Slow Cooker Dry Rub Pork Roast

How to make a Dry Rub Roast in the Slow Cooker. No need to drown the meat in liquid; this post will show you how to do it!

I hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's Day! My kids are off school today, and are in the other room in a chocolate coma, giving me a few minutes to type.

You'll love this pork. Unless you don't like pork. Then you should use a beef chuck roast or something similar.

I had a frozen pork butt/shoulder in the freezer and wanted to make a pulled pork of some sort but wasn't feeling in the mood for barbecue sauce. I threw together this dry rub in a few seconds using pantry staples, and was really happy with the end result. The meat is perfect--- not gloppy wet, not dried out ---- just perfectly seasoned with a very pleasant flavor.

The secret is the anise. Don't be scared that your meat will taste like black licorice --- I'm a red vine kind of girl (THEY ARE NOT GLUTEN FREE!) -- and always steered clear of anything black licorice, and I promise you that the anise just gives a lovely flavor you're not going to be able to recreate without it. A bottle will last you for quite a while. 

The Ingredients.
serves 6 - 8

1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 to 4 pounds pork roast (butt/shoulder)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground corriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 limes, for serving (optional)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the onion rings into the bottom of your cooker, and spread them apart a bit with your fingers. Place the pork directly on top --- my meat was still frozen. If there is netting on your meat, cut it away. 
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and all dry spices to create a rub. Using your fingers, rub this all over the meat, flipping a few times to ensure good coverage.
Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat has lost shape and pulls apart easily with a large fork.
Serve over a bed of rice or quinoa, or stuff into pita pockets, lettuce leaves, etc.
I squeezed a bit of lime onto our servings, and enjoyed the contrast in flavors, but it's certainly not necessary.

We had enough leftover for me to reheat on the stovetop (or in the Ninja!) with a 1/2 bottle of barbecue sauce the next day for sandwiches.

Cook your next pork roast in the slow cooker with a dry rub. No liquid is required -- the meat gives off plenty of juice all on it's own. Spice rub has brown sugar, paprika, cumin, anise -- delicious and exciting!

The Verdict.

I used to be allergic to pork; this last pregnancy re-programed my body, and I'm so happy that I can now add this meat into our meal rotation.  

I like how this seasoning blend doesn't create an overly sweet or sticky or gloppy meat --- not that those features are bad --- I just wasn't particularly in the mood for that, and this fit the bill!

More Fantastic Dry Rub Recipes in the Slow Cooker:
greek ribs
rotisserie-style chicken
country-style ribs

have a wonderful day!!

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What they say about this article

  1. I want to try this, it looks yummy!

  2. Did you put any water in with the roast, or was it just the onions, pork, and seasonings? I've dried out so many roasts in my Crock Pot (seriously, I didn't think that was possible until I recreated it for the fourth time!) that I'm now scared of putting any meat in there without some liquid. ??? Thanks!

  3. Hi Sara --- no, no liquid was added at all. The meat gives off liquid on it's own, and the meat cooks perfectly. I wonder what type of slow cooker you're using, and if not all of the steam and moisture stays inside? Is there a large gap where moisture escapes? the lid should have beaded up condensation on it when you remove the lid ---- if this doesn't happen, you can fix it by putting down a layer of foil, and then putting the lid on.

    I hope this helps a bit!

  4. Anonymous2/14/2013

    I really hesitate to use the anise - I really don't like licorice flavour! I think I might try it without as it sounds awesome... I know it won't be the same but how about "different but equal"? I have the meat in the freezer so I'll let you all know if I do in case others feel the same -
    And, I've read your whole pork saga Steph - and I find it fascinating - can pregnancy really reprogram and "allergy" or would it just be a "sensitivity"? I don't doubt you I am just curious and fascinated. Somehow it doesn't surpise me that being the host of another being could entirely change your body chemistry!!

  5. I love the idea of the anise. I'm not a big licorice fan but I really like the flavor of anise in foods. I'm going to have to try thos on my smoker soon.

  6. I have a Cuban-inspired pork tenderloin recipe that uses anise seed -- if you're unsure, DON'T WORRY. Your meat will NOT taste like licorice. (I *HATE* licorice, but still use the anise in my recipe, so I'll surely be trying this one!)

  7. Sounds delish - I will try it as written, being of an adventurous palate ;-)
    BTW, I loved this line "I'm a red vine kind of girl" - is it pure coincidence, or do I detect a Warehouse 13 fan??? ;-)

  8. Hmm, not at all a fan of licorice--but a big fan of your recipes! I'll put this one in the folder for the future. BTW, I just this weekend picked up a 2nd crockpot! My 6 Qt needed a little buddy, and I found a 2Qt on sale. I've been thinking about dips a lot lately, so it's serendipitous.

  9. I saw you on Rachael Ray today and learned about your blog! I just got my first crock pot over the weekend and so I'm more than thrilled to have this many recipes on one site! I actually am a stay at home Mom and have my own Gluten-Free blog to inspire me to keep trying new things! ( ) Your blog is definitely inspirational to those just starting out blogging! I hope to add some slow cooker recipes to my blog now that I can try them out!

  10. Wow, this looks so great! Another fabulous recipe! :)

  11. I'm so excited to have found your blog. I slow-cooked 2-3 times a week and am starting to get bored with my recipes. And it's great that you post of pic of the ingredients. Super helpful! Thanks!

  12. I purchased the Ninja slow cooker and I love it. You were right it does everything. Thanks for the info.

  13. I made this last week for dinner and liked it so much that I am currently cooking 17 (17!!!!) lbs of pork with this rub for my daughter's birthday party. So, I'm pretty sure that's how you know it's a keeper. :-)

  14. I was looking up information about using dry rubs with my slow cooker. I definitely like the idea. However I have a question. I am going to cook boneless chicken breaststock or boneless pork chops.

    How do I go about cooking these in my crock pot? I did try liquid marinades from the store and the salt was too much. I used a whole bottle to cook 3 Wilmore pork chops. That is why I am asking this question. How do I do the drywall up in the right way.

  15. Hi Barry,

    good question. First off, the reason the dry rub works so well with a large pork roast is because it has fat (juice) in it --- for pork chops or boneless chicken I'd recommend adding 1/2 of liquid for each pound of meat -- otherwise you're going to have a pretty dry offering at the end of cooking time.

    As for the salt content -- I agree with you. I'd play around with seasonings from your spice cabinet instead of buying the already made ones at the store.
    A good combo is cumin, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and then a bit of salt. You can also simply omit the salt completely and then season to taste at the table.

    PS -- for the cooking liquid: chicken broth, apple juice, white wine all work well for chicken and pork.

    I hope this helps a bit!! enjoy!