Costco Pork Shoulder - Question about Cut and Time to Cook
Does anybody here know what part of the pork shoulder Costco's boneless version comes from? It (they?) comes in a large pack weighing about 15lbs. It looks like there may be two per pack...hard to tell.
Using my new "All About Braising" cookbook by Molly Stevens, I made a recipe for "Picnic" shoulder today, believing this fatty cut to have probably come from the bottom of the shoulder. Browned a 7lb piece for 30 minutes at 450º, then dropped the temp to 250º for what was supposed to be 8 or 9 hours, as per the recipe. After 4:45 hours, the internal temp was just over 185º-- just over the "doneness" range, so I took it out to let it rest. Tastes pretty good by the way...maybe a smidge dry.
I'm not sure why the time was so much less than 8 to 9 hours (it was in the bottom 3rd of the oven). Any feedback or ideas would be most welcome!
I would always advise to braise pork shoulders rather than roast them, and you'll be going way beyond what you'd normally consider a good temperature for cooked pork. If you're using the oven and braising, I don't think you need to put the oven rack to the bottom -- unless the thing won't fit with the rack in the middle. Essentially you should be able to stab it with a fork and have it come to pieces; this is when you can pull the pork and sauce it for sandwiches, etc.
I find it much easier to do pork shoulders in the slow cooker, but then a) I always have smaller ones than 7 lbs., and b) you don't get the crispy exterior.
By the way, this in the slow cooker is genius: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage... .The fat renders out and creates a liquid that will ensure the shoulder doesn't dry up. All you're missing from the oven version is the crispy skin, but I've heard people complain they can't achieve that even in the oven anyway.
megjp, thanks. That recipe sounds fantastic, and I'll be trying it with some of the shoulder next time. As to getting a nice crispy skin, I've put braised pork shoulders under the broiler (wait until it's really going good) for about 8 to 10 minutes, about 6 to 8 inches away or so.
No need to brown it at all - just rub with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (and if you like a bit of brown sugar), and toss it in the oven at 225. Low and slow all the way is the key, When the meat registers 150-160, wrap the top in foil. This gets you past the "stall" that would otherwise prevent it from reaching pulling temps for many additional hours.
Let the meat reach 200 degrees - so that the collegen liqufies. 185 is not done yet. You could pull it out at 195 but I go to 200. Remove and let it sit, covered in foil, for another 20-30 min. Then shred it, and liberally use extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to season. If you want some heat, use Srirachi hot sauce or same maker brand of chili paste (rooster on label).
I make one of these every week, usually in my slow cooker but it's just as good in the oven and the oven gives you some "bark" on the outside, that many people enjoy - if you don't have a slower cooker.
I promise that this technique will get you what you really want. High heat is to be avoided, unless it's in a skillet to sear up the leftovers and give them a nice crustyness.
They do come two to a pack and they're fantastic. If you are braising (wet cooking) them, they'd definitely be done in less than the time you allotted. If you are smoking, they will take longer -- possibly much longer. I do a mixture of both when I do them. I smoke for 4 to 12 hours, depending upon whether it is an overnight smoke. Then I wrap in foil and finish cooking in the oven so as not to lose the juices.
Don't know exactly what part of the shoulder they come from but I'm confident others do.
Browning and then braising, I would expect them to be done in about 4 to 5 hours, so I think yours was about right. Shouldn't be dry, though, if you used enough liquid. Does it pull easily? It might be in that middle ground between rare-ish and juicy and slice-able, and soft, unctuous and pull-able.