As luck would have it – I have the best pork dish for your New Year!

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

But really, all bad puns aside, this may be my best pork dish ever. Ever ever. And that is coming from a serious pork lover. You know it.

But first, just how superstitious are you?

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

Do you do any weird superstitious things like wear the same socks when your favorite sports team plays or eat black eyed peas to ring in the new year or throw salt over your shoulder? And if you do that last one, how on earth do you get it all cleaned up because just the thought seriously stresses me out.

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

I’m not very superstitious with my behavior because just the thought of being superstitious makes me feel too superstitious. Does that make any sense at all, besides absolutely none? Didn’t think so.

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

However! My family has ALWAYS eaten pulled pork on New Years Day and I didn’t even know it was a thing. I mean I know it was our thing, but I didn’t know it was, like, a thing THING. Like a good luck thing. Apparently it is and I thought it was just because we all really love pulled pork. But no no. It started for luck. Continued for love.

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

Eddie and I loved this meal so, so much that we ended up eating it for days. We also ended up making it again – in fact, three more times(!!!) since this past October when I was first testing it. So freaking delicious. The pork is obviously a touch spicy and when paired with the fresh, crisp cucumbers that are sitting in a drizzle of toasted sesame oil – ah! It’s the best combination of flavor and mouth feel. Apparently that’s a thing.

And I just can’t get over how wonderful it is in sandwiches, or over rice, or in tacos… basically every which way possible. Or with eggs! Or with pasta. Any way you like. If you like sweet heat, this has your name allllll over it.

slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

Sweet and Spicy Pork Shoulder with Sesame Cucumbers

5 from 32 votes
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sesame cucumbers

  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced (I like to use the mandolin for this)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
  • salt and pepper for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the pork shoulder with the salt and pepper, then place it in the skillet. Sear on all sides until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Turn off the heat.
  • In the bottom of your slow cooker, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili garlic paste and hoisin sauce. Add the pork shoulder and cover. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Once finished, the pork should fall apart with a fork. Shred it well (removing any bones/fat/etc) and toss in the chili garlic mixture.
  • Serve with jasmine rice and the sesame cucumbers. Drizzle on toasted sesame oil and serve with more chili garlic paste.

Sesame cucumbers:

  • Place the cucumber slices in a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil and chili garlic paste. Pour over the cucumbers and toss well to coat. Season with the salt and pepper, then sprinkle on the sesame seeds.


[adapted from real simple]

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slow cooker sweet and spicy pork shoulder I

Try it so you can be the luckiest!