How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?”, discuss answers to other related questions like how to check if pork meat is cooked properly and can you eat undercooked pork meat. 

How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?

8lb pork shoulder needs to be cooked for 8-10 hours in a slow cooker. One thing that you need to make sure of is that your pork shoulder will fit in the slow cooker and will allow you to keep the cover tightly before starting.

The length of cooking time varies with the weight of the pork and low or high cook time. For a large pork roast (6-7 lbs), the low cook time will be 9 ½ hours while the high cook time will be 7 ⅓ hours. For pork loin (3-4 lbs), the low cook time will be 6 hours while the high cook time will be 5 hours. 

Can you put raw pork meat in a slow cooker?

It is safe to add raw pork meat to a slow cooker as long as it is cooked through completely. Tough meat, like pork shoulder, can be browned first and then cooked through in the slow cooker.

How to check if pork meat is cooked properly?

If you want to check the pork meat that either it is cooked thoroughly or not, there are certain ways to test the meat:

  • Use a meat thermometer

When you are using a digital thermometer to check doneness, insert the tip of the thermometer to the thickest part of the meat. Make sure that the tip does not touch the bone (in case of in-bone pork shoulder meat), as being a conductor of heat it will give more temperature value and you will end up having a false reading.

  • Feel the meat

If you are not having a meat thermometer, you can conduct a “finger test” to check the pork meat for doneness. This test needs some expertise but practicing can help you master this expertly. If you want to master the finger test, consider the following ways:

To know what raw meat looks like, pinch the flesh of your hand below your thumb while your hand is relaxed.

To know what medium-rare meat looks like, touch your middle finger lightly to your thumb and pinch it.

To know what medium-cooked meat feels like, touch your ring finger to thumb.

To know what well-done meat looks like, touch your pinkie and thumb together.

  • Poke the meat to see if the juices are red

For properly cooked pork meat, if you cut it and the juices run clear, then the meat is fully cooked. If the juices are red or have a pinkish color, your pork meat may need to be cooked longer.

Can you eat undercooked pork meat?

Pork meat contains approximately 435 calories per serving and it is a good source of proteins (34g), carbohydrates (1g), and total fats (31g). But this punch of nutrition offered by the pork meat can be disastrous if the meat is undercooked or not cooked properly.

If you eat undercooked or raw meat, you can get seriously ill because raw meat contains certain microorganisms that can be potentially pathogenic. So it is very important to cook the meat properly to assure that there is no viability of any microorganism in the prepared meat-based meal.

Pathogens found in undercooked pork meat

The most important pathogens that are found in raw or undercooked pork meat are Salmonella and Campylobacter. But certain other bacteria can also be found in raw or undercooked pork meat including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, and Klebsiella.

Illness after consuming undercooked pork meat

As discussed earlier, if the pork meat is undercooked, there are sure chances of the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter or both. Both of these bacteria are known to cause severe food poisoning.

Symptoms of Salmonella-based food poisoning may appear within 24-48 hours after consumption of undercooked meat and these symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and muscle pain. These symptoms will last for 2-4 days until and unless the immune system becomes able to cope with the pathogen.

Symptoms of Campylobacter-based food poisoning appear within 2-10 days after consumption of undercooked meat and these symptoms are the same as those of Salmonella-based food poisoning but the difference is that there is bloody diarrhea due to Campylobacter. These symptoms last for up to 4 days but if the condition is getting more severe, you may also need to take some antibiotics.

These bacteria if get into the blood of the patient, can also cause bacteremia. Salmonella typhii can cause typhoid fever while Campylobacter can cause reactive arthritis with inflammation of joints, eyes, urinary system, and reproductive organs.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?”, discussed answers to other related questions like how to check if pork meat is cooked properly and can you eat undercooked pork meat.

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