This Slow Cooker South Philly Italian Shredded Pork recipe is juicy, super flavorful (thanks to a quick and delicious spice rub), and very versatile. Best of all, all you need to do is set it and forget it in your crockpot! This slow roasted (in the slow cooker) Italian Pulled Pork recipe is sure to be in heavy rotation for football parties and more! This Italian roast pork sandwich is a must try Philadelphia recipe!JUMP TO RECIPE
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What makes a great Philly Italian Pork Sandwich?
Ok so first and foremost- I know Philly is well renowned for it's cheesesteaks. But have you ever sunk your teeth into our quintessential South Philly Pork? If you haven't, you are missing out, and need to keep reading. If you have, still keep reading for an amazing and super simple South Philly style pork sandwich recipe.
Any great, authentic South Philly Italian Shredded Pork sandwich recipe (like John's Roast Pork) starts with a flavorful and meaty pork shoulder (in this case, Slow cooker pork shoulder, and lots of Italian seasonings. Building the perfect roast pork sandwich requires a few key components as well:
- A great (preferably seeded) long roll.
- Plenty of gooey provolone cheese.
- A healthy helping of either garlic sautéed spinach, or broccoli rabe, depending on your preference.
- A long hot, if you’re feeling adventurous. A long hot is exactly what it sounds like- a long, hot pepper. It's a pickled and spicy delight you place on your sandwich whole, and it not for the faint of heart (or sensitive).
The Italian pork sandwich- a Philadelphia recipe you can make at home
I'm trying to find the words to describe this pork without being disrespectful. All kidding aside, this slow cooker pork shoulder is one of my favorite, easy go-to recipes.
This South Philly Style Italian Shredded Pork Sandwich recipe is the set-it-and-forget-it meal of dreams. Most of the credit can be taken by the magic cut of pork known as the bone-in shoulder.
This is one self-basting, bad-a** cut of meat. Full of marbled fat and flavor, the bone-in pork shoulder is perfect for slow cooking. Go ahead and try and make a dry pork shoulder- I dare you. For this recipe, we're only hoping to bring out the pork's natural flavor. To do this, you won't need much.
5 easy steps for perfect, fall-apart Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Pork
1. Me sure you get a bone-in, shoulder cut of pork. The bone = that much more flavor. Don't try and go the lean route here with a pork loin- it will be dry, and lack flavor. We're going full hog on the fat for this recipe. Trust me, it's worth it.
2. This is a BIG cut of meat- so cut it up if necessary to fit your crockpot. You want all the pork well nestled inside so that it cooked evenly. Large, haphazard chunks are fine- we just want to make sure everyone is in the pool. Place the pork in with the fat caps on top so that the fat bastes the meat as it cooks.
3. Rub the meat- every inch of it. Make sure to fully coat every edge of the meat with your spice rub for maximum favor.
4. Layer your wine, onions, garlic and bay leaves underneath the pork. This will insure that the flavor is well melded, as the pork bastes itself.
5. Wait (patiently?) until the pork is fall-apart tender. After 8 hours on high (that's 1 hour per lb.) The pork is falling right apart when you grab it with your tongs. It's a glorious sight.
Making the Slow Roasted Italian Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot
Ready to make the best slow roasted Italian pulled pork of your life? Here's what you need:
- A big slow cooker. I recommend a 7 quart so you can fit the meat in nicely. If you’re using a smaller crockpot, but the meat down, or scale the recipe back.
- A great spice rub. You’re going to coat every nook and cranny of your big, beautiful pork shoulder with my quick and easy spice rub. The cast of characters? All pantry-staple spices you probably have on hand right now.
- A large, preferably bone-in pork shoulder. The bone will add even more flavor as the pork cooks. If you can’t find one, don’t worry- a boneless pork butt will do just as well.
- Lots of onions and garlic. You’ll lay these under the pork, and they’ll disintegrate as they cook and become part of the delicious juices.
- Some white or red wine. Stay away from anything overly sweet, but use something you would drink. My go-tos are a solid red blend or a Pinot Grigio.
How to serve Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder
Classic Roast Pork Sandwich
The Italian pork sandwich is THEE Philadelphia recipe. Serve it piled high on hoagie/sub rolls with plenty of provolone (or sharp provolone) and fresh sautéed spinach leaves or broccoli rabe. I love serving it like this for parties, as guests can easily serve themselves a great pork sandwich, right from the crockpot.
Open-Faced Fancy Roast Pork Sandwich
Serve as an open-faced sandwich, on toasted baguette or Italian bread that's been spread with fresh or jarred pesto. Top the toasted pesto laden bread with the pork and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Welcome to Flavor Town (if you see Guy Fieri, tell him I said hi).
Over rice, or cauliflower "rice"
Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice) and topped with parmesan. Maybe throw a little sautéed spinach in that rice?
This Italian Pulled Pork Recipe easily lends itself to being served as a flatbread. Pile the pork high on a big piece of fresh or frozen naan bread with plenty of mozzarella, parmesan and a little pesto.
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South Philly Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Pork
- Slow Cooker/Crockpot
- 1 8 lb Bone-in pork shoulder*
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled*
- 1 cup red or white wine (red blend or Pinot Grigio preferred)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- ½ tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute*
- Set Crockpot on High. 2. Place sliced onions, peeled whole garlic cloves, wine and bay leaves into the bottom of crockpot. 3. If pork shoulder does not fit securely into crockpot (I used a 7 quart model for 8 lbs of pork shoulder) cut meat down into pieces to fit. 4. Mix together all dry rub ingredients and rub generously on all sides of the pork. 5. Place the spice-rubbed pork in the crockpot on top of the onions/wine/garlic/bay leaves, put the lid on, and allow to cook 8 hours on high heat. (If using less pork, adjust seasoning and time accordingly- this recipe allows 1 hour of cooking time for each lb of meat). 6. After 8 hours, remove pork (it will be in pieces/falling apart) with tongs to a large cutting board. 7. Skim fat from top of juices in crockpot. Reserve the juices in the crockpot! We will be putting the pork back into it. 8. Shred pork between 2 forks and transfer back to crockpot with the juices, discarding any excess fat and all the bones. 9. Stir juices and shredded pork to combine, and turn crockpot to warm. Serve hot!
If using less than 8 lbs of pork shoulder, adjust cooking time accordingly. This recipe calls for 1 hour on high per lb of meat. The spice rub is also meant for 8 lbs of meat, so pair that down as well if you do less meat.
Hate peeling garlic? Separate the full bulb of garlic into individual cloves and microwave on high 10 seconds! After the quick trip in the microwave, the skins will peel right off!
If you don't have Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, you could omit it and this recipe would still be delicious!
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