Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 6, 2009 07:08 AM

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!! :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I cook pork shoulder fairly frequently. Slow-cooked with simple barbecue seasonings or braised as in 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.


        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.