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What is your favorite recipe for pork shoulder?

I honestly can tell you I don't think I have EVER cooked this type of pork! I know I have found some recipes for pulled pork, but wondering if you have any that just go over super well with everyone. I have some family coming to dinner Friday and I thought I might try this piece of pork to entertain with.

Any suggestions? Thanks so much!! :)

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  1. I cook pork shoulder fairly frequently. Slow-cooked with simple barbecue seasonings or braised as in http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... results in beautifully tender meat. The former can be pulled and combined with vinegar, liquid smoke and hot sauce for oven pulled pork. I also like roasting it low and slow and then turning the heat high for tender meat and crisp, salty crackling. Pernil is also a flavorful way to shake up the tastebuds.

    When cooking on the stove, I like shoulder for braised dishes like vindaloo or adobo. It is also particularly good in soups, though the gelatinous texture of the fat and skin may take some getting used to.

    1. My mother gave me a frozen one once that sat in my freezer, because there are only two of us and how could we ever eat that much pork? Finally, I needed freezer space so defrosted it. I seasoned it only with salt and pepper, then browned it. I removed it and sauteed onions and garlic. I returned it to the pot, deglazed with wine, threw in chicken broth and bay leaf, and then braised it until it fell into pieces. I intentionally keep the base flavor simple and then made lots of different meals out of it, so that it didn't get boring. I used one batch of the cooked meat in a chipotle and tomato sauce, for burritos. I went more French with one and made a nice tarragon and cider sauce. It gave me a lot of chances to play with the flavor. I don't know if this helps, but I think the general advice I'd give is to braise the heck out of it and just choose the sort of flavor you want. It can fit into so many sorts of dishes. But definitely do the braising the night before so you can remove a lot of the fat!

      1 Reply
      1. re: katecm

        If you have a shoulder that is too big for a small household to consume in one or two meals I would suggest a confit. Brine the shoulder for a day or two in pork/pate spices (fennel, allspice, cinnamon, clove, coriander, juniper, etc.) with some aromatics. Then cook in a very low oven (200 to 250) completely submerged in either duck or pork fat for 6 to 10 hours. You can store this in the refrigerator, covered in the fat for a month or more. Just pull some out when you need it. Crisps up very nicely in a smoking hot cast iron. This is the best way to prepare what may be the best cut on the pig. Especially considering the price of it.
        By the way, maybe we should keep the glory of the butt on the DL, lest the people figure it out and the price doubles.

      2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582610

        The above is a link to a thread of mine from Dec. 2008. Will Owen, the first reply, gave me the best recipe I've probably ever gotten from anyone. I've fixed it approx. ten times and most recently did it with a lamb shoulder. You will LOVE this, I promise.

        15 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          c oliver, this sounds really good. I am cooking an Oktoberfest style menu this weekend for 25. My original plan was a pork butt braised with reisling with a fruit meripoixe of apples, prunes & currants made into a gravy. This roast sounds good and easier. Do you think the flavor would fit a Germany style menu or would the chilis in the rub make it more of a spanish flavor profile? Also I'm making everything at home and transporting it to a cabin with no microwave for reheating. My plan was cook here, go ahead and carve it up, mix in all the drippings or gravy if I stick to my original recipe, and then reheat in the oven. Would that work with this recipe? Are there enough drippings to keep the meat from drying up on the reheat? How long would you reheat it for in a covered aluminun throw-away pan. Thanks

          1. re: JoCreek

            Okay, let me take this step by step :) You can easily leave out the chilis which I did when I made it with lamb. You can definitely reheat. This makes a ton of "jus." By refrigerating it overnight (I actually remove the meat to a separate container) I can remove the substantial amount of fat. It would be very easy to reheat it with the juice in a slow oven covered with foil. Time? Hmm, 300 for an hour? I don't know. If you pull it apart into smaller segments, less time. I LOVE this dish and I LOVE Will Owen for sharing it with me. Feel free to ask any questions.

            1. re: c oliver

              You are a doll for replying so quickly! Thank you so much, as the cooking starts tomorrow. Maybe I'll subsitute majoram for the chilis.

              1. re: c oliver

                Will's posting of Kahlua Pork has rightfully gotten dozens of raves from those who have tried it, and eaten it! It makes wonderful pulled pork sandwiches or taco filling. I cook it overnight in the oven at about 225. It makes the enitre house smell wonderful.

                But your version with the prunes etc sounds terrific! Could you post it for those of us wanting to try something different, pretty please?

            2. re: c oliver

              Do you have preferred things to serve with this? Or do you mix it up each time? In fact, what's your entire menu when you make this, if you don't mind sharing? It seems like the perfect dish now that winter's around the corner.

              1. re: cinnamon girl

                The "jus" (hahaha for those who've read THAT thread) is so delish that to me it cries out for mashed potatoes, risotto or creamy polenta. I'm rather addicted, thanks to MMRuth, to argula with good olive oil, lemon juice, s&p and shaved Parm. Any green veg would work.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Thanks! Mash it is then for the au au jus :-).

                  I love that arugula salad too; if I'm having it after the meal I put in a few toasted pinenuts, btw. They're not even my all-time favourite nut but for some reason are so good w the bitter, astringent (if that's the right description), arugula. I'm going to try the pork with my new brand new pimente d'espelette!

                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                    I'd not heard of that chili. Sounds wonderful. Please report back. I'm terrified that I keep raving about this dish and someday someone's going to say 'oh, yuck.' I'll refer them to Will Owen and the LA Times (original source) :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Ha ha - blame Will. [joking Will Owen]

                      I can't imagine anyone who enjoys pork and braises saying yuk. Only the soulless!

                      Pimente d'Espelette is from the Pays Basque area. I can only find it roughly ground rather than whole which would be preferable here I suspect. It has a might heady aroma; will definitely report back. Thanks for the good info.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Heh, c oliver -- I made the pork roast recipe this weekend with great expectations. And while I enjoyed it, my husband thought the fennel was totally overpowering and he couldn't finish his plate. And I didn't even use the full amount of fennel that the recipe called for (which seemed extreme -- 1/2 cup). I suppose one must really love fennel to love this dish. So I now have 5 pounds of pork shoulder in my refrigerator and only me to eat it. This would normally not be a problem, as I can eat an entire recipe of the Epicurious carnitas recipe on my own, but I do find that I can only eat so much of this recipe before I get tired of the fennel.

                        Did I miss something in the recipe? Or is the fennel flavor part of why you love this recipe?

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          I do love fennel so maybe that's the issue. I don't consider it a bit overwhelming along with the garlic and the chilis. I taste garlic more than the other flavors. I would recommend trying it again someday and using the spices that please you more. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who'd like your leftovers. I'm really sorry it disappointed you. Truly.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Aww, don't take it personally...à chacun son goût! I really like the preparation, so I'm thinking of keeping the garlic and chiles and maybe trying a mix of cumin and ground coriander in place of the fennel.

                            And heck no about sharing, I'll just freeze some of the pork and pull it out later. I still like it, just paced out (which is probably a good thing -- eating a pound of pork at a sitting is not so healthy!). :)

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              BTW, I should mention that I served the pork with some brown rice and a red-wine braised red cabbage. It was a good combination!

                2. re: c oliver

                  c oliver - your thread mentions a Greek potato salad that you and Will Owens like - I searched but couldn't find it. Could you post that recipe please? Thanks.

                  1. re: jns7

                    Sorry for the delay to you and cinnamon girl. I can't find that greek salad any where either. Maybe Will Owen will see this and save the day.

                3. This is not a "please everyone" dish, but I make a jerk paste for pork shoulder, then slow smoke.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sbp

                    pork and jerk paste = heavenly delight

                  2. This is a new staple of mine. It's foolproof and delicious. http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/20...

                    1. This is my favorite way to used pork shoulder. Despite the name, it's really just a stove top carnitas recipe. I use chicken broth in place of some or all of the water in the recipe. It looks gray and unappetizing for about 90% of the cooking time, then at the very end it suddenly transforms into this golden brown, crispy, savory wonder.


                      I've never made either of the salsas in the recipe, the meat is so good on its own that I've never wanted to mask the flavor with anything else.

                      1. I've made a pork and prune ragout flavored with port a couple of times. It's a lighter recipe, from Eating Well, with a nice balance of meat and fruit. Cubed pork shoulder browned in bacon fat (okay, the original recipe didn't call for this!), removed from Dutch oven, onions or shallots and minced ginger sauteed in fat, add vinegar, thyme and brown sugar, add beef broth and return pork to Dutch oven. Cook in oven for 1.5 to 2 hrs. In the meantime, simmer tawny port and prunes for about 10 min. Make a water-cornstarch slurry. When pork is done (it'll be tender), remove pork, add cornstarch slurry and cook until juices are thickened. Then add prune/port mixture, cook through and serve.

                        1. Wow!!! great info everyone! I love all the recipes! Thanks for sharing them with me. I am excited to start a dish, but not tonight! Too late in NJ right now for my dinner!

                          1. Because of its high fat content and marbling, pork shoulder is the classic cut for pulled pork BBQ. Will Owen's recipe also sounds wonderful. I often use pork shoulder for making green chile stew (with New Mexico Hatch chiles, if possible) or posole.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tom Armitage

                              Yep, pork shoulder is a barbecue cut for me. I put it fat side down in a grill/smoker over a light bed of coals for about 10 hours. This crisps the skin, which you can then break up and mix in with the barbecue.

                            2. As you can tell, the best idea is to braise the meat. I often will do spicy chile verde.

                              It's basically any stew technique, but concentrate on putting together a nice tomatillo/jalapeno/cilantro sauce. You want the sauce bright tasting and very green, so add plenty of lemon juice. I use my giant Le Cruset dutch oven after searing the chunks of pork and carmelizing plenty of onions and garlic, adding the green sauce. I put it in a low oven, covered for about 2.5 hour. The last half hour I add in another cup of the reserved chile sauce. It keeps it bright. Servce with Mexican rice and beans and tortillas. It's grand.

                              1. I can't remember where I got my favorite pork shoulder recipe, but I do love it and so does everyone who ever tastes it. Yet it is sooooooooo simple!

                                Preheat oven to 400F. Place the pork shoulder in a deep covered pan that it pretty much fills. Sprinkle the top of it liberally with Worcestershire sauce. I use Lea & Perrins. Then firmly pack a fairly thick layer of brown sugar on top of that. Next pour apple juice down the inside of the pan being very careful not to get any on the brown sugar. You want the apple juice to come at least half way but no more than 3/4 of the way up the side of the roast. Carefully move it into the preheated oven without sloshing. Close the oven door, wait about 3 to 5 minutes (max) and reduce the heat to 200F and bake roast for 6 to 8 hours.

                                It will be falling apart tender, have a truly delicious flavor, and can be sliced (well, it does tend to fall apart, but with a really sharp knife or an electric knife you can manage) and served with mashed potatoes and the sauce thickened with a bit of cornstarch. Or it also makes great great great pulled pork sandwiches. I serve mine with a fresh, from-scratch mushroom soup. And pulled pork tacos with the leftovers are interesting. I usually try to cook at least ten pounds of it, it's so good. It just vanishes before your eyes. And it tastes far more complex and sophisticated than it sounds. Don't tell your guests how easy it is.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  Thanks caroline!! Sounds awesome, and I won't tell my guests!! :)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    I'll have to try that next time I get a pork shoulder! I just slow-roasted a 12 pounder yesterday... I put it into a covered oven dish and added lemon and lime juice, lots of fresh garlic, bay leaves and some spices and roasted it for four hours at 300F. Then I opened it up and tasted the juices and they were too acidic, so I added a can of lemon-lime soda and a little brown sugar. Covered it up again and cooked it for three more hours. It was falling apart by then but not browned, so I took off the foil and cranked the oven up to 350 for another half hour. The end result was DELICIOUS!

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      I just put 15 lbs of pork shoulder roast in the oven and used this recipe. Thanks!

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Hey, C1. My Safeway has whole pork shoulders for 87 cents a #. I'm thinking of doing one with this recipe. We're doing two house exchanges over two weeks so if I do this when I first get to Sonoma, we'll have it for lots of meals. Do you ever have any left to freeze? I assume it freezes fine. Thanks.

                                      2. i've got one ready to serve right now! w00T, delish too. bought a 4 pounder.

                                        i rubbed cumin, fennel, s & p and olive oil all over it and seared both sides in super hot dutch oven. removed it, did the same with about 1 pound of neck bones. added some more oil and browned 2 big yellow onions cut in quarters. once they got brown i added roughly chopped carrots (4?) 4 or 5 cloves of crushed garlic, and a big piece of chopped ginger. put in meat. added 2 bottles of beer and then enough water to reach top of meat.

                                        allow it to get up to simmer, lower heat and cover.

                                        i turned the piece a few times, til it was falling off the bone. about 2 hours, maybe 2.5. removed all the meat, turned heat to high and reduced liquid to about 1/2 cup. meanwhile, pulled all the meat. when liquid was reduced, i strained out all solids.

                                        added 1/2 cup dijon mustard, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, orange juice and a splash of worcestshire. added pulled meat back in and left onvery low heat about an hour. it' sitting resting and i'll crank up the heat 10 minutes before we eat.

                                        i'm serving it with corn on the cob, home-made applesauce, and potato-spinach dauphinoise gratin. dessert is apple pear crisp. all the veggies and fruit came from our csa

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          sounds really good. I just cooked a shoulder, fairly plainly, so will save some meat and make the dijon/OJ suace to go with. Sounds like a great change from my regular reciupe.Thanks!

                                        2. I use a Cuban Marinade, other times I use an African Berbere spice dry rub, both work great and give me leftovers when I cook five pounds of meat (no bone in meat).

                                          Then we have Caribbean type of Cuban sandwiches, my version...

                                          Sliced Pork Shoulder/Butt
                                          6 inch Baguette/Crispy Roll
                                          My Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Chili Sauce)
                                          Sweet Banana Peppers or Jalapeno Peppers
                                          Caramelized Onions

                                          Sometimes I just slice the pork cover it with my Aji Verde and put it on the plate along with rice, beans, tortillas or a salad/slaw. But generally I stuff the rolls with the sliced pork and eat the sandwiches until we run out of crispy bread, I use the same bread that is used to make the Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches or 6 inch Crusty Rolls.

                                          Be well,

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: EbonyEyedEnigma

                                            I'm lucky because my local butcher buys in a suckling pig each week.
                                            I get the fore-quarter shoulder plus hand.
                                            Salt and pepper skin, olive oil S&P rub underneath. Throw in some Garlic Cloves (peeled), some French shallots (or baby onions) and put in oven @ 110 deg C for 5-6 hrs....the longer the better. Then I put in par boiled vegetables tossed in a little of some drained fat and increase temp to 200deg C until everything is browned.
                                            Best roast pork I have ever had and suckling pork skin seems to produce never fail crackling !

                                            1. re: auscarl

                                              If you have ever been to a Hawaiian luau you can use a pork shoulder and a crock pot to make the delicious "Kalua Pig". Buy some banana leaf at a Oriental grocery or Latino market, Just cross hatch the skin and fat with a sharp knife then rub in a liberal amount of rough salt, (Kosher or sea salt) sprinkle a small amount of liquid smoke over the entire roast (Mesquite flavored is the same as the Kiawe used in the islands, but hickory is OK if that's all you can find) I like to refrideerate the pork overnight, but it is not necessary. Pass the banana leaves over a hot flame or your electric burner turned on high to make them more flexable. Now wrap the roast in the leaves using several layers if your crock pot will hold it all. Put this all in the crock tucking the leaves all around tightly, add 1/4 cup (that's all) of water. Put the pot on low and forget about it for 10-12 hours. (I do this at bedtime, the house smells great the next morning) When 10 hours has passed use a steel or bamboo skewer to stab thru the leaves to see if it is soft and delicious, if not cook on high for an hour more and test again. It will be falling apart and meltingly tasty soon. You can shred it then or put it under the broiler after unwrapping it, to crisp the skin. Save some of the pot liquoir to moisten it when shredding it.
                                              I just served three of these beauties to a wedding party of 45 persons and they loved it!

                                              1. re: auscarl

                                                You are very lucky, I have not found any butcher in my area that keeps the pork skin on the pig, unless you are purchasing the whole pig and I do not have the people power to eat something that large.

                                                Be well,

                                                1. re: EbonyEyedEnigma

                                                  I had that experiencee recently at several markets. I do have some pork belly in my freezer that I brought back from SF so finally used that and it was fine. But I'm very envious of people who access to such great things.

                                            2. By FAR, the autumn pork stew w beer. You'll find it in PARADE link on epi. OMG, sooooooooooooo good! Especially the next day. :)

                                              1. Sorry this won't be in time for you Friday dinner!

                                                Crock-pot Colorado Chili w/ Pork Shoulder

                                                5 lb boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1.5” chunks
                                                Salt ( Kosher has a better flavor )
                                                Cooking oil

                                                1 or 2 12 oz cans regular Beer ( not ‘lite )
                                                2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
                                                3 Tablespoons Chili Power
                                                2-3 chipotle Chili peppers in Adobo Sauce (San Marcos is a good brand)
                                                6 cloves Garlic, quartered
                                                1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano, crushed ( yes, there IS a difference! )
                                                1 teaspoon ground Cumin
                                                1 teaspoon ground Coriander

                                                Season meat cubes w/ salt/pepper; in a large skillet heat a tablespoon or so of oil, brown meat in SMALL batches to avoid ‘sweating’; Transfer to crock-pot.
                                                In large bowl mix beer, onions, garlic, spices, etc,. it will be foamy. Pour over meat in crock-pot. Add another beer or enough water to bring liquid/sauce up to about 2/3 leel of meat.
                                                Cover and cook on ‘high’ 5-6 hours, or on low 8-10 hrs;
                                                Serve w/ warmed soft flour or corn tortillas, various garnishes and Spanish Rice.

                                                Garnishes can be grated Mexican white cheese, Mexican crème, chopped red onions, chopped cilantro, guacamole, etc.

                                                This is also very good w/ goat or venison but you'll need to add some extra oil/fat if you use venison.

                                                1. Sprinkle it all over with Goya sazon con culantro, put it in a big pot, add 1/2 cup wine vinegar and about a cup of water, a bunch of garlic cloves, cover it and bake it at 250 for anything between 5 and 8 hours. If cooking for crackling lovers, take the top off about an hour before the end for it to crisp up (this version is praised by my friend from Manila as being reminiscent of crispy pata, which was one of the Saveur 100 this year I was amused to note). If not, take it out of the oven about an hour before I want to serve it, peel off the shin and most of the fat, salt and pepper it heavily and put it back in oncovered to brown and crisp. Heap tasty either way.