Using a slow cooker is a convenient way to prepare full meals if you are going to be out for most of the day. Slow cookers are good for casseroles, soups, stews or for bigger pieces of meat like roast beef or a pork roast. A pork roast is usually cut from the shoulder or loin area of the pig. Slow cooker pork roast cooking time varies depending on the size of the roast and setting you use on your slow cooker.
Before you place your pork roast in the slow cooker, it is a good idea to do some prep work so you get the most flavorful result possible. To seal the juices in the meat and help make the roast as moist as possible, brown the outside first. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Let the pork roast sizzle away on each side for a couple minutes, until a golden brown crust forms on the outside. Browning won’t alter your final cooking time.
Cooking pork until it is completely cooked through is important to avoid bacteria. The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees for safety. Different models of slow cookers may vary as far as cook times go, but a 3-lb. roast at a low slow cooker setting generally takes between 10 and 12 hours. Cooking a pork roast on low ensures it stays moist and won’t dry out. If you don’t have that much time, increase the heat setting to medium and reduce the cooking time, or choose a lighter roast so it will be done sooner. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast to find the internal temperature.
Adding fresh herbs to your pork roast will enhance the flavor of the pork and any sauces or gravy you make. Toss in a couple sage leaves, sprigs of time or rosemary or a couple bay leaves to add flavor to the meat as it cooks. Retrieve the herbs and discard them before you serve the roast. Tying them all together with kitchen twine will make fishing them out less of a challenge.
Since your roast is going to cook for such a long time, adding liquid to the slow cooker will help to tenderize the meat and keep it moist. Adding water up to the top of the roast, plus a variety of cut up vegetables, will make a flavorful broth that you can turn into a gravy at the end. Carrots, potatoes, leeks and onions make good additions. You can also marinade the roast inside the inner shell of your slow cooker overnight in your refrigerator for even more flavor and tenderness. Any favorite marinade works, but don't brown the outside before starting the slow cooker or you may burn the marinade on the outside.