I’m horning in on bspencer’s territory here, but after a couple of ‘meh’ slow cooker experiments, this one turned out too good not to share. It’s loosely based on some adobo recipes I’ve used in the past, but I think I like it better than how any of those turned out:
The night before: soak about two cups of black beans and marinate a 2 lbs piece of pork shoulder in: a mix of equal parts soy sauce and water, 6-8 smashed cloves of garlic, a healthy dose of black pepper and a few shakes of red pepper flakes, 3-4 bay leaves, a touch of ginger powder, a couple of rough-chopped jalapenos (whether to de-seed or not is your choice, but this doesn’t turn out particularly spicy either way), a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and half a fistful of cilantro (omit if cilantro tastes like soap to you.)
Morning: drain beans, place in slow cooker. Remove pork from marinade and cut into roughly bite-size pieces, add to slow cooker. Strain marinade, add what’s left to the slow cooker (edit: to be clear(er): the garlic/bay/cilantro, not the liquid). Add another 3/4 cup of soy sauce, a 12-oz bottle of strong, sweet beer (I used an unbalanced, oversweet barleywine I foolishly bought a 4-pack of, and didn’t particularly want to drink anymore; if you don’t have that on hand I expect anything in the stout or strong ale family would work), 2 cups of water or broth (I used one cup of each because I had a cup of leftover chicken broth, but I don’t think it’ll make a big difference here), and a couple more tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook for around 8 hours on low/medium.
Later that day: after 6 hours or so start checking to make sure it isn’t drying out; if it is, add more water/broth. When the beans are basically done and the pork is falling apart, chop up a good-sized onion and saute until soft, while seasoning w salt and pepper. Add the cooked onion and a generous 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Put on some rice, or some other grain of choice (I think this goes particularly well with short-grain brown rice, but I’m a brown rice partisan). Cook another ~30 minutes. Turn off, wait a bit, discard bay leaves (some might want to discard the garlic cloves as well, but I am not among them) and serve over rice with more cilantro to garnish. Season if necessary, of course, but the soy sauce rendered additional salt unnecessary for me. Indeed, if you’re sensitive to saltiness, reducing the soy sauce:other liquid ratio might be a sensible alteration.
Edit: as someone new to slow-cookers, let’s call this an open thread for what works and what doesn’t with these contraptions.