Figuring out how long to cook pork roast in a crock pot can be a tough one especially if you are using the pot for the first time.
This article would give you a general overview of the duration of time needed to cook pork roast in a crock pot and throw in some tips for other food items as well.
We believe that if you get a hang of these basics, you’d be able to easily follow any pork roast recipe.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to be armed with information on how to clean the crock pot . So head over here to read our article on how to clean a crock pot.
The Basics Of Cooking Pork Roast In A Crock Pot
Settings and Timing
Many crock pots have only two settings which are the high and low settings. Most recipes for crock pots call for low setting because food cooks better when set on gentle heat over a long time.
Sometimes you may want to prepare a crock pot recipe but don’t have enough prep time; at the point you can resort to using the high setting.
When choosing these settings, bear in mind that there are several factors that affect how long a food item would/should cook. These factors include the following:-
- Fat content of the meat used.
- Density of the meat.
- Liquid content
- Type of vegetables used and the size.
- Overall quantity of the food
So considering all the above, whatever cooking time recommended is only an approximate guide. You would still have to try out different timings and settings with your own crock pot .
Going From “High” Setting to “Low”
Although the difference between both settings may differ from pot to pot, one point of consistency is this: on the low setting, it takes food at least 7 to 8 hours to reach boiling pot whereas it takes half of that time on high.
An approximate way of going from “high” setting to “low” or in reverse is to divide or multiply the initial time by 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours.
Food Would Cook As They Are Layered
One important fact to note is that since the heating element of most crock pots is underneath, the food at the bottom would cook faster. To this end, it is important to layer the food in order of their density and how long they require to cook.
So for pork roast recipes, it goes without saying that the meat would be at the bottom of the pot then you can layer on other ingredients.
Factors To Bear In Mind When Cooking Pork Roast In A Crock Pot
There are several factors to consider when you set out to cook pork roast in a crock pot . These factors include the following:-
Setting Of The Pot In Relation To The Cooking Time
Most crock pot pork roast recipes call for low setting. This lower temperature allows the meat to cook for long and soften as the fat melts off. It would take a 3 to 4-pound pork roast would take about 8 hours to cook on low and a little over 5 hours to cook on high.
Type of Cut of Meat
The best type of roast to cook in a crock pot is the tough and fatty roasts. These types of cut get more tender the longer they cook whereas the leaner cuts of meat would dry out.
The boneless variety of meat would also takes less time to cook than the cut with bone. This is because the bone takes up more time to heat than the meat on it.
Trim Your Pork Roast
Most newbies make the mistake of not trimming the fat out of their pork roast. The best pork roast recipes are those are made with meat that the fat has been trimmed off from.
After trimming the cut of meat, tie it. This may appear to be too much work for you; if so, ask your butcher to trim and tie the meat for you.
Season The Meat Properly
Because pork roast is thick with deep layers, you need to season it properly or else the interior would come out flavorless.
The best way to ensure that the seasoning permeates every part of the meat is to rub in generous quantities of whatever seasoning you choose to use. Then place the meat in a Ziploc bag and leave in overnight in the fridge.
If you are pressed for time and can not marinate the meat overnight, then let is sit for no less than half an hour.
Shape and Size of The Roast
We would all agree that it makes sense to know that a larger cut of meat would take more time to cook. However, it is important to note that it is not only the weight of the meat that matters. The shape of the meat can also affect how long it would need to cook.
A cut of meat that flat and wide would cook faster than the cut of meat of the same weight that is almost round shaped. This is because heat would pass faster to the center of the flat and wide meat cut than the round one.
The heat would need to pass through a thicker mass of meat to reach the center of the round shaped meat. This would definitely elongate the cooking time.
How Full You Pack Your Crock Pot
We all know that the standard thing is to add some veggies and roots to port roast. But if you are not careful, you would fill the pot beyond its capacity. And when you do, this would make the pork roast stay longer than the recipe calls for.
Therefore for this reason, you should check out the maximum capacity recommended by the manufacturer. Experts advise that you should not really hit that maximum capacity; they advise to stay between the minimum capacity and the maximum. Not reaching the maximum and not going below the minimum. That way, you would get a perfectly cooked pork roast.
If you are always cooking large crock pot recipes then consider buying the large size so that you would not have to over stuff your pot.
The Type And Quantity Of Liquid You Start Out With
Some people think that since you require some liquid for food that cannot generate juice by themselves, you can start out cooking in a crock pot with every kind of liquid.
Not so, the best liquids to use in place of water include : broth, wine or other liqueur. Liquids such as milk are a No! No!
That being said however, the slow cooker does not require as much water or liquid as your regular cookware. so always remember: less water/liquid than regular.
Do Not Add Diary Products Too Early Into The Cooking Time
Following from the point we made earlier about milk, always remember that you do not add dairy products at the beginning of your cooking time.
Always leave it till the ending of the cooking time. If you add dairy products early, they’ll curdle and make a mess of your recipe.
Stick To The Quantity Of Wine or Liqueur Stipulated In The Recipe
When you cook with your regular pot on the stovetop, alcohol or wine would boil down and reduce leaving the food with a subtle hint of the liqueur used. That however, is not the case with a slow cooker or crock pot.
Since the wine or liqueur you add to a crock pot recipe does not boil down, you need to be careful. The best way to save yourself the heartache of having a pork roast dinner with an overwhelming taste of liqueur is to adhere strictly to what is called for in the recipe.
Another method is using the liqueur called for in your recipe to deglaze the pan you used to sear the pork roast. Then you add it to the ingredients.
Peeking Into The Pot While Cooking
You might be tempted to peek into your pot to check out what’s cooking. But this is not a good move. This is because every time you open the lid of the pot, you are letting out heat and steam which in turn lowers the temperature while increasing the cooking time.
Experts say that you add as much as 20 minutes or more to the cooking time. So set the cooking time and go do something else!
Design of The Pot
The design of the cover of your crock pot can impact on how long the pork roast would cook. The tighter the lid, the more steam and heat is locked in. crock pots that have rubber seal around the cover do better at locking in steam and heat. Your pork roast would cook faster in such a pot.
Always Use A Food/Kitchen Thermometer
If you are really serious about preparing excellent pork roast recipes at all times, then you need a kitchen thermometer. This would ensure that you cook your meat to the right temperature.
Remember that since some cuts of meat would be thicker than the other, they would not all get cooked at the same time. That’s where the thermometer comes in for you to check and be sure.
Expert Tips On How To Cook Pork Roast With Your Slow Cooker
Since crock pot is a brand of slow cooker, many people use the term crock pot and slow cooker interchangeably. For this reason, most tips that you see for slow cookers would work for crock pots.
So the following are some expert tips to follow for cooking your pork roast in a crock pot. Some of these tips would also come in handy for other meat or food items.
- Seeing that there are many brands of slow cookers out there, it only makes good sense that you read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the appliance and for whatever you want to make.
- It’s best to start out with meat that’s been thawed out or fresh meat as against frozen. This is because frozen meat would increase the time it would take for the pot to build up pressure and this would make the meat stay longer than the safe time recommended.
- Start out the cooking of your meat on high. Leave it there for about an hour then turn it to low for the remaining cooking time.
- Your crock pot requires liquid to build up the steam and pressure that would cook the food. So never cook any food item in a crock pot without at least one cup of liquid. Some people however argue that some food would produce juice/liquid on their own but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
- Cut your meat into chunks instead of large cuts.
- Always ensure that your food reaches and internal temperature of 160°F.
You can determine that your pork roast is done by checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The acceptably safe temperature is between 145°F and 160°F. Another way that you can ascertain that your pork roast is done is when the meat fall apart
One sure way of knowing the duration to cook pork roast in a crock pot is to try out different recipes.
Just throw the ingredients into the crock pot, set it and go about your daily business. It is safe to leave your crock pot and go to work. All you have to do is follow all the safety guide in your user manual.
Finally, we would drop the accompanying video just to give you a visual of some of what we have discussed in this piece.