If you need an easy, affordable dinner that will be sure to please a crowd, look no further than this Pork Ragu in the Slow Cooker. Tender shredded pork shoulder sits in a rich tomato sauce that is perfect over pasta or a plate of creamy polenta for the perfect Italian comfort dinner. It takes 6 hours in the crock pot, but only 15 minutes to throw together.
This is a great recipe for a crowd. I put this on in the morning when family visits overnight. When you are feeding a big crowd all day long, it can feel like one meal gets cleaned up and onto the next. I try to plan for lots of easy meals that won’t keep me in the kitchen all day long. This Pork Ragu takes me 15 minutes to throw together in the crock pot, and then I don’t have to think about it again until dinner time.
I’ve tested this recipe a few different ways. I have made it in a dutch oven. I have tried sauteing all of the vegetables and browning the meat first before adding the ingredients to the slow cooker. One morning, I was in a hurry, so I just threw everything into the slow cooker and it turned out perfectly.
I wouldn’t steer you away from steps that added flavor to save a few minutes, because taste is everything. I can assure you, those other steps ended up being a waste of time. I could not tell the difference, so skip the extra steps and just dump everything into the slow cooker and let it cook.
Make this recipe, because...
It’s delicious! The pork shoulder is very tender and practically melts into the rich tomato sauce.
The sauce itself picks up all of the rich fat from the pork and clings to thick pasta perfectly.
Slow Cooker Pork Ragu is easy and budget friendly. You could make it any night of the week and put a large family meal on the table for around $10.
You can prep this recipe for your freezer and have meals ready to cook for all of your busy nights.
Boneless Pork Shoulder- Pork shoulder is super inexpensive and is perfect for slow cooking. Pork Butt is a good alternative. It is also a flavorful and fatty cut of pork that is just right for Ragu.
- Place a 2lb pork roast in the crock pot.
- Then, dump a can of crushed tomatoes over the top. Add diced onions, minced garlic, and spices along with a bouillon cube and a cup of water.
- Set the slow cooker for 6 hours, cover, and try to keep yourself distracted while the amazing aromas fill your house and make your mouth water.
- When the timer goes off, use tongs or a couple of forks to shred the pork and stir it into the braising liquid.
While ragu is great served over pasta it is actually a braised meat dish. It can be made with beef, chicken, lamb, or even wild game. The meat needs to be cooked at a low temperature, in a braising liquid for a long time to give you meat that is falling apart.
Pork shoulder or pork butt are best for making this dish in the crock pot. Pork shoulder has a good amount of fat that will render down into the sauce, and it is mostly free of sinew and cartilage that would be unpleasant to eat.
It is readily available and very inexpensive. You can buy large pieces of pork shoulder with the bone intact or boneless pieces that are ready to place right in the crock pot. If you only find a large piece still on the bone, you can remove the bone and cut the roast into a few large pieces.
You can place all of the ingredients for this Slow Cooker Pork Ragu in a food storage bag and freeze to use later. I recommend leaving the extra water out of the freezer bag and adding to the recipe the day you cook it.
You can also freeze leftover sauce for later use. If you don’t have a big family, this recipe will easily be more than one meal’s worth of Ragu.
Serve this beautiful braised pork over pasta using the juices like a sauce. I would recommend a heavier, thicker pasta like bucatini, rigatoni, or pappardelle. A broader noodle will carry the meat and sauce nicely.
Polenta and risotto are also great options to accompany Pork Ragu. Polenta and Ragu are to Italians what short ribs and mashed potatoes are to Americans.
Add a fresh salad to make the perfect meal!
Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
- 2 lbs Boneless Pork Shoulder pork butt or picnic roast
- 23oz Can Crushed Tomato
- 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube + 1 Cup Water ( Water added when cooking or 1 Cup Chicken Broth)
- 1 Yellow Onion Diced
- 6 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 3 Tablespoons Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
- 2 Tablespoon Granulated Onion
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Basil
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Place pork roast, diced onions, minced garlic, canned tomatoes, bouillon cube, spices, sugar, and water into the slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker for 6 hours. Then put the lid on and leave it along until the timer goes off.
- Once the slow cooker has turned off, use tongs and a fork to pull the pork apart.
- Then stir the pulled pork into the tomato sauce.
- Serve over thick pasta or polenta.
- You can place all of the ingredients for this Slow Cooker Pork Ragu in a food storage bag and freeze to use later. I recommend leaving the extra water out of the freezer bag and adding to the recipe the day you cook it.
- Close and press out air. Place inside an additional freezer bag to prevent leaks. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost before cooking by placing the bag in the fridge the night before.
- Add Defrosted contents plus 1 cup of water to the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours. At the end of the 6 hours, use a fork to shred pork roast into the sauce. Simmer with the lid off for 10 minutes.
- You can also freeze leftover sauce for later use. If you don’t have a big family, this recipe will easily be more than one meal’s worth of Ragu.
- Serve this beautiful braised pork over pasta using the juices like a sauce. I would recommend a heavier, thicker pasta like bucatini, rigatoni, or pappardelle. A broader noodle will carry the meat and sauce nicely.
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