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Oct 7, 2012 08:18 AM

Berkshire pork shoulder (ham) - help me cook it!

Hi all,

I do not eat much meat and I rarely cook it. In an interesting turn of events, I will be taking care of (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner on Monday. It's a small group this year, so no turkey. I've bought a nice chunk of Berkshire pork shoulder from a local farm; it's maybe 1/4 of the size of a bone-in ham, with a thick layer of fat on top.

Could anyone give me some pointers for making the most out of it? Please, do not take for granted that I know anything about cooking meat - I know it seems like a no-brainer to most people, but I would rather make stacks and stacks of pastries than worry about one roast.

Thanks so much!

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  1. For me, the only way to go is roasting it in the oven, using the low and slow method. The temperature and amount of time would be detimed...

    1. The amount of time you could take to finish the roast, factoring in a 1 hour holding time.
    2. What time you plan on serving.
    3. The size of the roast.

    My preferred time and temperature would be for 190-200*, but 225-250* would also work well. I would not recommend any temperature over 250* unless time was a factor, but I would still not go over 300* under any circumstances.

    Although the following thread is for a Beef Sirloin Tip Roast, the basic principles of low and slow temperature roasting is the same for both beef and pork, so if you get a chance, you should take a look. The permalink I have made will show you in pictures an actual Pork Shoulder I made. I prefer my meat moist, but you could certainly cook your roast to the temperature you prefer for slicing or pulling., but please note, I would recommend only a sliced roast for Berkshire Pork, as not to mask the great flavor with anything other than simple Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      Thanks so much! This is very helpful.

    2. I agree with 'fourunder' as to the method of roasting. We do it frequently for pulled pork sandwiches. The meat is roasted in a covered roasting pan in which a rack has been placed. No seasonings or liquids are added.The roasted meat just easily falls apart.The excess fat is removed in the shredding process. My wife has taken over the cooking of the roast from me. Why, I don't know? We then prepare a thin BBQ sauce in which to bathe the pulled pork before eating as sandwiches.

      If you are having a more formal affair, you may want to serve the roasted pork in another way.

      1. Agree with fourunder, but did not see the link.
        Fourunder gives good advice
        It sounds like you have a pork picnic shoulder. You could not use a marinate as fourunder says. but I would use a salt rub for at least 24 hours.
        This might help from Molly Stevens:

        If you do not have a picnic but a butt, let us know.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mscoffee1

          CD & MC1,

          thanks for the kind words and noting my omission......and senior moment.


          1. re: fourunder

            Thank you for the patience to experiment and share.
            Is it me (which is usually is) or do we still not have a link?

            1. re: mscoffee1

              I've just added again....and it shows on my screen.....I must have had a second senior moment.....not you

          2. re: mscoffee1

            I've just googled picnic shoulder, and yes, I do believe that's it. 2.5 pounds, roughly.

          3. This is a really flavorful recipe from Michael Chiarello:


            I have made it 3X and it is very good - I did decide that 8 hours was a little too long,, you said your roast was small, so you might need to adjust time for that. I think I did my fairly large roast for 5-6 hours and it was nicely tender.

            1. Thanks very much, everyone. I think I'll try it at 250* for about 4 hours. Fingers crossed!