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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 21 2012

Slow-Cooked Coconut Ginger Pork

By Worker Bee
100 Comments

Using a slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to get a hearty, healthy meal on the table with very little effort. If it’s a hot summer day and you want to cook a big meal without turning on the oven, a slow cooker is the answer. If the weather is frigid and you’re craving comfort food, pull out the slow cooker. If you’re busy as all get-out and cooking is the last thing you want to do, the solution is – you guessed it – a slow cooker.

Slow-Cooked Coconut Ginger Pork is a recipe that both slow cooker aficionados and newbies will love. A large cut of pork is slow cooked until tender and infused with the spicy, aromatic flavor of ginger, garlic and coconut milk. Salty, savory pork fat drips off the roast as it cooks, swirling with the ginger-scented coconut milk to create an incredibly flavorful broth. When coconut milk cooks for hours it loses its milky quality and looks more like coconut oil. Still, it adds a creamy richness to the broth and seeps into the meat, giving it a slightly sweet flavor.

Unless you’re feeding a large group, meals from a slow cooker typically provide leftovers for days. On the first night, serve the succulent pork and rich broth in bowls filled with raw shredded cabbage or steamed cauliflower rice. The next day, shred the meat over a salad. After that, add the meat to a stir-fry or omelet or eat it cold straight out of the refrigerator. Anyway you serve it, you’re going to love it.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 pound boneless pork butt/shoulder roast
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 chunks
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Instructions:

Mix together the coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Use your fingers to rub the seasonings all over the roast.

Place the meat in a slow cooker and surround with onions, garlic, ginger and the half can of coconut milk.

The roast will give off moisture and fat while cooking, doubling or tripling the amount of broth by the time the roast is ready.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Although both cooking temperatures give delicious results, meat cooked on low will be the most tender.


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100 thoughts on “Slow-Cooked Coconut Ginger Pork”

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  1. This looks and sounds amazing. I think I may have to make this for tomorrow….

  2. Can I make this with any other meat? We don’t eat pork. Are there any cuts of lamb or beef that would work here?

    1. Yes! This would work with beef shanks, lamb shanks or a whole chicken. Also beef brisket. Really any cut that works for braising.

      1. This would be STUNNING with chicken. I think beef/lamb might have too intense of their natural flavors to really work with the light coconut broth and spices described here.

        But then I was skeptical of that lemon beef brisket recipe and its AMAZING, so its certainly worth playing around with!

        1. I just did some lamb shanks & reduced the liquid a bunch & cooked sweet potatoes in that. Mashed the sweet potatoes in the liquid, added a can of crushed tomatoes & a half can of coconut milk. I seasoned with curry-type seasonings & added green peas & mushrooms (all I had at the moment)

      2. Thanks! I bought some beef shanks, and am about to try this in my Dutch oven (which I use successfully in place of a slow cooker).

    2. This looks delicious!!! It also reminds me of Tom Kah Kai, (Thai chicken coconut soup with galangal). I can definitely see this works well with chicken! Would be interesting to try with pork, beef or lamb.

  3. how many ounces is a half can? I’ve only purchased the 1/2 gallon cartons before.

    1. The coconut milk in the carton is a beverage (watered down), the coconut milk in the can is what you use in a recipe.

  4. This looks amazing. Is there a way to imitate a slow cooker by using the oven?

    1. Yes, you can cook in a 225 degree oven. You can even brown the roast on the stovetop in coconut oil in a cast iron or enameled cast iron dutch oven first, then take it off the heat, add the ingredients as listed, cover with a double layer of heavy duty foil then the lid to the pan. Cook for 2-3 hours, check for doneness. You can cook it as low as 185 (any food safety experts out there? to give us a lower limit) if your oven goes that low, but that will take several hours. This is called cooking “en cocotte”. Any slow-cooker recipe can be done this way, basically.

      1. 160 F. at the center of the meat mass is the usual *minimum* cooking recommendation.

        1. Nancy is writing about cooking temp, not final internal temp. Eating a roast cooked to 180 would be terrible!

        2. Pork butt cooked to 190-200* internal temperature will cause all the connective tissues to dissolve, and it will become incredibly tender and succulent. Otherwise, you need to cook to only about 145-150 internal temp (per the latest food safety recs). It’s not terribly tender that way, unless you’re talking about tenderloins or center cut loins. My husband and I regularly smoke pork butts for pulled pork, and our best Butts are cooked to around 195, when all the tissues dissolve & everything becomes mind-blowingly tender. Just as an FYI. I am making this today, and I can’t wait!

      2. 41 – 140 degrees is considered the “danger zone” according to the Washington State health department

      3. My favorite way to cook chicken! I’ve since adapted this technique to almost every large hunk of meat I can find. you don’t even have to add any liquid, and the flavors concentrate. I love the ‘jelly’ you get from a whole bird.

  5. Does anyone know how big of a dutch oven I’d need to cook 3/4 lbs of pork as described? 7 quart big enough?

    thanks!

    1. 5 Qt. will probably do it — look at the pics — you want some room around the roast for the moisture to circulate, so I don’t think that size is that critical — the slow cooking temperature and long time is much more important.

  6. wow great recipe for sunday supper, especially with leftovers for the week! thanks!

  7. Perfect timing! We cook every weeknight meal in the crock pot and I realized we have an abundance of pork in the freezer. Thanks!

  8. Does anyone know if this will work in a small crockpot, as opposed to slow cooker? Say, a 2 pound roast, for one person. My crockpot cooks, I think, more slowly than a slow cooker. Any thoughts would help.

    1. I am pretty sure a crockpot and a slow cooker are the same thing.

      1. I have read that they are different. My crockpot is very small and round. Most slow cookers are larger and oblong. I think there may be temp differences,as well and that was my main concern, but I will give it a try and see how it works. Thanks for any more info that anyone finds.

      2. They are the same thing. “Crockpot” is actually a brand name, and “slow cooker” is the generic word for it, kind of like “Jello” and “gelatin dessert”!

    2. Semantics. They’re the same. It has nothing to do with the shape.

  9. Wow, this recipe sounds perfect and so simple (no long prep work!). I happen to have a pork roast in my freezer from the half pig I purchased earlier this summer. Can’t wait to try this on Monday while I am at work all day!

  10. Looks great. Thanks for posting. I have a pork shoulder in the freezer right now. What other vegetables would taste good in there besides onion?

    1. Not exactly a vegetable, but I’d give lemon grass a go personally. I think the blend of that with the ginger and coconut would go nicely, better than with onion.

      1. How would you go about incorporating the lemongrass… I have some growing in a pot this year but have no idea what to do with it. Leave it whole? Chop it up? Put it in at the start or wait until toward the end? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

  11. This sounds delicious, thank you! My only concern is that my crockpot manual says that the fluid level must be 3/4 of the volume of the container for safe use. Does anyone else have this instruction, and have you safely ignored it?

    1. I’m pretty sure that instruction is for the highest efficiency. I usually have my cooker at least half full, but not 3/4. That sounds like overflow to me since slow cooking produces liquid. Just be sure it’s on low instead of warm, I wasted an entire roast that way once :/

    2. My instructions said that but awhile back I followed a recipe that just called for putting a pork shoulder roast in there with a dry rub (on low)–no liquid at all. I read the recipe many times over to make sure, and it did turn out fine because the meat released so much moisture. It never stuck or smelled burning or anything. I think that recipe was from Nom Nom Paleo, but I’m not sure. But anyway I use mine all the time with less than 3/4 full of liquid to start out. I think otherwise it would limit you to making soups.

  12. I cannot WAIT to try this! Pork butt is one of my favorite cuts of pig, right behind bacon! Yummmmm

  13. Just got a pork roast. Perfect timing. Looks and sounds completely delicious.

    I don’t undertand the thing about keeping them full of liquid. I’ve used the slow cooker less than full many times, with no problem. I’ve always thought the rule was there to make sure you got things really cooked through or didn’t let them boil dry, rather than any danger related to the cooker. If you can’t tell by looking when meat is cooked through, use a meat thermometer. I’ve roasted potatoes in the slow cooker with nothing but olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs and had no problem.

  14. This worked out nicely for so little effort but next time I’ll be adding some chiles to punch it up a bit. I think fresh jalapeños or serranos might work best

  15. Definitely needs some punch but a decent basic recipe. Note that it in no way comes out looking like the milky broth pictured — between the coconut milk separating and the amount of oil the pork gives off it’s actually a very oily braise and the meat is almost completely in shreds. This is not a bad thing, I think if you finished it in the oven you would have carnitas style pork, might be good in a lettuce wrap or taco bowl.

  16. I made this overnight last night and ate it today. I hate to say it but it was a little bland for my tastes. I think a lot of the coconut flavor cooked off so I may try a whole can next time and go heavier on the spices. My however, loved it!

  17. AHHHHHHH whyd you cover all that awesome meat with cilantro???

    😉 But no really, this looks amazing, cant wait to try it (sans-cilantro of course)

  18. I think I’ll make this with some cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Just saute some cauliflower rice in a pan with butter. Just before its done squeeze in some lime juice and some chopped cilantro.

  19. Oh wow. I made this today in my crockpot and had it for dinner. I have to say it was absolutely AMAZING. I LOVED the spice combination. I was skeptical of how all that ginger would turn out in there but it was perfect! The broth at the end of the day was so rich and flavorful. I am 100% satisfied with this recipe (even my picky 8-year old liked it!) and it is going in my top 10 list. Thanks for sharing this Mark!

  20. I tried this for lunch today, with half the meat and some modifications. For two,I purchased two thick chop size slabs of loin pork roast that was already wrapped in lard. (grass fed local meat.) I added only 1/4 cup thin sliced mild red pepper with the large minced onions,garlic,and thin sliced ginger but proceeded differently. After browning the meat, I sautéed the other ingredients, then pressure cooked instead of slow cooked, as I have no oven, for 18 mins,in 400 ml coconut milk,removing the meat and thickening the juices with about 1-2 Tbs coconut flour after cooking. Fast and fantastic adaptation. Thanks!

  21. Wow! this made me hungry! I love pork meat and some other foods with coconut. Perfect combination! Thanks for the recipe.

  22. To brown or not to brown. Does anyone brown their roasts prior to slow cooking? That’s always the way that I do it. It takes a minute, and I think the conventional wisdom is that the meat comes out with more delicious flavour. Is there a reason not to brown?

    1. I do if I have the time – and I just made this recipe on Thursday, but browned it first. Like a previous poster, the liquid came out without showing any coconut milk coloring AND I added a healthy amount of coconut paste. Still, it was very tasty. I had no coriander seed, so used fennel instead. Every time I use my crockpot, I tell myself I’ll use it more often, but this is probably the first time I’ve had it out in a year.

    2. I usually brown first… it is supposed to at least ‘look’ more appetising as slow cooked meat can look at little bit grey (or gray for non Aussies).
      I didn’t this time though for this recipe, I will be interested to see what it turns out like.

  23. this looks good & easy!

    but i’ll add some lemon grass & oyter mushrooms.

    cheers

  24. I made this yesterday (with leftovers I now have for work today) and it was wonderful. I loved the mild, fragrant flavor of this. My 3 1/2 year old son kept saying “mmmmmmm” after he took every bite. I look forward to trying the recipe with other meats as well.

  25. I just made this and I never ever want to eat anything else ever again.

    4.8 pound pork shoulder (too big for slow cooker)
    cook on 250 for 2 hours in oven
    275 for 2 hours

    Incredible.

  26. Thank you for this recipe, and for such an awesome website. I made this dish tonight, and it was easy and delicious. Leftovers tomorrow.

  27. Made this last night. Used a whole can of coconut milk instead of half, and I agree that for us it was a little bland, but to overcome that I just added a little salt and extra coriander when serving. Fantastic, and bonus (or negative, depending on how you look at it) the house smells AMAZING while its cooking.

  28. omg, this dish is good! made it overnight night before last, what a freakin’ awesome breakfast I had yesterday and fantastic leftovers today. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, it’s a keeper 🙂

  29. I’m trying this tomorrow night! Or my daughter is, as she wants to cook. My husband thinks we should try and make crackle on the pork in the oven first and then put it in the slow cooker. Anyway… doesn’t matter, we’ll figure something out :).

  30. would it be ok to use reduced fat coconut cream instead of milk?

  31. I am new to this whole thing…. and this is the first recipe I tried.
    Oh my gosh!! Delicious and so easy!!!

  32. I just made this roast today, and I must say that it is fabulous!! Totally fell apart, and is delicious. As another poster noted, the flavor is a little mild(bland)to my taste, so I just threw in a little green chile to zip it up a bit, but not enough to overcome the flavor of the pork. The green chile goes well with the coconut milk, believe it or not!

  33. I doubled the spices and it was still very mild – still delicious though. I also threw in a pound of diced sweet potatoes, 3/4 pound of haricots verts, and a cup of leftover duck stock for the last 2 hours. It was a huge hit with the whole family!

  34. Here in the South, “coriander” is called “cilantro”…

  35. I love this recipe! It is wonderful. I browned my roast before putting it in the slower cooker.

  36. Made this as well…with some changes of course….added in garlic and chillies for some flavor and punch and then zested and juiced a lime into it as well. came out fantastic…i shredded it and then put it back in the liquid to absorb some of the flavor as well..then i served it over shredded lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, avaocados, cashews and fresh cilantro…was fantastic.

  37. I made this last night. It was great. We had company and they also loved it! I will try this again.

  38. We just had the leftovers of this dish. I made it last week. Even my brother-in-law liked it. It is one of the best pork dishes I have ever cooked and so easy too. Served it with spaghetti squash and added cilantro and jalapenos as garnish. Awesome!

  39. Made this last night for the in-laws, very pleased with the result. I was surprised to discover it tasted bery meaty and not very much like coconut. Next time I will add half a can of coconut milk at the end of cooking for a creamier and more coconuty taste along with perhaps some chillie and more lime juice.
    That said – the pork was meltingly tender and it was such an easy dish!

  40. I’m a law student, and I don’t have a ton of time to cook meals. I generally stick to things that I can make in 15 minutes or less–meaning my countertop grill gets a lot of use! But after I received a slow cooker as a Christmas present this year, I’ve been seeking out recipes like this so I can get that home-cooked, I-just-spent-all-day-in-the-kitchen flavor without the time commitment.

    I’m waiting for mine to come out of the slow cooker right now…and my apartment smells AMAZING!

  41. Can you tell me please what is the green leaf garnish on top of the pork . . . parsley or cilantro?

  42. Fabulous recipe! Someone brought it to our local paleo primal potluck here in Phx last weekend. The pork was melt-in-your mouth tender. Really delicious with or over a mound of blanched veggies. I will make it at home but in the oven. Many crock pots leach heavy metals. Be aware!

    Here is the info about heavy metals in crock pots. Apparently it is in the ceramic and/or coating on the them.

    See these links
    http://insightfulnana.com/home-garden/housekeeping-home-garden/lead-poisoning-and-crock-pots/html
    http://betterlivingnutrition.com/tag/heavy-metals/
    http://www.ehow.com/info_8590542_stone-vs-metal-crock-pot.html

  43. If you have the time, the best way I have found to cook pork butt is as follows:

    1. Place the top oven rack just below center and heat to 400 degrees.
    2. Rub the meat down with the spices,
    3. Place in slow-cooker fat side up and surround with the other ingredients.
    4. Cover with heavy lid, place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 180 degrees.
    5. Let it cook for 7-8 hours and enjoy.

    The low and slow method will make it unbelievably tender.

  44. Looking at the pictures of the meat it looks like you have unrolled the roast before you put it in the slow cooker. Is that correct?

  45. I just made this recipe last week and it was terrific! I added some lime zest into the crockpot. I also tried it in the oven instead of the crockpot and that worked really well too. Thank you for all your recipes and clear steps and pictures. I always find them easy to follow. Everyone I made this for loved it.

  46. I made it and I thought it was a little bland. The liquid didn’t look anything like coconut milk.

  47. This was WONDERFUL…I recommend adding a little more salt than the recipe called for, but this was perfect for a chilly fall evening. I will definitely be making this again!

  48. I made this yesterday with a pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs. It was delightful over some raw shredded cabbage. The only modification I made was to add a big pinch of red pepper flakes. I can’t wait to make this again with pork and later, duck breast.

  49. I have canned milk, a carton of milk and even a real coconut. I read somewhere NOT to use the carton, because that’s for drinking. The canned milk has the consistency of heavy cream, super think. Did I use the wrong one?!?!?!?!?

  50. This recipe rocks! Great for a group because you can offer it over raw cabbage or rice depending on the guest’s diet, and it’s almost ridiculously easy. Wood-smoked pork shoulder barbeque is one of my favorite things in the world but this preparation is a contender.

  51. I was wondering if this recipe would work with pork fat back that was given to me. I dont know how to cook it. I have cooked other kinds of pork but not fat back. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks Mark.

  52. Well, this is an old post, so I doubt I’ll get a response, but….where did all my broth go??

    There was hardly any liquid left in the slow cooker by the time I went to eat my supper. It still tasted delicious (very gingery) but I was expecting a soupier consistency judging from the pics.

    Maybe my slow cooker was too big for the amount of ingredients in it? Any other ideas/suggestions?

  53. I guess you had a lot of evaporation because you actually simmered it without a lid for 3-5 hours as recommended?
    The recipe does say “If needed, add a little water during this process to keep the bones covered with liquid.”

    But maybe you were too busy to add any water?
    Me too. Way too busy to add water. Which is why I usually keep my crockpot lid on until the final 1 to 2 hours, then cook it with no lid during those final 60-120 mins.

    Anyhow, glad it still tasted okay!
    Perhaps you could try this recipe my way next time. Good luck.

  54. Katie, sorry, I had the mistaken notion you were posting about the Primal Soup recipe because I’m cooking that today & I saw your comment on the right side of that page! LOL, OOPS.

  55. Despite having discovering this blog MONTHS ago and being inspired, I am only just now starting to try and be serious about trying the primal approach.
    I am cooking this recipe tonight….. have only just put it all in the slow cooker and it already smells amazing!
    One thing I made sure to do was buy ‘;sow stall free’ pork, I am not one to push a barrow but I do prefer the thought of pigs wandering free in paddocks as opposed to suffering in small stalls in sheds (Aussie words here…).

  56. Happy Snow Patrick’s day! I just threw this combo into the crockpot/slow cooker and will let you know how it turns out.

  57. Just found this recipe and it’s in the crockpot right now.

    Instead of rubbing the spices on the meat, I combine them in a bag, toss in the meat, and shake it to coat. If anyone remembers Shake n Bake (ick :-P) it’s the same idea.

    Thanks for this recipe, Mark, and thanks to you all for your suggestions.

  58. Wow, incredible flavors! I added a red bell pepper and some white mushrooms. My skeptical hubby said he was surprised by how good it tasted, this recipe is a definite keeper.