Thickly slice the onion and garlic and sprinkle in the bottom of the slow cooker.
1 onion, 2 garlic cloves
Prepare the pork by removing any string and patting it down with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Next take a sharp knife and score the meat both vertically and horizontally to a depth of around 1cm. If the meat still has the skin, score through the skin.
1.5 kg pork shoulder
Take the rub mixture and smear it all over the pork, work it into the knife scores to ensure the flavour is infused into the meat. Place the pork into the slow cooker resting on the onion and garlic. Ensure the pork is skin side up, this will trap the moisture in the meat whilst cooking.
Pour the chicken stock, apple juice and cider vinegar into the slow cooker. These should be added to the side of the meat rather than over the top of it so that the rub is not washed off the meat by the liquid. Cook for 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.
150 ml chicken stock, 50 ml apple juice, 50 ml apple cider vinegar
Once the pork is cooked (see recipe notes 2-4 below), the skin will pull away easily from the meat with a knife and fork. Cut off any additional excess fat.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place in a roasting tin along with some of the onions for extra flavour. Pour over the BBQ sauce.
150 ml BBQ sauce
(optional) Cook the pork for 20 minutes at 200°C (390°F). This will caramelise the sauce and crisp the edges of the meat.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before shredding (see recipe notes). The cooked BBQ sauce will mix with the meat as it is pulled, however more can be added to taste. Serve!
Pork shoulder or butt joints are usually sold skin on, which is fine for the slow cooker as the layer of fat and skin locks in the moisture and bastes the meat as it cooks. For maximum flavour score the skin with a sharp knife so that the rub is worked into the meat below. The skin can be easily removed once the meat is cooked and should peel away from the meat without too much effort.
Once the meat is cooked in the slow cooker it will be tender, hot throughout and soft and a light brown pink colour with clear juices. It should come apart easily if pulled apart with a fork. If the meat still feels firm and resistant then allow to cook for longer.
A meat thermometer is always useful when cooking joints in the slow cooker as it allows you to see that they have reached a safe internal temperature of 75°C.
There can be variances in cooking times due to the difference sizes, brands and types of slow cooker. Cooking times given are a guide.
The pork can be cooked from start to finish in the slow cooker so it's fine to forgo giving it a last blast in the oven - it will still taste great. That being said, a final cook in a hot oven creates amazing crunchy bits of seasoned pork and makes the sauce extra thick and sticky which is delicious!