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ISO something different to do with pork shoulder roast

I have a four pound boneless pork shoulder roast that I want to cook today but would like something different. I could do carnitas or posole but those aren't singing to me today. I'm looking at Hazan's Stewed Pork with Porcini Mushrooms and Juniper or her Roast Pork wih Vinegar and Bay Leaves. Haven't fixed either of those before and would love to hear if any of you have. Also do you have any other suggestions? It's snowing here and we'll have almost blizzard conditions by late afternoon so I want to make my dash to the grocery (and the library!) sooner rather than later. I'm thinking soft polenta accompaniment. Thanks in advance and happy holidays.

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  1. I think I've posted this here before - it calls for a bigger roast than you have, but I've made it with a four-pounder and it came out well. Delicious.

    SLOW-ROASTED PORK SHOULDER (adapted from the LA Times)

    10 peeled cloves garlic

    1/2 cup fennel seeds

    2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    5 to 6 crumbled small dried red chiles, incl. seeds

    1 pork shoulder butt, bone-in or boneless (about 6 to 7 pounds)

    1/2 cup hot water

    Juice of 1 lemon

    1/2 cup chicken broth

    olive oil

    1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and fennel seeds and mix them together. Add the salt, pepper and chiles and combine.

    2. Cut 1-inch wide slits all over the surface including top and bottom of meat. Rub the garlic-seed mixture into the slits.

    3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven. Sear the meat on all sides over medium-low heat for about 10 to 12 minutes. Don't burn the garlic!.

    4. Remove the roast from the pot, add the hot water, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan. Place a rack in the bottom of the pan, add the meat, fat side up, and roast uncovered for 30 minutes.

    5. Pour the lemon juice and the chicken broth over the meat. Brush with more olive oil.

    6. Reduce the heat to 250 degrees, cover the pan and roast the meat 8 to 10 hours, occasionally basting with pan juices. The roast will be done when the meat falls apart when poked with a fork.

    7. Remove the roast from the pot and place it on a serving platter. Skim the fat from the pan drippings and serve these on the side or drizzled over the meat.

    45 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Ooh, that sounds good. Did you reduce the cooking time somewhat or a lot when using a smaller roast? Thank, Will.

      1. re: c oliver

        Doing a long, slow cooking like that has many benefits, aside from just making the house smell really good ;-) The main one, I think, is that you have plenty of time to check your internal temperature (the roast's, that is!). You want it to reach and maintain about 190º for several hours, in order for all that fat and connective tissue to melt. I'd start checking after maybe four hours - you're going to want to do some basting every hour or two anyway - and then when it does come up to that you'll probably have another two or three to go. Here's the thing: it will be perfectly edible long before it's perfect, so if you're all starving you really don't need to wait! And I do think polenta sounds lovely with it; I'd want to do some cavolo nero with it, too, but at this late date would have to make do with collards or something.

        1. re: Will Owen

          After reading some of your posts today, I'd have to say that Mrs. O is one lucky woman - I love everything you write about!

          I have a recipe for pork cooked with apricots and prunes that I'm anxious to try - calls for 4 pounds of pork shoulder! It is from an old Bon Appetit, from the look of my cut recipe so should be easy to find. on Epicurious This is too late for you, CO, but maybe another time. Should be good with polenta, too. I was contemplating for tomorrow's dinner but hubby is making his killer mac n cheese instead - look out arteries.

            1. re: sbgirl

              LOL - or HOHOHO! The "c" stands for Catherine :) And Mr. O is actually Mr. Cameron as we have different last names (very modern, ya know). But thanks for the compliment. I feel overwhelmed at times in this group. Among my friends, I'd rate myself an above average cook but this crowd is WAY beyond me most of the time. But, hey, I can read and I have an open mind so consider me your sponge.

            2. re: Will Owen

              It's up to 190 after 4-5 hours and so it will cook on. But I have to tell you, from the "little" nibblings I've been doing this is shaping up to be the best pork roast I've ever tasted. Can't wait til dinner. Thanks, Will.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Finally doing this today. Wound up the first roast around doing an all-pork Bolognese. Question. The only rack I have is too large to fit any of my Dutch ovens. Do you think a large, metal steamer would be fine? Thanks, Will.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Okay, I've gave a preview of this yesterday afternoon and now the followup. I've never had a better pork roast - and I've had and cooked a lot. It's so easy, so moist, so forgiving. And the flavors are fabulous. Fennel, garlic, red chilis. Ooh la la :) And then today we had sandwiches with it. Just mayo and good sourdough. Will, thank you SO much for sharing this. I will be passing it along and giving you all the credit.

              1. re: c oliver

                C Oliver, What would your recommendation be for making this the day before? I was thinking of making it on a sunday to eat on monday night.

                1. re: cassoulady

                  I would definitely do it the day before. Mine was actually quite done a couple of hours before dinner so I reheated. Additionally the "jus" is loaded with fat - after all those hours. So removing the meat and chilling the sauce produced ALOT. I'm different than a lot of people - just ask my enemies! - and use my micro for reheating. I use 50% power and will do even seconds at a time if it's something really small. I took enough off for our meal (just two of us), reheated maybe a total of a minute of so and then sliced. I never overcook it that way and I've even done rare beef. As you can imagine, at that point it doesn't exactly "slice" but who cares :) Check out thew's polenta done in the oven. Was a perfect combo Making me hungry. Enjoy.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    c oliver, I'm glad to have been able to contribute to your feast. And Yes, this is a piece of meat that behaves kind of like a stew: the oftener it's reheated the better it gets (within reason, of course).

                    I have a cake rack that's a perfect fit in my round pots, but was too wide for either the medium gratin pan I use for roasting (I have an oval rack for the big pan) or the oval enamelled pots. So one day I had a flash of cleverness and got my wire cutters out of the toolbox and trimmed the wire rim off two sides right where the first cross wires join it. So it still works in the round pots, and fits the oval ones as well. Since then I've found a smaller round rack that fits the oval pots, but can you really have too many racks? You never know when you might be doing two roasts at once!

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Thought you'd like to know I'm fixing this again today to take to a friend's for dinner tomorrow. He's on crutches and is the cook in the family. You might also be interested in going to the wine board where I posted ISO a pairing. A number of great sounding combos. BTW, found a larger roast this time, closer to 7#. That way I won't feel guilty if I don't leave ALL the leftovers at our friend's. And yes every drop of that sauce got eaten with every morsel of the pork. Can't wait for a couple of more hours here when it really starts smellin' good. Thanks again, Will --- oh yeah, AND the LA TImes :)

                    2. re: c oliver

                      Addendum: While we're at it, please add some credit to the LA Times test kitchen. That's where the recipe in its original form came from; they cooked heaven knows how many of these to get things exactly right. I just sliced out a lot of the side commentary and the alternative suggestions, and kept what worked best for me.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        If you insist :) Very humble of you. Already looking forward to having it for dinner again tomorrow. And if the "jus" outlives the meat, it won't be thrown out. Even cold, I don't mind sticking my finger in and having a lick :)

                2. re: Will Owen

                  Okay, so at any opportunity I rave about this dish. I LOVE IT! Now a NEW question. Do you think I could do this exact same recipe (the fennel, garlic, chile flakes) with a 5+# bone-in LAMB shoulder? They had them on special this week. If not the same seasonings, then what? Would the techique work? Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    You aren't going to have the same blessed loading of fat in a lamb shoulder, but it should braise nicely. I have no experience doing that; I haven't found many bone-in lamb shoulders here in LA County, but I used to get them sometimes in Nashville, and just season them, poke garlic in all over the place, and then roast at fairly high heat. Yes, they were chewy, but I loved'em, especially the ones that had a stretch of ribs on the bottom. However, that recipe I posted for a lamb and potato stew introduced me to braised shoulder meat, and I think that could be modified as a sort of Greek-accented lamb pot roast...

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I looked for the lamb and potato stew but couldn't find it. Could you guide me to it please?

                      The lamb a la pork shoulder-style is in the oven. I used the fennel seed and garlic but not the chilies. Didn't have a lemon so used a lime. I'll report back tonight.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        It's here:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640164

                        I had the times a bit wrong - at the end you're supposed to take the lid off for just five or ten minutes at the elevated temperature, not fifteen. Anyway, this is very good. The cumin surprised me, but I went with it and it worked.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Thanks for that. I think it was that book that gave you and then me the Greek potato salad which I loved. Trying to not spend money but may NEED that one :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Just made a giant batch of that for a party last weekend. Kind of a mistake - it's hard to do properly in a home kitchen with more than a couple of pounds of potatoes - but that trick of soaking the onion is wonderful. Even onion haters love them.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          This lamb shoulder roast is, if possible, even better than the pork!!! The best lamb I've ever tasted. It actually had a rather pronounced cap of fat and plenty of fat throughout it. Will, you must try this since it's your stepchild :) I got this at SaveMart which used to be Albertson's. They had it on special but only had the "chops" out in the case. But they cut me a 5+# roast. It took about 6 hours. I'm going to post this on a new thread and reference your/LAT's basic recipe. As usual, thanks.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            For a minute I thought you meant it took them six hours to cut the 5 # roast. I was thinking "wow.. what.... service.... "

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              Oops :) The mods call it "self-editting." I should do it more often, eh?

                        3. re: Will Owen

                          It should work . . . I've done a couple of those long-slow-roasted lamb recipes in Patricia Wells' various books over the years. One had "7 or 8-hr roasted lamb" in the title. There wasn't a scrap left which kind of embarrassed me b/c I was worried people maybe didn't get enough. I think there was more shrinkage than you might have had with the pork. I was pretty mortified when I took the thing (a leg) from the oven, saw the size of it, looked at the number of set places at the table and crossed my fingers. Another time I did her lamb recipe over the sliced potatoes, tomatoes, herbs and garlic (the meat juices drip into the veg). Not as much shrinkage (slow cooked but not AS slow as the first), but still - someone was actually picking at the serving dish to get the last bit of potato out of it. I go into so much detail to spare you potential similar chagrin at underfed guests with slow-roasted lamb.

                          P.S. sorry I must have posted this in the wrong place since obviously you've already done it . . . never mind!

                      2. re: Will Owen

                        What do you think about trying this with "lean" pork belly? I'm the only one who eats it in my house, so I. need smaller portions.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Been meaning to share a little story. We were in Rio about a month ago and I bought what I was sure was a pork roast. Hey, it had a pig picture on the bad (this was pre-wrapped in the grocery). Plenty of fat. I don't have a DO there (yet) so I did a modified version. I cooked it through the high temp in the oven and then transferred to the slow cooker (which I do have). I don't know about other people but I just love picking the little brown crunchies off after it's done but before serving. Bob and I were making those little moaning noise. Just as good as ever. Well, when I sliced it I found out it was HAM!!!! The best damn ham I ever ate. What a recipe to be famous for, WO.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            How funny co, when reading over the recipe I was thinking of the slow cooker for the long cooking portion. Our stove and dryer run off a 5gal propane so I'm very conservative with its use. So glad to see it will work perfectly.

                          2. re: Will Owen

                            I'm inspired to make this this weekend! Can anyone tell me if the dried red chiles make the dish spicy? A couple of my family members can handle a tiny bit of spice, but no more. Thanks!

                            1. re: goodeatsgal

                              Because of the amount of time it cooks, I don't think it's terribly spicy. But you could leave it out as I did when I made it with lamb shoulder. I find the garlic and fennel seed more noticeable than the chiles. It's SUCH a great dish.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Okay, maybe I'll just put in 1 or 2. Personally, I love spice! Thanks and I can't wait to make this.

                            2. re: Will Owen

                              Our daughter called this morning from SF and asked me to tell you that she's fixing "Will Owen's pork shoulder roast" (again) for a dinner party tonight! I told her that I believe you have 500ish cookbooks and she wondered if you have a 'library.' Your legend grows :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Oh, yeah, and my pointy head right with it! But really, I'm just the evangelist here, as most of are on these boards. The pointing finger is not the moon, and all that.

                                The important thing is that we keep looking, and cooking, and figuring out where else we can go. rvgregerson, below, has a brilliant variation which I would try IF I could get Mrs. O to accept fennel as a food item - she will tolerate the wild fronds as a court-bouillon ingredient - and if she had not recently decided not to eat animals (thanks EVER so much, Jonathan Safran Froer!). But I would urge the rest of you to pursue this to your heart and tummy's content.

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                Making this weekend...I don't have a rack that fits into my dutch oven...which is better, using a roasting pan with rack and cover with foil or use the dutch oven without a rack?

                                1. re: flfoodie2

                                  I'm not WO but I use a "doughnut ring" of foil. I've made this at least a dozen times and it's been great. Glad you're trying it. Let us know.

                                2. re: Will Owen

                                  I had been meaning to prepare this for a while and finally got the chance yesterday. It was indeed fantastic. If I may be so bold as to offer improvements, I would say that the following were good additions:

                                  I added two bulbs of fennel root, sliced, and a couple of apples cut into chunks, as well as onions and more garlic. I also added a good deal more liquid (chicken broth, white wine, and apple vinegar (would have used cider but I live in Italy and it's not available)). With the added liquid it cooked up quite a bit faster and was falling-apart tender after less than four hours of the long and slow process. I then removed the meat and rapidly reduced the liquid into an absolutely delicious sauce. You can mash all the liquid out of the vegetables or serve the fennel alongside the pork (which is really great, because it's picked up all sorts of great pork flavor).

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Gotta update you, Will Owen. As I've mentioned here, our SF daughter started making this a few years ago also. It's now HER go-to and recently she passed it on to her TN in-laws. Your fame spreads :) I'm guessing though that since your wife went vegetarian, it doesn't get made so much in your house. I buy the huge (14-15#) packages at Costco. Half gets ground and the other half is frozen for this.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Here it is August 2013 and another convert was christened today. Our Seattle daughter and grandson have been here almost a week. She's "reunion'ing" with some friends at a nearby house and volunteered to cook the first night's dinner. I recommended WO's pork shoulder. She fixed it this morning and is pretty wowed by it. It was impossible for us not to pull a few bits and pieces off :) Thanks as always.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        I made this for the umpteenth time recently and actually took some pix, beginning to end. If you haven't made this, please do.

                                         
                                         
                                         
                                         
                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            I bow with pleasure :) We're still eating on it even after sending our friends home with a good-sized chunk. Makes great sandwiches by heating just enough to remove the bigger pieces of fat which the dogs love.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              just a thought....I find it ironic you made something for the umpteenth time.....posted on a thread entitled....ISO something different to do with PS Roast.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                Well, five years later I'm no longer ISO but it's still different :) And THE best prep of pork shoulder I've ever done!

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to the WO pork shoulder for the development of what is probably my best recipe. Basically, I've been applying the same technique to pork belly, only stacking the belly on top of thick rings of fennel, onion, and apple in order not to have it too immersed in the liquid (which in this case I've substituted with mostly apple cider vinegar -- a little white wine too, sometimes chicken broth). Once it's just about to fall apart, remove to the fridge to cool. (You can use the braising vegetables in a savory tart with some brie.) Skim and reduce braising liquids into a sauce. Once it has firmed up you can better cut it into individual serving pieces and reheat in a skillet, flaming with brandy. Try it -- your guests will be stunned. The contrast of the sweetness of the fennel with the bitterness of the vinegar, which also cuts through the fat of the belly, is just terrific.

                                          1. re: rvgregerson

                                            WOW!!! Talk about taking something to the next level. Kudos to you.

                                        2. I am a great fan of braising pork shoulder, and there are so many variations on braises that pork adapts superbly to. Hazan's pork braised in milk with juniper berries is so good (and so is the chicken version her son published in "Every Night Italian") Still, my favorite pork shoulder braise uses mushrooms, vermouth, onions, garlic and herbs. Brown the roast. Pour off excess fat and in the same pan saute a generous amount of onions and add a bit of garlic in the last minute. You can also add a bit of tomato paste if you like. Meanwhile, hydrate a good mixture of dried mushrooms--such as the Costco version. You can stretch it with sliced portobello or crimini mushrooms if you like. I hydrate the dried 'shrooms in vermouth or a good dry white wine. Put the joint of meat in a braising pan with the onion mixture and add your favorite herb mix--I like fresh thyme, basil, rosemary and bay leaf. Pepper. Maybe some coriander seed or a scraping of lemon zest (depending on your herbs and your whim). Add enough broth or water to bring the liquid 1/3 up the meat. Cover well-seal with foil if your lid does not have a tight fit. Cook in a slow oven--usually these are cooked at about 325, but we did a ten pound roast recently at 250, cooking it for seven hours. (Check half way to make sure the liquid does not all evaporate and turn it if you like..) We let it cool in its juices and sliced and reheated it with the juices over it. So good.
                                          Or you can go tropical. Pineapple juice, oregano, onions, garlic, and rum go so well.

                                          1. I have posted this before but will do it again. I love Mark Bittman's Pork Vindaloo recipe

                                            Adapted from Best Recipes of the World; it calls for mustard oil but I use dry mustard.

                                            2 Tablespoons of olive oil
                                            1 Tablespoon minced garlic
                                            1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
                                            1 teaspoon ground coriander
                                            ½ teaspoon black pepper
                                            salt to taste
                                            1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                                            pinch of ground cloves
                                            1 teaspoon dry mustard
                                            1 teaspoon ground cardamom
                                            1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
                                            2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder (picnic or Boston butt) cut into chunks
                                            ½ cup rice wine vinegar or other mild vinegar

                                            Put oil in large skillet on medium, add all ingredients except pork and vinegar, cook stirring for a minute or two.

                                            Add the pork and vinegar, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat so it simmers gently then cover and cook until the pork is tender, at least an hour. Stir from time to time. If the sauce dries out, add some water.

                                            Garnish with cilantro.

                                            1. I think I must use the Owen method for the pork shoulder I just bought. It sounds fantastic.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                It is my favorite preparation. I've been making in now for almost a year and I never get tired of it.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Well, I've been making Will Owen's pork shoulder roast recipe for a year now and have one in the oven as I type this. Also just sent the recipe to one of our daughters who was complaining in SF last week that I keep promising but not sending :) We're doing late Southern NY's dinner so will have it with black-eyed peas, rice and collards. Oh yeah.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I've got my first one in the oven today! Thanks for FINALLY sharing ;)

                                                    1. re: acsklad

                                                      Hey everybody, this is my "favorite" daughter!!! Actually "step" and she's fixing this for her "real" mom's birthday dinner. And welcome to CH. But your dad and I were saying that you're WAY too busy for CH :) xxx,,c

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Another successful pork shoulder w/ creamy polenta dinner can be added to the record books. Special thanks to my favorite wicked Stepmother (C Oliver), Will Owen, the LA Times and Thew! All the guests raved and the B-Day girl could not have been more pleased. I've already had to pass the recipes along to everyone. Looking forward to many more CH inspired meals. Cheers!

                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                    I finally did mine this weekend, too. I made a few modifications to the recipe but kept the technique exactly as posted. It was fantastic!

                                                    My modifications were made because I had no fennel and wanted something a little southwestern-flavored (first use of the pork was going to be for tacos). I'd made some ancho-chipotle rub a little while back so I mixed that with the crushed garlic and pressed it into the slits in the pork. I didn't use the lemon juice because I was using a cast iron (no enamel) dutch oven. Other than that, followed the directions.

                                                    I've never had pork shoulder cook so perfectly. The meat was tender and juicy and delicious. After just 9 hours, it shredded very easily. Mmmm. I will definitely be doing this again. Next time, I'll try the recipe as written.

                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                      As I noted above, my daughter made it this weekend also and the feedback I got from her was "excellent, excellent, excellent." Along with other comments. I keep meaning to use different herbs and spices but haven't yet. It IS a keeper, isn't it?

                                                2. Browned, braised with kraut, apples and onions, and boiled potatoes for the finish, or with spatzlees!