slow cooker recipe, big pork roast

Asked March 13, 2018, 11:48 AM EDT

Waaaay up here in Breckenridge with a recipe for a 6 lb pork shoulder roast that is supposed to cook in the slow cooker on low for 20 hours. How should I adjust cook time, etc.? We're at 10,000 feet. Need info ASAP - many thanks!

Summit County Colorado food safety high altitude food preparation

1 Response


You are at a very high altitude! High altitude areas are also prone to low humidity, which can cause the moisture in foods to evaporate more quickly during cooking.

High altitudes affect cooking with a slow cooker:

Always thaw food thoroughly before putting it in a slow cooker (at any altitude). Remember that when cooking at high altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature. Water is essential to slow cooking. The water and the steam conduct heat throughout the food in the slow cooker. At high altitudes, the slow cooker simmers at a lower temperature, making it more difficult for the food to reach a safe temperature and for bacteria to be destroyed.

Check the manufacturer's instructions. If your slow cooker has an adjustable temperature control, select a setting that will maintain the food at 200°F or higher. If your slow cooker has both a high and low setting, start the food cooking on high for the first hour; then either continue to use high or turn it to the low setting for the remainder of cooking. The low setting may also be used for keeping food warm.

Allow longer cooking times at high altitudes. Do not remove the lid from the slow cooker; it can take 20 minutes or longer for the lost steam and heat to be regained. It may be helpful to place aluminum foil on top of the foods being cooked in a slow cooker and under the lid. The aluminum foil will reflect the heat downward into the food. Use a food thermometer to ensure that all food in the slow cooker has reached a safe temperature of 165°F.

Appropriate cook time for slow cooking has many variables, size of slow cooker, quantity of meat, added ingredients, temperature of meat when put into the pot, and whether it is browned or not. If you need to speed it up you can use the high setting for part of the cooking to be sure the large quantity of meat gets heated through more quickly.

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