Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder with Fennel & Sage

My Kind of Sunday Roast 

slow cooker pork shoulder paleo

Pulled Pork with Fennel & Sage / Crispy Pork Crackling

A perfect joint of pork from the farmers market marinated in herbs and cooked slowly overnight in the slow cooker, crispy crackling to boot and all accompanied by a colourful array of nutrient dense veg.  This may not be your traditional meat, 2 veg, gravy and Yorkie pud combo but it’s my favourite way of cooking a Sunday roast – simply because there is absolutely no way you can get this wrong.

The idea for the flavours in this marinade came from the Italian Pork dish ‘Porchetta’ – a pork joint rolled with herbs such as sage, rosemary and dried fennel seeds.  Porchetta is usually roasted in the oven, then served up in slices – but since I love the simplicity of slow cooker pulled pork I went with that instead.  It would have been a crime not to get some pork crackling too so I finished the fat off in the oven till it turned beautifully crispy.  It didn’t last long on the table (in fact it barely made it to the lunch table).

Entirely different from my last pulled pork which was coated in a Mexican marinade.

pork marinade paleo slow cooker

Fennel & Sage Pork Shoulder Marinade

This was my Easter Sunday roast cooked up for my family (naturally I volunteered my services) in my Sister’s house – 15 miles from where I live.  Since we wanted to eat at lunchtime the only way to get the slow cooked meat done was to cook over night in my new kitchen and take it with me in a cool bag. I was a little sceptical that the meat would loose its flavour and tenderness on the rail replacement bus journey (I don’t have a car), but thankfully having kept and brought along the meat juices to reinvigorate it – after 30 mins in the oven with the juices warmed up on arrival we were just fine.

Paleo pulled pork shoulder fennel and sage

‘Porchetta’ Fennel & Sage Pulled Pork & Colourful Veg

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the pork:

  • Meat marinade: 3 Tablespoons fennel seeds, 20 fresh sage leaves finely sliced, Tablespoon fresh rosemary finely sliced, pinch Celtic salt, 2 Tablespoons garlic infused olive oil (or use standard olive oil and mix a couple of cloves of crushed garlic in the marinade)
  • 1kg Free-range Pork Shoulder 

For the veg:

  • Roasted sweet potato & Sage: 2 huge sweet potatoes, handful fresh sage leaves, olive oil, salt, 4 bashed garlic cloves.
  • Roasted yellow carrot and courgette: 4 medium yellow carrots & 2 large courgettes cut into chips, olive oil, dried oregano, salt.
  • Creamed Kale:  Large bag of mixed organic kale shredded, butter, olive oil, dollop of unpasteurised cream.


  • In a pestle and mortar bash the fennel seeds, sage, rosemary and salt to release all the flavours.  Keep going till the fennel is turning powdery (you could do this in a food processor).  Add the olive oil and stir.
  • Take the pork shoulder and make a deep incision in either end.  Stuff a tsp of marinade into the incision and spread the rest of the marinade over the flesh.  Wrap up and leave in the fridge to infuse for a few hours.
  • When ready to cook place the shoulder into the slow cooker on low (with the fat at the top), add 50mls fresh water, cover and leave for up to 10 hours.
  • When the pork is done remove from the slow cooker – do this gently as it will be really tender.   Snip off the string and slice off the top layer of fat.  Cover the pork to keep it warm.  Place the fat on a baking tray sprinkled with salt and stick in the oven for roughly 10 mins till it crisps up (keep watching it) at 250 degrees C.   After the pork has rested for 10 minutes, you can shred it with 2 forks.
  • 1-1.5hrs before lunch is due work on the veg.  The potatoes will need to be peeled, cubed, sprinkled with salt, olive oil, whole garlic cloves and chopped fresh sage and cooked in the oven at 200 degrees C for 1-1hr 15.  The courgette & carrot chips sprinkled with dried oregano, salt and olive oil will take 45 mins.
  • For the kale, warm up a dollop of butter in some olive oil in a frying pan (the oil stops the butter from burning), and sauté the kale until softened.  Finally if desired stir in a heaped teaspoon of the cream.

Ta da – Sunday Roast for 4!


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