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New Favorite Cut

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I always hear about pork shoulder in regards to braising, but as lamb shanks, short ribs and the like are easier to find, never sought out pork shoulder.

Well over the weekend I braised 7 pounds for a family dinner and my god, what a fantastic cut of meat. A little pricey for pork shoulder (a laughable $4/lb.), but just wine and veg. stock (of all things) along with some bay leaf and oranges, in a low low oven for 10 hours or so and goodness it was fine.

How are you all preparing your pork shoulder?

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  1. i never have but now i want to try. so, you first brown it in a hot pan, right? then go ahead with the liquid and the slow, slow simmer, right?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ben61820

      I love a pork shoulder braise too. But, you have to try a whole lamb shoulder. Rub with your favourite lamb rub and smoke at 250 for 10 hours. Meat falls off bone. I don't see a problem with braising it in a 225 oven for 10 hours.

    2. I'm into long braises. What temp was your oven? I always wonder just how low you can go and get good results.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cpt Wafer

        I prefer to do a long slow roast until it is meltnglly tender and then you remove the skin and crisp that up into pork cracklings to scatter over the mat or add to cornbread etc.

        1. re: Candy

          I like to do roasts as well. What cut do you prefer? Also, what temp do you use and for how long a lb?

          1. re: Cpt Wafer

            Shoulder. skin on, or even better a fresh ham. 300-325 F. until it is done. I know that is vague but long and slow is the way to go. Meat starts to pull away from the bone and the skin starts to crisp. I just watch it. Depends on the size.

      2. I have two methods:

        The first is to take the shoulder, season well with salt and pepper and brown on all sides on the stovetop in my dutch oven. I surround the pork with a jar or bag of rinsed sauerkraut and a bottle of beer. In the oven for five hours at 275 with lid on and serve with mashed potatoes.

        The second is this recipe that I found: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Por...
        I followed the recipe exactly, except I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes and squished them up instead of the stewed tomatoes. It comes out almost like a stew and is perfect with buttered noodles, rice or gnocchi.

        1. That's the same as Boston Butt, right? I've made it twice using Chow's recipe from their "Cuban Christmas" article (which I can't seem to find online). It uses an oil-based marinade which can get a bit messy, but tastes fantastic.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Raedia

            Yes, I do believe it is the same cut.

            1. re: QueenB

              The picnic is the hock (foot) end of the leg. The butt is the top end of the leg. Together they are a whole pork shoulder. I smoked a whole shoulder for a club barbeque last year. What a mountain of meat, 23 lbs. Had to lose about 4" off the hock to fit it on my grill. In St. Louis, where most of the butt is sliced into pork steaks, it fetches a higher price than the picnic.

              Cooking methods I like:
              1) rubbed with Elder Ward's rub and smoked low and slow for pulled pork
              2) marinated with mojo for lechon asado.

          2. Here in the Midwest we can sometimes get pork shoulder/pork butt, for 99 cents a lb.! A great value. I sear it and place in a crock pot with garlic, bay, S& P. Cool it and remove fat, take the meat off the bones and shred. Add any sauce you like --I've been enjoying a NC type BBQ sauce--vinegar, hot pepper, or your fave homemade BBQ sauce. Now, I know it's not "true" BBQ, but with a college age son, and daughter, a great big dinner for them to take home, or share here. Put it on a bun, with coleslaw, beans on the side and other good stuff and you've got an inexpensive, tasty meal that'll feed a 19 year old for 5 days...

            1. I love the shoulder too -- I cook it using the Joy of cooking method. First i cover it in a dry rub, then brown the outsides, then I throw it in the oven either in a pan covered in foil, or in the Cocotte at 225 for about 5 hours. The fat melts away and cooks the meat, and you are left with a tender, falling apart piece of meat.
              mmm....

              5 Replies
              1. re: Marianna215

                I always consult On Food and Cooking for my braising-- sear the meat as usual, and build your braising liquid. Then add the whole shebang to an unheated oven. Once it's in place, turn the oven up to 200. After a few hours, turn it up to 250 max. I like to take it out after about 5 hours, let it cool, put it in the fridge overnight (the benefit being this makes it easy to skim the surface of congealed fat), and then return it to the oven for another few hours the next day. THEN let the meat cool in the liquid, remove it, and reduce the stock.

                1. re: GJWhite

                  Cook it fat side up...so that as it cooks, the fat permeates the meat and makes it meltingly tender. Cook in a smoker or oven at 225 for 10 or so hours(for an 8 pounder) Let stand for 30 minutes or so for the juices to contract back into the meat. Then shred the meat and toss with your fav BBQ sauce and ...look out. Do not shred the meat until the minute you are ready to eat....this is almost as good as sex

                  1. re: nyfoodjoe

                    Pork Butt (the name is goes by here) or Pork Shoulder is really good cut of meat that goes a long way to feed your family. I usually buy an extra large one, halve it, saving the other half in the freezer for another day.

                    I love to put it in my slow cooker, with my special seasonings, onions, garlic and serrano chilies. I cook it all day long and then add Mexican ingredients about an hour and a half prior to serving.
                    It makes the best burriotos, pork chili colorado and tacos ever. If you trim the fat first, you reduce the fat a great deal.

                    I also use this cut when making black eyed peas. Comfort food at its finest. Such good stuff and then top the bowl of blackeyed peas with all sorts of healthy fresh veggies and cheeses, sour cream toppings,and honestly, there is nothing better.

                    Another way is adding my own BBQ sauce, let it cook with all the ingredients, and make pulled pork sandwiches on french rolls to dip in BBQ sauce. Then I make homemade french fries in the fyer or an onion blossom.
                    The nice thing is that you can pull the inside of the slow cooker out and chill it, then skim the fat off once its solidified. Start this way and you can always switch it to the desired recipe.
                    Any recipes are available.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Oh or you can marinate it. Cute it into cubes, put in a huge container that will hold wine, vinegar, onion,lots of garlic, water, bay, oregano salt pepper and red chili pepper flakes and or whole dried red chilies. After a few days, drain and saute the pork and onions, put in a casserol dish, place either portugese rolls, or french rolls on top, set the oven for 325 for about 15 minutes, and the heat steams the rolls, and you take the pork and put it on the roll.
                      I learne dthis from several Portugese families that taught me this years ago, and it is referred to as Vino D'Alhos. i don't know if its a true Portugese dish or if it is a Regional Dish to the Bay Area. So rich though. I make it a couple times a year.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        special seasonings? do tell

                2. In the LA area where I live, pork shoulder frequently goes on sale for 60-80 cents/lb.

                  I first trim away the outside layer of fat. Then I salt it and put it in the crockpot on low heat for 11 hours or until it is fork tender. Sometimes I brown it first but not always. I don't normally add add anything else to the crockpot. A pork shoulder has enough flavor for it to stand on its own.

                  1. I'm going to attempt to make char siu this weekend with a pork shoulder.
                    My first try, so we'll see how it goes!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: QueenB

                      Good stuff!

                    2. Brown well in hot olive oil - remove meat from dutch oven, leave drippings to sweat large amounts of chopped onion, carrot and fennel - way more than you think you need - they make the sauce very sweet. Make sure to season meat and vegetables with plenty of salt and pepper. When vegetables are soft, replace meat, add white wine (dry and unaoked) to go 1/3 to 1/2 way up sides of meat and a good amount of grainy mustard. Don't overdo the mustard or the sauce will be too vinegary. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and cover, cooking on stovetop and barest simmer for many hours (5-7 is usual for me). When meat is fork tender, remove. Puree sauce and reduce to desired consistency/intensity. I adapted this recipe from something I had at Trattoria Ivan outside of Parma.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: beef

                        Wow this does sound good. How much is a good amount of mustard but not too much, like a tablespoon? More? Do you do this with a whole shoulder?

                      2. I'm smoking a pair of 4 lb. shoulders today. They've been sitting in a salt brine with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (not just a song, they actually taste good together) since Tuesday and were rubbed with brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, cinnamon, and chili powder on Friday night. They will be indirect-cooked on the grill with hickory and mesquite wood chips at 225-250F to an internal temp of 195-200F (about 6 hours). They will fall apart and be served on buns with optional home-made pepper sauce. That's good eatin'.

                        I rarely pay more than $1.29/lb. Watch for sales in local stores.