Many cuts of pork are as lean as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, with less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat in every 3-ounce serving. Because of their low fat content, these cuts can be difficult to prepare in the slow cooker without ending up with tough, dry meat. Use the correct technique with the right cuts, however, and you'll have juicy pork that requires little hands-on cooking time and which you can easily incorporate into a healthy, balanced diet.
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Pick the Right Cut
Low-fat cuts of pork that can be prepared in the slow cooker include pork tenderloin, pork loin or sirloin roast and bone-in pork rib chops. Boneless top loin or center loin pork chops are also low in fat but can quickly become dry during slow cooking unless cut very thick. Pork shoulder roasts and pork ribs such as country-style ribs work well in the slow cooker, but use them only occasionally and in moderation because of their high fat and cholesterol content.
Trim Off the Fat
According to the "Bangor Daily News," trimming off as much excess fat as possible from pork before cooking can lower the total fat content in every serving of the finished dish by as much as 50 percent. This is especially true for pork prepared in the slow cooker, since the rendered fat remains in the slow cooker insert with the meat. For pork roasts and chops, cut off and discard all of the visible fat. After trimming the fat off of a pork tenderloin, use a sharp knife to remove the shiny membrane located on the side of the cut.
Aim for High Flavor, Low Fat
You can place raw pork directly into the slow cooker, but for a deeper, richer flavor without much added fat, first brown all sides of the cut briefly in heated olive oil. If you like, you can remove the pork to the cooker and saute seasonings such as chopped onions, garlic, herbs and spices in the remaining oil in the skillet. Pour water, broth, juice, a sauce like tomato sauce, wine or a combination into the skillet, bring the mixture to a boil and pour it over the pork. Tuck chunks of carrots and potatoes around the pork for added nutrition.
Cook for the Right Time
Cook whole pork roasts and pork tenderloin in the slow cooker for approximately six to eight hours on the low setting. For smaller pork cuts, such as bone-in pork chops, cook on high for about 1 1/2 hours, then on low for between four and five hours. Start checking the pork when you've reached the lowest recommended cooking time. The meat's done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bangor Daily News: Pork - Still a Healthy Choice, But No Longer 'The Other White Meat'
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- ABC Good Morning America: Garlic Pork Roast in Hamiliton Beach Slow Cooker
- Food 52: Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- Food Network: Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
- Recipetips.com: Trimming Pork