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Jan 25, 2012 11:23 AM

Pork Ragu aka shredded pork in tomato sauce

I have gotten it into my head that I would like to make a shredded pork ragu this weekend, to serve over pasta. I am buying a pork shoulder ("boston butt" on freshdirect). A few questions:

Should I slow roast the pork shoulder first, basically getting into pulled pork consistency and then incorporating ii into my tomato sauce? Or

Should I braise the pork shoulder in liquid (wine, crushed tomato and seasoning)?

My concern with roasting is that the flavors will take longer to marry. My concern with braising is that I won't get the desired "shredded" pork that is so wonderful served with pappardelle, and the pork will remain in one piece.

Any thoughts on roasting vs. braising if my goal is to get the pork shoulder into a shredded consistency?

Thanks in advance

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  1. I am doing something similar with some chuck short-ribs, and I plan on braising everything together at a very low heat. So my vote is to braise the shoulder in your aromatics+wine+tomato paste/puree/tomatoes. Cook it long enough, it will fall apart if you want it to.

    1. Cook it in the sauce. It will shred, you are assured.

      Of course I'd cut it into smaller pieces rather than cooking the butt whole.

      1. This is my go-to pork ragu recipe. I usually let the meat (cut in pieces) braise for a couple of hours, then pull it out and shred it with my hands (the recipe calls for shredding it by pressing meat against the side of the pot with a fork - too much work!)
        The recipe makes lots of ragu, most of which goes straight into the freezer for a brilliant, easy-to-make meal on a busy day.

        1. I got the idea in my head too! A couple years ago, I had a wonderful pork ragu over pasta at a restaurant and just had to make it at home. I think the result was pretty darn good!

          1. I love this dish too and it does freeze very well so make a big batch. I follow this method, a Lidia Bastianich recipe, but I normally substite pork shoulder for the ribs in her recipe (usually the country style ribs when they are on sale), cut into 2-inch chunks. The meat pretty much shreds with just stirring when it's done. I prefer to bake it covered in a 300F oven for a few hours and finish it on higher heat on top of the stove if I want to thicken the sauce.