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pork shoulder cooking time if i half a recipe

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I want to make a Melissa Clark recipe for a pork shoulder. The original recipe calls for a 7 pound one, but I have a 3 pound one. How will this affect the cooking time? Will it be ready in half the time?

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  1. What's the time and temperature in the recipe?

    I like to do things like this when time isn't of the essence. For this I'd allow 3 hrs at 300 (in a close fitting sealed pot).

    1. No.

      Stick a fork in it. That's when it's done.

      1. It actually depends on the shape of the meat. Imagine a brick of meat - if you cut it in half lengthwise, it would make no difference to the cook time. If you cut it in half thickness-wise, cook time would be reduced. Thickness of the meat determines cook time, not weight.

        It also depends on how you're cooking it. Low temp, like a braise - little difference. Hi temp, like a roast - reduce the time significantly for a less thick chunk of meat.

        Since we're talking about pork shoulder, I'm guessing you're most likely cooking it low and slow. Right? In that case, the cook time for a 3 pounder should be just a little shorter than the cook time for a 7 pounder (assuming they're the same rough shape). Definitely not half the time. Even if you cook it for the same amount of time, the result will probably be fine.

        6 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee

          the recipe calls for cooking it for 3/4 hours at 325 (for a 5-7 pound shoulder). It is definitively 'rounder' , so more or less around the same size as a bigger one... so should i expect probably around 2.5 or 3 hours?

          1. re: adamandeve

            With a 'dry' roast, time depends on dimensions - basically on how far heat has to travel from the outside to the center of roast. For that, a temperature probe that you can leave in the meat is ideal. But for shoulder you want to bring it to 180-190F and hold it there for a half hour so. The timing is not as critical. Plus the braising liquid keeps most of the surface contact at boiling.

            1. re: paulj

              it's actually a dry roast. Thanks, I'll go by the temperature.

            2. re: adamandeve

              Did you type that correctly? The recipe calls for 45 minutes ("3/4 hours") for a 5-7 pound roast at 325?
              Or did you mean 3-4 (as in 3 to 4) hours? If so and the shape is pretty much the same, I agree with cowboyardee and yourself, start looking at doneness by taking it's temp.

              1. re: Quine

                sorry, i did mean 3 to 4 hours. i am having people over, so i just wanted to have a sense of when to put it in!

                1. re: adamandeve

                  Understood, figured so, more or less wanted to clear that up, so when this thread gets started up again, the info will show well.