Crock pot cooking time for 5 lb bone-in pork shoulder?

I have a 5 lb bone-in pork shoulder that I want to use for pulled pork tacos. I put it in the crock pot at noon & need for it to be done around 6. Is 6 hours on high enough time? Also, do I need to put any liquid in the crock pot with it? (I rubbed it with spices and topped with garlic and onions.)

Hollie O'Connor


Susan W. October 29, 2016
Definitely don't add liquid. It simply isn't needed or desirable for roasts in a slow cooker.
pierino October 29, 2016
But if you want the meat falling off that bone as in pulled pork....
Also that liquid can be strained and turned into a flavorful sauce..
Susan W. October 29, 2016
Pierino, adding no liquid doesn't prevent falling off the bone. Slow cookers create their own liquid and when making pulled pork, you end up with the perfect amount of liquid to moisten the meat. I promise.
Hollie O. October 31, 2016
I didn't add any liquid and ended up with about 2 - 2.5 inches of liquid in the bottom of my slow cooker by the end of 6 hours. The meat was really tender and cooked through! However, even though I rubbed it with a generous amount of spices and salt, they seemed to have disappeared by the time the pork was done. I seasoned the shredded pork again and poured some salsa into it to bring it back to life. All and all, everyone ate and complimented the tacos, so I'd say it was a success!
Susan W. October 31, 2016
Hollis, that's great news. Because pork shoulders are so dense with meat, you really need to lay it on thick. Not too thick with the salt or you won't be able to use the juice. The dripping of condensation also washes some off the spices off. Glad it turned out well and thanks for reporting back!
Susan W. October 29, 2016
No need to add liquid. The slow cooker and roast will create its own. You could scatter some onions if you have some, but not necessary. Six hours may not be enough time. I always cook roasts on low. The last pork shoulder I did took 14 hours on low. That would probably translate to 7-9 on high. All slow cookers cook at different temperatures, so it's difficult to say how yours will perform.

Here's one of my favorite pork shoulder recipes to give you some guidelines. You may need to take it out of the slow cooker, cut it into chunks and finish braising it on your stovetop.
Hollie O. October 29, 2016
Thanks so much!
lilroseglow October 29, 2016
I think you'd want very little added liquid because the pork will give off a lot on it's own. As for cooking time, it really depends on a number of unknown variables - your crock pot, shape of the meat, size of the bone. Generally, a high setting is about 250 degrees. I think 6 hours at 250 is a minimum if you want to have fall apart tender meat in which the collagen has broken down and fat has melted. I usually cook my pork shoulder overnight in the oven at about 250, so 8-9 hours. On the positive side, pork shoulder is a pretty forgiving cut of meat and its hard to mess up.
Hollie O. October 29, 2016
Thanks! I don't think I'll add liquid afterall. I could maybe cook the meat an additional hour. We'll see where it's at around 6....
pierino October 29, 2016
Yes you will need liquid, maybe two cups. What you are really doing is a braise. After that it depends on your slow cooker. 6 hours should be enough even on a lower setting.
Hollie O. October 29, 2016
I have water, beef broth, and lime juice... Will any of those work?
Wrwhitworth February 11, 2020
Hollie, I’m not sure why pierino is so desperately holding onto his liquid theory. Please believe every single other person who has responded, as well as my 30 years in the culinary industry, when we say that you don’t need to add liquid to a pork roast in a slow cooker. Honest. Season the roast heavily, avoid excessive salt, cover and leave alone for as many hours as possible: you’ll have a fantastic, moist roast. Just don’t remove the lid until you think you’re done.
Wrwhitworth February 11, 2020
No. You don’t. You braise a tough cut of meat, to break down the collagen. A pork shoulder is not a very tough cut of meat, and doesn’t require the same braising technique that you would use for beef, or another, tougher cut. Try it once without liquid. You may be pleasantly surprised....
Recommended by Food52