Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder With Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glaze

November 9, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: I've taken the uber-popular Crock-Pot Brown Sugar & Balsamic–Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe and repurposed it with boneless pork shoulder, which gets super tender when slow-cooked like this. In addition to making the recipe totally hands-off, the slow cooker is also an insurance policy against the tenderloin drying out—exactly what you need as you're running about the house, taking care of the other important things before the guests arrive (cleaning, bathing the dog, putting away laundry under the bed, if you're me).Eric Kim

Food52 Review: Featured in: Dinner for 20—for Under $100? It Can Be Done.The Editors

Serves: 8 to 10
Cook time: 5 hrs


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder (boneless pork butt)
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
In This Recipe


  1. Put the pork shoulder, garlic, sage, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and water into a slow cooker and smoosh around with your hands. Cook on High for 4 hours.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, mustard powder, and cornstarch. Add to the slow cooker and cook for another hour.
  3. Carve pork against the grain into individual portions and serve with roasted carrots or white rice.

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Reviews (3) Questions (1)

3 Reviews

Mary November 14, 2018
Delicious! cooked a 3.5lb shoulder, kept all other measurements basically the same although I did reduce sauce amounts by a bit. Reduced the brown sugar by half and did not have enough balsamic vinegar so substituted some chianti vinegar. Everyone loved it. However, I would say this amount of meat would feed 4 generously, not the 8 suggested in the recipe. Roasted onions, white sweet potatoes and carrots to accompany the meat and sauce. Will definitely do again.
FrugalCat November 13, 2018
I cooked carrots in the slow cooker along with the pork (add during the last hour or so). They soak up all that sauce and are fantastic. I served this over mashed potatoes.
Author Comment
Eric K. November 14, 2018
Oof, lovely idea.