve always got a mason jar full of cider around, plus the whole lower half of the fridge is filled with apples! Fall is another busy season for us (I’m sure it is for you too!) so I love that this takes less than 10 minutes to throw together (and literally like 2 minutes if you don’t brown the pork).
But please, brown the pork. If I could give you one tip about making a slow cooker meal that tastes incredible, it is to always, always sear the meat before you put it in- it really makes a world of difference.
Apple, Onion & Sage Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker Recipe)
3-4 pound pork shoulder roast
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp cooking fat of choice – I like pastured lard
1 large onion, sliced
2 medium-large apples, sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
1 cup apple cider or juice
Trim as much excess fat from the shoulder roast as you can- just the big thick chunks, you don’t have to get every speck. I find that when cooking a shoulder roast in the slow cooker, it doesn’t need the fat for moisture (as compared to say, smoking it). If there is too much rendered fat, the meat and vegetables that were roasted with it will seem greasy.
Liberally season all sides of the roast with salt (about 2 tsp) and pepper (about 1/2 tsp), and then coat the side that has the fat with a small amount of cooking fat of choice. Preheat a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and carefully place the roast, fat and oil side down in the pan. Let it sear for 3-5 minutes, or until it is browned on the bottom. Using a tongs, flip the roast over and sear the other side for another 3-5 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the slow cooker: place into the bottom of the slow cooker: apple cider, onion and apple slices, and sage leaves.
When the roast is beautifully browned on both sides, place it on the bed of goodness in the slow cooker. Set the cooker on high and cook for approximately five hours, or until the pork roast is fall apart tender (you can tell this by using the tongs to pull it apart- if it easily comes apart, it’s done!).
Serve a piece of the pulled pork with a big pile of the cooked apples and onions on top.
This is great served with brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes… or Basil Butter Roasted Potatoes!
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