Crispy Cracklin’ Pork Shoulder (Slow Cooker & Oven)

A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin’ skin layer. This recipe came about as a result of a friend asking a question about the Hawaiian Luau Slow Cooker Pork when she saw my Instagram post. She asked whether or not the skin got crispy at the end of the cooking process. I let her know you actually end up scraping the fat off and discarding it and that got me thinking about making a version with a crispy skin. One of our favorite (never made it at home but I have dreams of making it) pork dishes is porchetta. To make a crispy skinned pork at home seemed elusive. Not anymore! Take a quick look at this shatteringly crisp pork skin!

So I sat there thinking about the best and easiest way to make this dish. In a delicious moment of serendipity I saw this ad. A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

Uhm, yes please! AND NOW! I hopped in the car, and drove straight to the store at 9 o’clock at night just to buy it.

Then the worst thing happened. The photos I took of most of the cooking process were corrupted. I almost cried when it happened, and then I promptly ordered a new SD card on Amazon to make myself feel better. I have instructions for you, which are pretty easy to follow, and some final photos.

The instructions are really pretty simple. Start like you do in the Hawaiian Luau Slow Cooker Pork. Season the pork liberally with salt and put in a slow cooker skin side up. Put on low for 18 hours. Using a measuring cup or ladle,  scoop out the excess liquid and reserve. Now if you aren’t too hungry, I would let the pork cool for 10-15 minutes just to help it stay together more. Using a couple of large spatulas, gently lift the pork into a foil pan. Do your best to not break it apart while moving it.

This is the part I wish I could show you in photos. Don’t worry I will be making this again in the next few months and when I do I will update this post! We just have a LOT of pork in the fridge right now, I can’t make a third one in less than a week!

Once the pork is in the pan, you are going to peel the skin back and scoop out the unrendered fat. Using a small spoon just scrape from the underside of the skin until a thin layer of skin is left. Season the meat under the skin with more kosher salt. Fold the skin back over the pork and discard all the fat. Spoon off the fat off the reserved liquid and pour it into the foil pan.

Turn on your broiler on high. Put the pork in on the top shelf and watch it like a hawk. Mine went in literally five seconds longer than I wanted which is why I have a few dark spots. It was a split second decision between pull the pork out or grab my infant away from chewing on a power cord that was dangerously close by. Sorry pork, but not sorry.

You’ll see the skin start puffing up and browning. Take it out when you get to a nice golden brown color, you can even wait until you see the first hint of a dark spot. A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

 Want to see what the pork looks like under the skin? Ok! A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer. Want to see how thin the skin actually is? Ok! A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.
It is basically thin enough to be almost see through and lifts up as a sheet it is so crisp!A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer. Now take a portion of pork and a section of the skin and serve with some delicious Easy Light Coconut Rice and some simple green veggies and enjoy! Even better, serve it with your favorite sauce, like a delicious Argentinian Chimichurri and it will be a porchetta-esque meal! Oh man, now I need to make porchetta. A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

Tools Used in the making of these Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken Thighs:
Slow Cooker: Love this slow cooker and how programmable it is, it has been a workhorse for me… until…
My New Slow Cooker: For larger roasts I also brown the meat in the insert and not lose a bunch of the flavor by transferring the meat and leaving the browned bits behind. If you’re thinking of a new slow cooker, consider it if your budget is open.

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Crispy Cracklin' Pork Picnic Shoulder (Slow Cooker & Oven)

A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.
Yield 20 servings
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 18 hours
Total Time 18 hours 1 minute
Course Main
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 10 pound Pork Picnic Shoulder (You are looking for skin and bone here, it will look like an arm joint)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

Instructions

  • Season the pork liberally with salt.
  • Put in a slow cooker skin side up.
  • Put on low for 18 hours.
  • Scoop out the excess liquid and reserve.
  • Put the pork into a foil pan.
  • Do your best to not break it apart while moving it.
  • Once the pork is in the pan, you are going to peel the skin back and scoop out the unrendered fat.
  • Using a small spoon just scrape from the underside of the skin until a thin layer of skin is left.
  • Season the meat with more kosher salt.
  • Fold the skin back over the pork and discard all the fat.
  • Spoon off the fat off the reserved liquid and pour it into the foil pan.
  • Turn on your broiler on high.
  • Put the pork in on the top shelf and watch it like a hawk.
  • Mine went in literally five seconds longer than I wanted which is why I have a few dark spots.
  • You'll see the skin start puffing up and browning.
  • Take it out when you get to a nice golden brown color, you can even wait until you see the first hint of a dark spot.
  • Serve with your favorite sauce, but I recommend Chimichurri

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcal | Protein: 27g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 802mg | Potassium: 471mg | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Keyword: Crispy Cracklin' Pork Shoulder (Slow Cooker & Oven)
A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

A foolproof EASY slow cooker and oven method for a shatteringly crisp Pork picnic shoulder that is pull apart tender on the inside with a thin crisp cracklin' skin layer.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Hi. My name is Bina. I’ve commented in the past at what a great recipe this is, as well as so many recipes on your site. I plan on making this again and was wondering if I can add the additional pork skin I bought (to make extra crackling) in with the pork roast when it’s cooking and then take it out and broil it when I do the pork under the broiler at the same time. Do I make sense : )

    1. I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      Some people use pork belly to roll and make into a kind of a porchetta wrapped around a loin. Are you referring to this? Like a whole pork belly? How thick is the skin?

    1. Correct. The shoulder will release liquid as it breaks down and cooks while in the slow cooker. I hope you decide to give it a try.

  2. This recipe is so easy and the pork turned out delicious. I had a 9lb shoulder with skiing and 18 hours was perfect. I actually miscalculated ? and ended up having to keep the pork warm in the slow cooker for several hours, then put into the oven to broil the crackling which also turned out delicious! I did add the juice that came out of the pork in the slow cooker with the fat separated out, back into the pork as it did need a little moisture. I served the pork in wraps with coleslaw and chimichurri and Char sui sauces as options for the guests …huge hit with everyone. Would definitely make again. Produced a lot of meat…there’s never enough crackling! ??

  3. So I had about a 3.77 lb pork picnic shoulder. I did put a spice rub on mine. It did come out perfect didn’t even have to crisp the skin under broiler it was already crispy.The only comment I have is that it is a bit dry in certain areas. I will be making a carnitas sort of juice mix to pour over it and let it soak in that before reheating for dinner. Wish there was a way to post a picture don’t see a way to do it on this site.

    1. Hi Sabrina. Thank you for your response. I did not have time to reply earlier but I wanted you to know it all worked out. This recipe is so good my husband even told his brothers in Italy about it. You really do have a great website!

  4. This looks amazing! Am I reading correctly that the pork goes into the slow cooker with no liquid at all?

  5. My comment is long over due; I need to say I’ve made his several times and it is fantastic. I’ve also made slits in the meat and stuffed it with cloves of garlic and chopped rosemary infused in oil. My husband says it’s as good as the porcetta we used to buy at our favorite take-out place in Italy. When picking out a pork shoulder I look for one with a lot of skin because everyone is looking for he cracklin. I find that if some of the skin doesn’t cook enough even after you broil it, you can remove the skin and stick it under the broiler another minute or so, in one of those low tin cake pans and it crunches up nicely. After finding this recipe I will never waste time cooking it in the oven for hours.

      1. What I haven’t seen in your crispy pork recipe or other comments In this blog is the oven temperature- is it 150, 160 or what in centigrade pls.

  6. Got it cooking away and the house smells divine!! Only thing I did different is I placed a large onion cut into thick rings and about 20 cloves of garlic to act as a bed for the pork shoulder and for the aromatics. I plan on using the drippings with the onions and garlic as a gravy.

  7. I was wondering if that 18 hours of cooking time on low is correct?? I use my slow cooker a lot and I have never cooked anything for that long…if it’s right, then it’s on!! This looks amazing and I’m making tomorrow or tonight depending on the 18 hours lol

  8. I really want to try this recipe, but cooking it in a slow cooker for 18 hours baffles me! We like to eat dinner around 6:30 pm. How would you arrange the cooking time to coincide with our dinnertime without reheating the meat the next day? We like to eat freshly cooked food! Anyone have experiences they’d like to share?? Thanks! 

    1. You can start it the day before in the late morning and it’ll be ready for dinner the next day. 🙂

  9. This recipe looks awesome. Found it as I was looking at your corn beef which also looks great. I have a 5lb. 1/2 shoulder roast with skin. Can I cook it on high and if so how many hours. Thank you.

    1. You really need this cooked on low, that’s where the magic comes in. 🙂 I haven’t tested making one that size but I would recommend cooking it on low for 12-14 hours.

    1. I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking but my suggestion is to get a disposable sheet pan to finish broiling it in the oven. Your slow cooker insert isn’t able to take that high of a temperature.

  10. I have a 5.5 pound pork shoulder blade in the crock pot. I wanted to try your Crispy Cracklin Pork Picnic Shoulder recipe, but couldn’t find the picnic cut. Will this recipe work with the shoulder blade cut? How long should I let it cook in the crock pot?

    1. Does it have the skin on? Or just fat? To get the top to turn out the same it has to have the skin on and I would cook it as described in the recipe 🙂

  11. Help! The narrative says 18 hours but then the review at the bottom of the page, in the square, it says total cook time is 10 hours… I don’t want to mess this beauty up, help!

  12. Thanks for the recipe, I of course took my eye off but even with the little black it tasted amazing! Wish I new how to share a pic cause it was just gorgeous!! Deff going in the save pile! Thanks again!

  13. Here on Puerto Rico we cook the pork shoulder in the over. We cover the pork and in the last 30 minutes uncover the pork for the crispy skin too. We use a seasoning mix called Adobo and give a nice taste to the pork.

    1. Yum! I love adobo seasoning too! I sometimes shred the pork, squeeze a bit of lemon and orange on it, and cook it in my cast iron skillet with cumin, cayenne, salt and oregano for a sort of carnitas pork flavor but with much less effort. 🙂

  14. I seriously want to try this! I needed more ideas to cook with Pork and this will top that list! We are a big pork family!

  15. Ohhh, I bet that cracklin’ tastes amazing. What a great dish. Bookmarking to make later!

    1. Yeah… it was so good it was wrong. I had daydreams about making it again and hoarding it for myself.

  16. Mmmm your crispy pork shoulder sounds so delicious! I think I’ve gotta save this recipe and try it for myself–pinning! Thanks 🙂

  17. That looks delicious! I think I will have to make this for dinner soon! I am sure my family will love it.

  18. This sounds delicious! I don’t think I have had pork like this before. Would be a great dinner for school nights!

  19. Wow that is the perfect amount of crispiness! I’d love to try making it like this! These pictures are making me hungry.

  20. Ok we love you haha. I have done crispy but not like this and I cannot wait to try it. I live using my pressure cooker and slow cooker and this sounds so good. In fact my better half walked behind me while I was reading this and went ohhhh that looks awesome do they live close LOL silly man 🙂 will let you know how it comes out 🙂 Great job 🙂

    1. Hahaha thanks for the love! You have to tell me how you like it. I wish the photos of the scraping didn’t get corrupted. Just be sure to scrape as much fat out as you can. It should be REALLY easy to scrape off. Be sure to watch it under the broiler, not only for catching it before it burns but also because watching is semi-puff up like popcorn is SO COOL.

  21. This looks like a delicious recipe. I love using my slow cooker. I am going to try this on the weekend.

  22. Love me some pernil (pork shoulder)! I’m Puerto Rican so we usually make these for special occasions – holidays, birthdays. I look forward to it every year. I did make one recently in the crockpot and it was amazingly tender and juicy. Deliciousness!

  23. OH EM GEE I am drooling! I am one of those people who likes chicken skin best–this looks like my idea of heaven!

    1. HAHAHA you just reminded me of a Friends episode (I can recite them all) where Joey is walking around with a bucket of fried chicken after being accused of leering at Monica and says “I think we’ve all learned a lesson about who’s disgusting and who is not. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my bucket. I’m only eating the skins, so the chicken’s up for grabs.” If I could’ve I would’ve eaten the entire crispy topping but my husband was watching it like a hawk while I served it up.

  24. I absolutely have to try this!! My husband regularly smokes our pork shoulder, but I may make him try this version just for the crispy cracklings! Yum, yum, yum!

  25. This is my kind of food – delicious and easy to make. I am addicted to slow cooker recipes, because they are the easiest

  26. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious. So it is made in the slow cooker than crisped up in the oven? Love this idea 🙂

    1. Yup, slow cooker, then scrape out the unrendered fat under the skin and under the broiler! IT WAS SO GOOD!!

  27. This sounds yummy! I’m always looking for something different to try for dinner, and this looks perfect.

  28. Oh YUM! That looks amazing. We don’t eat much pork but this sounds like something I have to make one night!

  29. Oooh, how very crackly! I see what you mean! A chimichurri sauce sounds delicious with this.

    1. Isn’t that crazy!? when I cracked it the first time plating it I thought, “ok this needs video accompaniment!” so I set up a youtube channel just for this video, haha.

  30. This looks really yummy. I love making things I can just stick in the crock pot and have it ready in time for dinner.

  31. This is amazing! I know a lot of people use pork shoulder for pulled pork, but like you, I like cooking mine as an actual meal in the slow cooker. Such a nice crisp!

    1. Thanks Kacey! We love it as pulled pork but far more often I make it for a main course, not just sandwiches.

  32. I love using my slow cooker during the school year. This would be a welcome change from our typical chili, or beef stew.