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Help with dinner: pork shoulder + ?

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I'd like to roast a pork shoulder (3.2 kilos) and serve with a black bean mango salsa (with cilantro, jalopeno). Two questions:

1) How do you suggest doing the pork shoulder? Crock pot or slow roast in the oven? (This is for tomorrow so time isn't an issue.)

2) What starch to serve on the side? It occurred to me that sweet potato would go well, but I don't want to go back to the store. I have: rice, egg noodles, pasta, pearl barley, pot barley, two old and smallish potatoes and oatmeal :-)

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. I've made a marinade of tequila, fresh lime juice and cilantro for chicken that would probably work well with pork, too. And earlier this week, I cooked a pork shoulder in a crock pot for the first time and was really pleased with the tenderness of the meat. Maybe rub the pork with cumin, salt & pepper. Cayenne if you like spiciness. Cut up an onion into quarters and place the pieces on the bottom of the crock pot. Place the meat over the onions. Put a cup of golden tequila, a cut up lime or two, and a bunch of chopped cilantro in there too.

    I don't know how big your shoulder is, but mine was about 4 lbs. I cooked it on high for 4 hours, turning once. Then deboned and defatted the meat and cooked another 2 hours on low.

    1. I really like pork shoulder slow-roasted in the oven. The outside gets that crispy texture that you just don't get in the crock pot.

      I'd rub your pork shoulder with a mixture of spices such as cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Add a bit of chili powder if you want. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. Roast at 300F (~150C), covered for four hours. (You can roast on a bed of onions for extra flavor) Then, uncover and roast for another hour. At this point, check the meat, it should be shredding easily and be juicy and tender. If it isn't, cook more and check in half-hour intervals until it does.

      I'd serve with Robert Lauriston's recipe for cilantro rice
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32878...

      Enjoy! Pork shoulder is one of my favorite roasts!

      1 Reply
      1. re: QueenB

        I really REALLY second tghe slow roast in the oven, cannot beat that crispy outside, at all. And the rice is a great idea, and think of the leftovers, you can make tacos or salad to take to lunch etc.

      2. Excellent, mojoeater and QueenB. Thanks so much for the ideas... now to decide to go crockpot or traditional oven. I'm very excited (and impatient!) since it's my first time cooking it. Great call on the cilantro rice. Thanks again.

        P.S. Do you do anything in particular with the skin (e.g. cracklings), or do you leave it intact?

        4 Replies
        1. re: littlegreenpea

          I'm sure your pork roast will come out perfectly. Shoulder is one of the easiest things I've found to cook and it hardly takes any work on your part. Funny that mojoeater and I had the basic same suggestion! It's really up to you whether you want to go crockpot or oven. If you've got other things you need to put in the oven, go the crockpot way, because that roast will take up a big chunk of oven time.

          I've never done anything with the skin except (shame on me) picking at it as I shred the meat, popping nice crispy pieces into my mouth.

          The biggest thing I can recommend is throw that dry rub on it today and let it work it's way into your meat.

          1. re: QueenB

            I cook my pork shoulder in the oven @ 250 degrees for 8 hours. I use a spicey dry rub overnight, similar to QueenB but I add brown sugar to the rub and it makes an irrestibly sweet, crunchy crust. My family all want a piece of that crispy skin. I serve it with cole slaw and jalapeno corn bread. (Trader Joe makes the best corn bread mix - just add jalapenos and bake.)

          2. re: littlegreenpea

            I use the crockpot, something about cooking that wonderful cut of pork, all day long. The cumin, onion, bay, herbs de provence, salt pepper, and serrano chilies. If it ever makes it to the next stage, it makes the most wonderful colorado or green chilie burritos. Or any bean stew. Lima, or my favorite, black eyed peas.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              i agree with using a clow cooker...don't season it...cook 8-10 hours with no extra liquids, just the pork
              after it cooks, shred it with forks...take out as much as you want and freeze it in a couple of meal-sized portions
              with the remaining pork, pour in a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce and reheat it for pulled pork sandwiches
              use the frozen portions for filling tacos/burritos/enchiladas...etc. using different flavorings for subsequent meals so you won't get tired of the meat

          3. Cochinita Pibil
            3 oz. achiote paste
            12 cloves peeled garlic
            1 medium onion, chopped
            2 tsp ground allspice
            2 tbl. toasted dried Mexican oregano
            1 tsp. cumin
            2 tsp cracked black pepper
            6 bay leaves
            2 tbl. Worcestershire sauce
            Juice of 2 limes
            Juice of 1 orange
            1/4 c apple cider vinegar
            2 tbl. vegetable oil
            1 tsp salt
            Combine all the above in a blender or food processor til smoothish. Place pork in a large freezer bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag and turn several times to distribute the marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
            Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
            Line a heavy roasting pan with foil. Place the pork fat-side-up in the pan and pour 1/2 cup of the marinade over the top of the meat. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 5-6 hours. Meat should be fall-apart tender. Allow to cool for 20 minutes prior to serving.
            this would be great with your black bean mango salsa and pickled red onions. The sweet potatoes are very traditional here in Mexico or a rice dish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pampatz

              Mmmm. I'll have to give that a try once I find all the ingredients (achiote paste?).

            2. gosh you guys, you're making me hungry woo! i love the cuban/caribbean flavors being thrown about for the pork shoulder. i love that cut of meat too and make other recipes with it. but if littlegreenpea sticks with the cuban style, don't forget the vinegar marinated fresh onion rings to serve with it. sour-sweet crunchy onions with cuban roast pork, someone slap me!

              2 Replies
              1. re: PakaloloDreams

                Are they just plain-old onion rings, wher the onions have been first marinated in vinegar? What kind of vinegar?

                1. re: littlegreenpea

                  well, actually you would use a sour orange (which are hard to find) and garlic mojo marinade (which is used to marinate beef, chicken, pork, etc) to marinate either quick roasted onions or raw onions. if i can't find sour orange, use a mixture of lime/lemon juice, or a fruit-based vinegar (red wine vinegar, apple cider, etc.) mix some sugar (honey yum) to your sour threshold. doesn't need to soak for long but the longer the better, heh.