Love this Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork? Check out our other fabulous Korean Food Recipes!
Meat. It’s what my kids want to hear when they ask “What’s for dinner?” Any time the work “pork” appears in the answer, the cheers are even louder. For instance, when I said I was making Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork, the kitchen erupted in cheers, and they weren’t me cheering for myself. They adore pork because it’s such a great vehicle for any number of their favourite flavour profiles, including Korean. YES. They know what flavour profiles are. They are Food Blogger Kids.
Food Blogger Kids are an interesting breed. All of mine are pretty adventurous, even the ones I deem picky. They’re quick and enthusiastic to try something even if -in their words- the texture makes them feel wiggly and they won’t touch it for love nor money later. For several years, my kiddos’ favourite cuisine has been anything Korean or Korean Inspired. In other words, anything with garlic, ginger, gochujang (we’ve discussed it before here and here), soy sauce, sesame oil, pear juice, and rice is in their wheelhouse. And God love ’em, Korean recipes tend to unapologetically feature meat. This is quite possibly one of the reasons my kids love it so dearly. Thus, Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork garnered the cheers that rocked the house.
Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork is incredibly simple, but requires a little forethought. Part of the depth of the mellow garlic that permeates the dish comes from sticking a sharp knife into the boneless pork loin roast at intervals then shoving peeled, halved garlic cloves into those holes. After that, it’s smeared generously with a fragrant paste of brown sugar, gochujang (Korean chili paste), ginger, soy sauce, soju (Korean rice liquor), and toasted sesame oil. It soaks in all that great amazingness (technical cooking term) overnight and THEN is popped into the slow cooker for a couple of hours. After the cooking time, it rests while you reduce the pan juices until they reach a mahogany coloured DANG THAT’S GOOD consistency. The roast is then thinly sliced to serve on rice, in lettuce wraps, in ramen, or on sandwiches with a drizzle of that gorgeous sauce over top.
- While I normally go for a bone-in cut of pork when it comes to the slow-cooker, I prefer boneless, center cut pork loin for this recipe. It’s an economical cut with little to no waste and it makes for easier thin slicing because of the absence of bone in the cut.
- That said, the sauce ingredients used here can also be used on other cuts of pork with the same taste but different textural results.
- Gochujang is pretty key to getting an authentic Korean flavour, but if you can’t find it and don’t want to order it from Amazon, you can sub in an equal amount of chili garlic sauce for a similar heat level in the finished Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork.
- The pork roast is done cooking in the slow-cooker when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. If you transfer the pork roast to a carving board and lightly tent it, this will give the carry-over cooking time to finish the roast while you strain and reduce the pan juices.
- When you have strained your pan juices and brought it to a boil, you’re looking for a visual cue to indicate it’s done. It should be dark mahogany in colour, reduced by more than half, be thick and syrupy. Remember that as it cools, it will thicken again slightly, so take that into account when deciding when you’ll take it off the heat. When cooled to room temperature, it should be runny honey or thin barbecue sauce consistency.
- Slice the finished pork very thinly against the grain. When we serve it on sandwiches, this is where we stop. When we serve it on rice or on lettuce wraps, we slice those thin pieces of pork crosswise into strips.
- Store leftover pork tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Love this Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue Pork? Try these other Korean recipes!
- Korean BBQ Steak Rice Bowls
- Korean Miso and Honey Glazed Cod
- Korean Inspired Simple Roast Beef
- Easy Fast Kimchi
- Korean BBQ Chickpea Bowls
- Korean Chicken Rice Bowls
Slow-Cooker Korean Style Barbecue PorkRate Recipe
- 1 boneless center cut pork loin 4 pound, trimmed of excess fat
- 12 garlic cloves peeled, and sliced in half or quarters lengthwise
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, scraped to remove the peel, lightly smashed
- 1/2 cup gochujang or chili garlic sauce Korean chili paste
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pear or unsweetened apple juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons soju Korean rice liquor, sake, or dry white wine
- Mix the gochujang, brown sugar, juice, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and soju (or sake or wine) in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Pierce the pork loin roast at intervals and push one piece of garlic into each little hole. Place the roast in the removable crock of a slow cooker. Smear the gochujang mixture generously over the pork loin roast on all sides. Add the ginger. Cover the slow cooker crock and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Take the slow cooker crock from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before putting into the slow cooker and turning on the heat. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the roast at the thickest point reaches 145°F. Transfer to a cutting board and lightly tent with foil. Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil the sauce until it is reduced by about half and thickened. Serve the sauce with the sliced pork on rice, lettuce wraps, or sandwich rolls.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Originally posted January 26, 2015. Photos and Notes updated March 2018.
Absolutely great. Used rice wine vinegar and pork shoulder as substitutes for sake and pork loin.
Thanks so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you love it, Deborah!
Carrie Hoffman says
Hello! Would a pork shoulder work for this recipe? I could shred, and put over kimchi fried rice. Yum! Also, could I sub mirni or rice vinegar for the soju? Can’t wait to try this!
Carrie Hoffman says
Hi Carrie- I have not made this with a pork shoulder, but I imagine it’d work pretty well as long as you’re cooking it until fall-apart tender. Go for it with the mirin or rice vinegar! It’ll be slightly different, but still delicious!
Taylor Sylva says
TONS of great flavor! Mine came out tender (to tender to slice, but I wanted it shredded anyway) and I portioned out for lunches with kimchi and rice. YUM!!!
That is awesome, Taylor! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you love the recipe!
Also can this be cooked in an Instant pot?
Hi Krystal! I’m sure theoretically that it can be, I just haven’t done the experimenting to figure out times and pressures for it.
I used to live in South Korea and miss the food so much! Can’t wait to try this. Do you have any recommendations if you dont have any cooking wines? Would Rice vinegar work? If so, would it be the same amount as the wine?
I think rice wine vinegar would be delicious in there. If you wanted, you could even sub in a little vodka for the soju. 🙂
mycpns guy says
I am going to try this with a pork shoulder I recently purchased that was marked down… a lot.
Soju is a bit difficult to find. Apparently not to many people are clear on it… As it can be made from rice, potato, or a few other things. Also, there are many flavored ones. I sent my honey out to pick some up and she came back with soju apple liquor. Maybe I should have just used saki… or wine… but I want to try this.
Soju is a little tricky for me to find, too, but I know that the urban liquor stores tend to have it more often than the rural ones. 🙂
Patty Mcfall says
This is amazing..my 4th time. Yummy.
I’m so glad you love it!! Thanks for letting me know, Patty!
Could I use an Instapot, and if so how would you adjust it?
Hi Miranda- I’m certain you could, but I have not tested it, so unfortunately, I don’t have a ready conversion instructions for you. Please let me know if you experiment with it.
mycpns guy says
I have made Korean BBQ in both a slow cooker and an instapot, but with short ribs.
Ditch the instapot. Left overs tend to be tough. When you use a slow cooker… the proteins break down completely and the meat is tender.
We are making this right now and can’t find where in the instructions it says to use the Apple/pear juice?
Hi Audrey- I fixed the recipe to reflect it. You put it in at the beginning!