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Dec 15, 2011 01:57 PM

17.4 lbs Whole Pork Shoulder Cooking Times

I just got a 17.4 pound whole shoulder Berkshire swine breed and was wondering how long to cook it to reach 190-200 internal temperature. I'm cooking it as a pernil and will marinade overnight. I want to have it ready for dinner around 7 pm. I was thinking about cooking it in the oven at one hour at 450 degrees and then 8-10 hours at 275 degrees. I was also reading about the Berkshire breed and it has more fat than other pigs so this cut has a lot of marbling. But i figured as long as it got to a temp of near 200 i should be OK. I also prefer slices of pork instead of pulled pork so maybe going to 200 might be too much? Also should i cook covered or uncovered? What do you guys think?

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  1. 450 for an hour......OUCH. Your going to burn that sucker up. You got a lot of mass there, so cooking it at a higher temperature is not least by me. Go @ 450 for 15 minutes, then drop down to 225-250 max. Although you can slice @ 170*, I would still recommend you go to at least 190*, it will slice easier and taste better too. Depending on the temperature you choose, I would expect it to take at least 11-12 hours, but depending on your oven's accuracy, it could take longer....I would expect it to go for more like 14 myself. If it reaches temperature sooner, you can hold it @ 140* for a very long time.

    10 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      One hour at 450 F is fine, it will just crisp up the surface but won't penetrate. Then wrap in foil, and back off to 325 F until done, around 180 F near the bone. 6 hours should do it, but use a probe. I find 'hot and wrapped' the best way with large joints, and many chefs do it this way. Low and slow leads to dry and stringy.

      1. re: jayt90

        I agree with the hot and wrapped method. However, I would cook it until it is closer to 200 (at least 190) near the bone. I find the meat to be not as tender when it is below 190.

        1. re: mels

          Yes, 190 is OK. I suggested lower because the OP wants to slice the roast.

        2. re: jayt90

          Thanks for all the tips. When you say wrapped in foil do you mean the shoulder itself and then placed in the roasting pan or wrap it over the roasting pan? I'm assuming wrapped over the roasting pan but i have images in my head of taking the shoulder out and wrapping it tight with foil. Also I wanted to do slow and low but i think it's too big so I'm thinking about wrapping it and cooking at 300* instead of 325* so it cooks slower.

          1. re: jimenezag

            Read this to see what a person says about the difference in roasting temperatures....with a piece of meat half your size.....don't forget to view the comments as well.


            There are many who like to cover around the 6-8 hour point where a stall occurs when it reaches 150-170*. The link below explains the stall phenomenon. The chowhound thread has some discussion about it as well.



            While you can certainly do moderate or high temperature roasting....the concept of low temperature roasting is mimics the dry aging process to concentrate flavor and has minimal meat shrinkage for a higher yield.....two things I would want for an expensive roast like yours.

            1. re: fourunder

              Interesting read. Well i have it in the oven now at 300* covered in foil and using a copper roasting pan. I don't want to cook it too fast but i want it done by 7 with time to rest after that. I never cooked a shoulder this big before. i started at 8:30 at 450* for about 40 minutes then took it out, basted it, and wrapped it foil. Reduced oven to 275* and put it back in. Now i raised the temp to 300* but i'm tempted again to reduce it to 275*. I have an internal probe with the reader on the outside so i'm watching the internal temp. Right now it's about 60 degrees internal up from 39 when i started.

              I read before the thread on the stall and the website for the person, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard in physics, and I was thinking about roasting uncovered until it hit 150* then covering until done. But i think that method is better for smoking where you want to get the smoke flavor. In the oven i'm thinking covering it until done might work best.

              But the more i type the more confused i get.

              1. re: jimenezag

                Let us know how it turns out. At this stage you want to get the internal temp. up without losing moisture, and it's basically a higher temp vs. slower/lower and more drying time.

                1. re: jimenezag

                  But the more i type the more confused i get.

                  I love BBQ and wish I could say I was a BBQ master, but I'm I have to regulate myself to the convenience of the indoor oven. I experiment a lot with different cuts of pork, poultry, lamb and beef at different temperatures to see what results I like best.. There is no right or wrong in the approach to roast meat.....only over or under cooking. People have their own ideas of what is good, acceptable or what it is they really like.....My tastes are no better than anyone else.....but I do know my preferences and I believe low and slow produces more consistent results. Many like myself believe higher temperature roasting results in tougher and chewier meat as opposed to low temperature roasting. If I had a piece of meat that was smaller, I could consider roasting at 325*, but I still would not. If time was a factor, I would roast a different pork cut like tenderloin, loin roast or chops. For a shoulder, if I could roast for 5-6 hours, then I could certainly roast for doesn't require any more effort on my part except to put it in the oven earlier. Unlike others, I have no problem leaving the roast unattended or while I sleep overnight. With skin side up and pieced skin, it self bastes. In the end, I just believe it produces a better finished product. In the end, choose what works best for you.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Well the shoulder is now at 110* internal temp after roasting 3 1/2 hours. I have covered at 300 degrees. I did take it out about an hour ago to baste but i think i'm going to just leave it in there for about 4 more hours then take out and baste again. I'm expecting it to stall for several hours around 150* but since it's covered and, after reading about evaporative cooling being the reason for the stall, I expect the stall to not be so long since i have it covered. Still I want to reach 190* by 7ish tonight. The smell coming out of the kitchen is amazing.

                    1. re: jimenezag

                      I I'm sure the roast will be great...

        3. Well the pork roast came out amazing. I ended up starting uncovered for 40 minutes at 475 and then covering it the rest of the time and cooking at 300* and then 5 minutes at broil with the pork on the highest rack and it was done in about 11 hours. Not bad for 17 pounds of meat. I got compliments the entire evening and many people ate multiple servings. Well as you can see from the pictures below the roast how it looked when done and once all the meat was carved and served in the chaffing dish the end result. Not a single leftover. I was hoping to have pan con lechon today but not a single morsel of meat was left. Amazing meal. I highly recommend Berkshire pork; I ordered mine online from

          Thanks everyone for your suggestions and tips. I'm glad I posted here as this led me in the right direction.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jimenezag

            DAMN. I've been thinking about pernil for Christmas but now I realize I need to do pernil TOMORROW. What a yummy picture.

          2. I want to know how and with what did you season the meat with?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wnoble44

              The meat was of such good quality that I kept it simple. I just used a few bottles of mojo sauce. I think it was "Key West Natural Mojo" but any you like will do. I then added salt, reasonable not liberally, once the meat was all pulled apart. That's all I did but it's because this was a Berkshire pig shoulder. This pig has a lot of marbling and you don't have to hide the taste or texture with a lot of seasonings so I kept it simple so you can really taste it. I stabbed it with a knife all over and deeply to make sure the mojo sauce penetrated all the way.