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Feb 23, 2011 06:56 AM

Suggestions for Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

I plan on making the following recipe substituting pork shoulder for the lamb (butcher is de-boning the shoulder for me):

I am making it for guests, and I am not using lamb because I don't know my guests very well and don't know if they'd like lamb. It seems easy enough, but I request your advice regarding two things:

1. Is the sub of pork shoulder for lamb a bad idea? Of course, flavor and texture will be entirely different, but my gut feeling tells me this will still work with the fennel, parsley, and rosemary flavors. Anyone think it will be a disaster?

2. Instead of just braising for a few hours, I am considering braising with the milk in a low (225) oven overnight with the pork "chunks" and the bone on the side for flavor. Should I not attempt this with milk? My dad said he'd read somewhere that the milk would screw with the texture of the pork if left braising that long, but he wasn't very sure. Any reason not to go for this overnight in an attempt to get the best flavor/texture?

Any other advice is much appreciated.



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  1. The flavors should go very well with pork but I question the logic of braising overnight at 225. It's possible that it could work but with guests coming for dinner is such an experiment really a good idea?


    1. Generally, milk is reserved for lamb and game meat, to "cut" that game-y taste. I'm not sure why you would want to do this with pork. When I make pork shoulder, I brine it overnight in 1 bottle of beer, about 1/2 cup each brown sugar and white sugar, and 1/2 cup salt, and 4-5 cups water. I then place in my smoker at 250 for 10-12 hours for a 15-18 lb cut with bone in. You could roast it this way in your oven. Or you could braise it in broth, wine, with a mire poix of sauteed veg. I do a lot of braising this way, and puree the sauce when done for a great gravy.

      I think the fennel and rosemary will be nice for seasoning the pork.

      I agree with Randy that experimenting for a dinner party is not a good idea. I would say, avoid the lamb if you are unsure of your guests, and get a recipe for pork shoulder that does not involve experimentation or modification to such a drastic extent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrsgreer

        The milk has enzymes that break down the meat......Mrcella Hazan has a recipe for Pork Loin braised in milk, so the idea is not totally far fetched. I say give it a shot, but reduce the heat to 200*. You can check in the morning and see if you need to adjust the temperature higher......this is really nothing more than cooking in a slow cooker.

      2. FWIW, both Marcella Hazan and the River Cafe book have similar recipes for pork braised in milk, but both are also stovetop like the Batali lamb braise and no more than 3 hours braising time. I can't speak for either recipe, as I haven't made them, but those are pretty good authorities as far as the flavor combo/technique goes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mebby

          Molly Stevens has an oven braised version which is awesome.

        2. I've had this dish made with pork before at a small place in North Beach in SF and it was brilliant. This preparation seems kind of fussy. Subbing Pork for Lamb is a GREAT idea. Here is the River Cafe version, I haven't made it but it's been on my radar for a while:
          If it were me I would consider boning out the pork shoulder flat, making a herby paste of fennel and or sage with garlic for the inside, rolling and tying it up, then braising it in the milk. That would be INSANE. You could also just braise one big piece in the milk which would also be really really good.

          If you cook pork chunks in milk for that long I think you will probably end up with pork mush, not fun!

          2 Replies
          1. re: rezpeni

            I have made that Saveur recipe with pork loin (not tenderloin) many times and it is FANTASTIC!!

            1. re: GretchenS

              What size pot/Dutch oven do you use for this?

          2. I used to make pork roast braised in milk many years ago in Florence. Basically, you saute some onions, lightly brown a pork roast, add orange peel and fennel seeds, cover with milk and braise very slowly until the meat is tender and the milk has evaporated and caramelized. Delicious.