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In this Honey Ginger Pork with Acorn Squash recipe, slow-cooked honey ginger pulled pork is topped on tender pieces of winter squash. It’s a fancy fall dish that doubles as a healthy comfort food!
Make the usual winter squash side dish into a main with this Honey Ginger Pork with Acorn Squash recipe. Imagine slow-cooked shredded pork glazed with sweet and savory ginger garlic sauce piled on top of a platter of ridiculously rich and buttery roasted acorn squash slices. Who could resist?
The pork in this dish is repurposed from my Honey Ginger Pork Tacos. Each bite tastes sweet and savory, and is practically hands-off because it’s cooked in the slow cooker. The acorn squash is roasted simultaneously so all you have to do is plate and serve!
- It’s made with minimal ingredients and is naturally gluten, grain, and soy free (with one simple substitution).
- It’s an easy slow cooker recipe that’s mostly hands-off. The pork does its thing in the crockpot while the squash roasts to perfection in the oven.
- A unique and easy way to serve shredded pork at dinner parties and holidays.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the full ingredients list, scroll down to the recipe card below. Here are a few notes about what you’ll need and possible substitutions.
Pork – Pork shoulder and pork butt are best for this slow cooker pork recipe. This is because both come from the shoulder section and have a large amount of marbled fat. As a result, the meat becomes more juicy and flavorful when cooked in a crockpot. Pork chops do not work as well because they are cut from the loin and have very little marbling. They’re better suited for quicker cooking methods, like pan-frying, air frying, and pressure cooking.
Soy sauce - Or use tamari if you’re gluten free. Coconut aminos can also be used, but it’s sweeter than soy sauce, so make sure to reduce the amount of honey.
Honey - This gives the honey ginger sauce its sweet and earthy profile. Agave syrup should work instead but the flavor of the sauce will change slightly.
Garlic and ginger - Fresh garlic and ginger are a must! No substitutions here.
Acorn squash - This is a winter squash with a naturally sweet, nutty flavor that becomes almost butter-like when roasted. If you can’t find acorn squash, use delicata, hubbard, butternut, or buttercup squash instead.
Step 1: Slow cook the pork. Place the pork, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in your slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Let the pork rest on a cutting board before shredding.
Step 2: Prepare the acorn squash. Once the pork is almost done, cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice each half into half-moons and drizzle each piece with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
Step 3: Roast the acorn squash. Place the squash on a large baking sheet and roast until fork tender.
Step 4: Plate and serve. Transfer the roasted acorn squash to a platter. Top it with the shredded pork and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Acorn squash does not need to be peeled before roasting.
- Lay the squash in an even layer on the baking sheet. Overcrowding will cause steam, leaving you with soggy squash. Use two baking sheets if you need to.
- The exact time it takes to roast the squash will vary depending on how thick the slices are. Do not leave the oven unattended during the last 10 to 15 minutes. The squash can go from perfect to overcooked in seconds.
- Upgrade the presentation by topping the plated dish with fresh cilantro or parsley, gruyere or parmesan cheese, or crispy sage leaves.
How do you know when slow cooker pork is done?
You’ll know it’s ready when the pork is VERY easy to shred with a fork. If you aren’t sure, use a meat thermometer. Pulled pork is best when it’s cooked to an internal temperature of 205°F.
Do not go past 210ºF! This is when the meat will start to dry out.
To ensure the pork is cooked just right, remove it from the crockpot when the internal temperature is between 190°F and 200°F. Transfer it to a cutting board, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. The pork will rise 10-15 degrees during resting.
What do you serve with roasted acorn squash and pork?
This pork and squash dish just screams fall. If you’re incorporating it into a multi-course meal, I recommend serving it with other warming fall recipes, like pumpkin curry soup, pecan frisee salad, maple roasted carrots, and mashed red potatoes.
What other meat goes well with acorn squash?
If you love the sound of pulled pork but not the honey ginger sauce, make this recipe with my BBQ sauce-covered pulled pork instead. Acorn squash also goes well with roast chicken, meatloaf, beef tenderloin, short ribs, lamb chops, and more.
What else can I make with the shredded pork?
If you’re lucky enough to have leftover honey ginger pork, use it in a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw! You can also use it in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and loaded fries.
- Fridge: Let cool, then store the squash and pork in separate sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Roasted acorn squash doesn’t freeze well, but the pork can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating.
More squash recipes
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Honey Ginger Pork with Acorn Squash
for the pork:
- Place the pork, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Once pork has been cooking for 3 hours, begin cooking the squash.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Slice the acorn squash and remove the seeds. Place the squash in a bowl and drizzle it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the squash on a large baking sheet and roast it for 20 minutes, then flip it over and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until it's fork tender.
- The pork is done once it's VERY easy to shred -- it should basically fall apart. Shred the pork with two forks.
- To serve: place the roasted squash on a platter or large plate, then top it with the shredded pork. Enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in October 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in December 2022.