Slow Cooked Cider Braised Pork

by Oct 23, 2014


Make ahead meals are a real snap with a slow cooker.  Look for one that has an insert that can go on the stovetop; this way you can brown meat and veggies before starting the actual slow cooking — adding a richness of flavor you just can’t get otherwise.


Pork is one of my favorite meats to slow cook.  My favorite cuts:  pork shoulder and pork sirloin tip roast.  Cut the meat into 2 inch chunks for chile verde, or leave larger and shred after cooking for pulled pork.  I have several posts that can guide you, but really anything goes — brown the meat for best flavor, add veggies or not, 3 cups of braising liquid, then slow cook for 6 hours.  Get creative and explore the flavor possibilities:  sweet and tangy like the cider braise below or homemade apple mustard sauce, sweet and spicy using a bottled BBQ sauce (Korean and Island flavors work great), or spicy Chile Verde.


Slow Cooked Cider Braised Pork

Yield: 8 servings


    The Meat
  • 4 lbs. pork sirloin tip roast or pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • The Veggies
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • The Braising Liquid
  • 12 oz. hard cider or apple cider
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of beer (or substitute additional cider)
  • optional: ¼ cup Olivelle's Smoked Maple Sauce (or other apple or maple grille sauce)


  1. Bring pork to room temperature and dry with paper towels if moist. Cut into 8 chunks.
  2. Mix together the salt, cumin and cinnamon and sprinkle all over the pork.
  3. Heat the oil in a stove-top safe slow cooker insert, or dutch oven, like Le Creuset. Brown the meat on all sides. Take the time to develop a crispy outer layer on the meat, this will add great flavor to your braise. Remove meat to plate, pour off fat from pot and discard.
  4. Add oil to pot and heat over medium-high. Toss in the onion, leek, and carrots, sprinkle with sea salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cider and boil for a minute. Add beer (or cider), optional Smoked Maple Sauce, and reserved meat plus any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours, or use your dutch oven (with lid) on your stovetop (low simmer for 2.5 - 3 hours).
  5. After cooking, remove and discard carrots, as they have given all they have to the sauce. Break apart meat with a wooden spoon and serve with polenta, bread or rolls. This cider braised pork likes a little grainy mustard at serving time -- provides a nice acid contrast to the sweetness.

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