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Oct 31, 2007 07:12 AM

how to cook 10lbs of pork shoulder?

Does anyone have clue as to how to prep and cook a 10lb pork shoulder? I am getting one from fresh direct (which is amazing by the way!) and would like to make something called "fresh ham". But how do you tenderize or how much heat? Thank you so much for your help chowhounders!


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  1. not to sound too cheesy, but cook it slow and low. i find everytime i cook pork shoulder, i just turn my oven to the lowest setting possible and leave it in there for at least 8 hours(making carnitas). obviously the time does depend on hour big your pork is and how you want it cooked. a good rule of thumb is to cook it 30 minutes per pound @ 350°. thusly 5 hours would do the trick. you can put a dry rub on it or even brine it overnight. hope this helps!

    5 Replies
    1. re: artfuldestruct

      wow, I am always so pleased with the advice you chowhounders give me. Thank you for that awesome instruction. I will do the 5 hour trick. I greatly appreciate your knowledge!

      1. re: sukmon

        i actually did this with a pork shoulder for 24 hours. It did need salt, though, the recipe didn't call for it, but it definitely needed it. I put the oven on a high temp for an hour, then on 250 until the middle of the following day. It was fantastic. We went crazy for it.

        1. re: sukmon

          Don't forget to turn the oven to high ( or put on broil) after the roast is cooked to make sure the skin is nice and crispy. I have a 6 pounder in the freezer that I can't wait to cook. Had the butcher take out the bone, so I will make a stuffing with apples, bread and spices. So good!

          1. re: elgordoboy

            no it goes down to 200°, but i suggested the cooking at 350° for a medium rare cooking. when making carnitas i usually put a dry rub of spices and brown sugar and roast at 200° for at least 8 hours. just two different recipes. also i have noticed that when you roast that long at that temp the outside does get crispy(however this does depend on the size of the pork). i usually shred it up after that and fry in a little butter to make tacos.

        2. I like to do it the " Jamaican" way: coat the butt (or pork shoulder) in jerk spices and marinate in Dr. Pepper or Coke. Sounds strange, I know, but the carbonation really tenderizes the meat and the sugar caramelizes everything. I leave a little of the marinade in the roasting pan and then cook covered about 6 hours, turning occasionally. Then I uncover for an hour to get a nice crispy skin. If you remove the fat from the left over juice it is a nice base for a BBQ sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tbear

            A barbeque pork rib rub with brown sugar also works, you could use apple juice with some pepper if a liquid is needed, and finish with some bbq sauce. You could even cut it up like those "country style" rib meat that you see, or cut them into pork steaks, etc.

          2. Make Pernil!!! just google and you will get tons of recipes. Or you can just bring to boil and simmer couple hours until tender and slice ans serve w brown gravy-simple and delicious. I would go the pernil route tho

            2 Replies
            1. re: UES Mayor

              I must agree with the pernil suggestion, though I rarely work with one that size ... more like 4-6 pounds. Whatever you decide, you're going to need a pig pan.

              1. re: NYChristopher

                A lot of cryovac pork shoulders come 2 in a package. I wouldn't be surprised if Sukmon finds 2 5lb shoulders.

            2. wow. we need to straighten out a few things here.

              A pork shoulder usually refers to an entire front shoulder, which includes the picnic (lower portion) and the butt (upper portion). Either alone go about 6 lbs, together, 10-12 or more. This cut is usually used for either pulled pork (slow BBQ) or roasted pork (in the oven, similar to BBQ without the wood).

              The rear section is referred to as the picnic, and is where the hams come from. Fresh ham is different from the results of a front shoulder. So you may want to be sure which cut you're getting.

              You can not simply put a shoulder, or portion thereof, into a 350 oven and be certain it will be done in 5 hrs. In BBQ, they say "it's done when it's done..." in the case of shoulders, when the internal temp reaches about 200. If you cook on a smoker at 225, it could likely take a good 10-12 hrs or more. If you cook in the oven, I would still not go over 275-300 on the temp... you need to break down the tough collagen in that shoulder (which is where the flavor is), and that takes a long time. You dont want to turn the exterior into moon rocks before you achieve the goal inside.

              Hit that shoulder with a nice rub, make up some vinegar sauce on the side, and go low and slow. Let it rest, pull it apart, and add some sauce. Lovely. But don't expect a ham, unless you're using a rear picnic.

              6 Replies
              1. re: woodburner

                All the advice so far is excellent. I would only add that if you don't want to cook all 10 lbs at once, you can cut it into portions and freeze for later use. I'm cooking part of a ham (4 lbs) today -- soaked it overnight at remove salt and put it in the slow cooker today, covered with apple cider. Can't wait to get home for dinner!

                1. re: woodburner

                  Woodburner, you cook to an internal temperature of 200 degrees F?

                  I also keep the temperature very low -- at 225 degrees F -- and use a spice rub of pimenton (smoked paprika), salt, brown sugar, and small amounts of chili powder and instant espresso. It's very good.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    200, you bet! In traditional BBQ, pork shoulder and beef brisket as well goes to about 190-200 internal. Both of those cuts have lots of tough collagen that only starts to break down around 170... at that point, the fat starts to melt and deliver flavor, and the meat is fall apart tender at around 190-200. Some people do pork butt to about 170-180 for slicing, but it is primo and super tender at 190-200. Very different than less fatty cuts... I do whole beef fillet and rib roasts to about 130 internal, which carries up to about 140, for a nice med-rare.

                    What temps do you take pork butt to?

                    1. re: woodburner

                      I'm pleased that you ask.

                      I have no idea. That is a lack of data on my part, because I own three Insta-Time
                      temp gauges and use them frequently but never has a one pierced my pork butt.
                      Perhaps I haven't totally erred -- I've roasted low and slow with a good spice rub for a certain number of minutes per pound (this is usally 4-6 hours) but I can see that your precision has merits. I'm gettin' a temp on my pork butt next time, you betcha, woodburner.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        yeah, girl! the other way to check doneness is, of course, to tug and twist the bones that are in the picnic and the butt... when they twist and pull out of the butt, then it is done.

                  2. re: woodburner

                    Sorry woodburner, you are of course correct. I tried both the picnic and the butt for a few pernils I made this year and had to learn the difference. I must have assumed sukmon was working with one or the other but not the whole shebang.

                  3. Russ Parsons of the LA Times is a big proponent of this cut of meat. He says to score the outside and roast it low and slow. The meat stays moist and the skin crisps up like bacon. He has written a couple of articles about this. Here is a link to his recipe that was in an article on the top ten ten recipes of 2005 from the LA Times: (If this link doesn't work, let me know and I'll figure out how to get it to you.)