Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Zesty Basil Sauce

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Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes


This meltingly tender pork shoulder is the ultimate make-ahead dinner party main. A chimichurri-style fresh basil sauce balances the rich pork with bright zesty flavors.


8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons whole grain mustard

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons oregano leaves, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 skinless, boneless pork shoulder roast, tied (Boston butt; about 6 pounds)

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 cups basil leaves, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup oregano leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

A (4-quart) slow cooker


Cook the pork: Mix garlic, oil, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika in a small bowl to form a paste. Rub all over pork, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag or slow cooker insert and chill overnight.

Place pork in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low until meat is fork-tender but not yet completely falling apart, 7 1/2–8 hours.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Mix shallot, basil, oil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt in an airtight container. Cover and let rest up to 3 hours at temperature or up to 2 days in refrigerator. Stir in lemon juice just before using.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice and transfer to a platter. Drizzle with sauce and serve with additional sauce alongside.

Pork can be rubbed 2 days ahead; chill in an airtight container. Sauce, without lemon juice, can be made 2 days ahead; chill in an airtight container.


Both the rub and the sauce can be made in a food processor if desired. To make the pork in the oven, cook at 300°F in a covered Dutch oven, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of pork registers 145°F (meat will be very tender but not quite falling off the bone), 6–7 hours. If you’re using a larger slow cooker, flip roast at least once and baste occasionally to keep it moist.