We still love our slow cookers as much as we did 30 years ago, though we’ve gotten a lot smarter about using them. We know now that searing the meat first and deglazing the skillet with the liquid you’ll add to the slow cooker yields deeply flavorful meat. The sear also creates a crust that tastes like the pork has been in the barbecue pit for hours. Every ingredient in the cooking liquid will transform into a sauce with plenty of depth and body. You can use apricot preserves instead of peach, and omit the bourbon if you like.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper; rub evenly over pork. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place pork in a 6-quart electric slow cooker.
Add stock and next 4 ingredients (through crushed red pepper) to skillet; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add preserves, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture over pork; top with onion and garlic. Cover and cook on LOW 6 1/2 hours or until pork is very tender. Remove pork from pan, reserving liquid; cool slightly. Shred with 2 forks. Remove onion with a slotted spoon; add to pork.
Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into skillet, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Stir bourbon into drippings; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Combine 2 tablespoons cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add cornstarch mixture to sauce, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle sauce over pork; toss gently to coat.
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