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Temp for a 7hr dutch oven pork roast

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Hi Chowhounds! I've been viewing your community for a while now, and I'm glad I joined. Love the web site! I got my first dutch oven (lodge cast iron), and I'm cooking for a party at my place Friday (< 2 days). And It's going to cook while I'm at work. So, about 7 hrs cook time. Is that too long for 350? Should I take it down to 300? Even lower? I'll be picking it up tomorrow. I was looking for a 7-8 pound range bone in, but I'd be willing to go as high as 9 lbs (I can't be picky: small town, not much selection). It's to feed 6 people, and to have left overs for me during the semester.

Secondary question: This is how I plan to cook, does it sound good? I'll put a rub on it and let it season over night. Rosemary, thyme, anise, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, sage, maybe a packet of onion gravy mix. After browning veggies, and roast add white cooking wine, chicken broth, and water (two cups total liquid) to dutch oven. Or, should I not marinate, and just brown it, and add the seasonings to the broth, wine mix? Is that enough liquid, or too much? Thanks for helping the noob!

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  1. i would cook it at a lower temp for that long a time. 275 even?

    as to your second question, i think you have a lot of conflicting seasoning there, for me. i would maybe get rid of the paprika, sage and onion gravy mix (the latter for sure) and keep the rest. you're not putting your veggies in for 7 hours, are you? i think they will be a bit mushy. but maybe at that low a temp they'll be ok.

    your pork should be super tender! have a great party!

    1. I would absolutely not bake something for 7 hours and not be home to monitor it. It's not worth the possible fire risk.

      1. Are you roasting a fresh ham or shoulder?

        1. 250-275, but agree should not cook with no one at home. If you have a Crock pot, I'd do everything you were planing in that rather than the oven unmonitored. No need to marinate, but I would brown it first.

          2 Replies
          1. re: NavyMom89

            +1 on all counts.

            Roast it at a lower temp. I agree on 250-275

            Absolutely brown it first. That's where all the flavor is. I'd still rub it with salt, pepper, garlic and briwn sugar the night before.

            And DONT leave something cooking in your oven unattended, especially for 7 hours.

            Also skip the "cooking wine.". It's vile stuff. Use a drinkable real wine or just stock/broth

            1. re: C. Hamster

              White wine ok?

          2. Just me, but I would trust my home oven better than a crockpot.......the latter catching fire before the oven would. I regularly roast Pork Shoulder overnight while I'm sleeping.....I'm home, but not monitoring it at all.

            7 hours at 350 would make the roast inedible and the vegetables like baby food. A covered braise will also cook much faster than uncovered.....I suggest even lower at 200-225.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fourunder

              This.

              Roasting uses dry heat, while braising uses moist heat, such as is created in a dutch oven when liquid is added. It sounds as though you actually want to braise the meat.

              If cooking for that length of time, you need to use an appropriate cut of meat. It needs to be high in fat and connective tissue, because they will help to retain the sensation of the meat being moist, even as it cooks for a long period. If you use a lean cut, the meat will be dry after 7 hours, even if braised. A pork shoulder is fine.

              Once the surface has been browned, there's no need for it to be cooked at anything higher than a temperature sufficient to denature collagen into gelatin. That occurs over a range of temperatures, but 160F (which is higher than strictly necessary) can be used.

              If you cook it at 350F, you'll destroy it. It 'fall off the bone', but only because you'll have annihilated the protein so thoroughly that no structure or texture remains. Even if you do cook it at a low temperature (<200F), I doubt that it will retain enough structure to carve it. As FED said, it's going to be pulled pork.

            2. Thank you for the replies! I think I'll go with 250. I will be coming home at lunchtime to check it. I could add the veggies in then. So at most it will be a few hrs unsupervised. And I don't see how it's any worse than a crock pot on the counter top. Thanks @Mariacarmen, and @c.hamster for the advise. Do you think 2 cups liquid will be enough? Oh, it's going to be a pork shoulder btw, someone asked.

              7 Replies
              1. re: corbmonster

                Its worse than a crockpot because your oven likely has flammable grease/debris in it that is exposed to the heating elements.

                I for one would never ever leave the house with something in the oven unless it was a very quick trip.

                Since it's a shoulder have you considered making pulled pork with it?

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  I considered pulled pork. But I really wanted to make a roast.

                  1. re: corbmonster

                    7 hours at 275, in a cover pot ... it's going to be pulled pork whatever you call it. and please, PLEASE be sure that you use a shoulder, butt or fresh ham, some very well-marbled cut. this is NOT the way to cook a loin (sorry for shouting, but i'm passionate about pork).
                    and after 35 years of cooking, I have never had anything come remotely close to catching fire in my oven. you'll be fine.

                    1. re: FED

                      yes, FED is right - it's going to pull apart after 7 hours, it won't hold up to knife-slicing like a roast. but it will be delicious!

                2. re: corbmonster

                  i personally would have no problem leaving the oven on that low for a few hours.

                  i think your liquid amount is fine.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Well, if you have a fire, your insurance might well not cover you if you leave....

                    1. re: Karl S

                      That's true

                3. So, would it be better to come home at lunch (thank goodness I live so close), and braise it and cook it then? That would give it 4 - 5 hrs depending on when I took lunch.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: corbmonster

                    IMO still too long if you are looking for pork roast vs. pulled at that temp.
                    I think 4-5 hours at 225-250 will get you in the ballpark of the 145F. you'd want for pork roast.
                    I would salt/season 24 hours in advance and then slow roast. There is a recent thread here about this treatment for inexpensive cuts of beef which I have had crazy success with. It needs to rest for a couple of hours, too.
                    No concerns here about leaving oven on unattended, but I have a reliable late model electric oven. Gas with a standing pilot I would be sketchier on for unattended use, but probably still do it.

                  2. Ok, I got my 8.5 lbs pork shoulder. My plan is to trim it here shortly. Season with salt, pepper, and saran wrap it. Come home for lunch, braise it in dutch oven, bake at 225-250. Have it in there about 12:45, to about 4:30, so almost 4 hrs. Take it out, let it rest (dinner at 6). Maybe keep it in off / warm oven to keep it warm. Sound good?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: corbmonster

                      ooh, well, now, that's a big roast. i think you could go longer. at my sister's, in a rotisserie (not a roast, i know), we do it a 3-4 lb. roast at 225-250 for about 5 hours and get to roast consistency.... let's see what others say about a bigger cut like that.

                    2. I see that you're getting a number of answers on the cooking time, and I'd like to help add to your confusion ;-)

                      I agree with the lower temperatures suggested, somewhere around 250°. Pork shoulder responds well to such temps. I also agree that a long cook will eventually yield pulled pork; in other words, too tender to slice. "Sliceable" or not will depend on internal temp. Pulled pork will come with a temp of 195-200°. At about 180-185°, you will have very tender but still firm enough to slice. While 145° is a great target temp for something like a loin or tenderloin, the fat and collagen in the shoulder cut will not have had a chance to melt or soften. It needs the higher finishing temp. Though it may be a bit less convenient, try to cook it to temp, not to time. Good luck!

                      Oh.... if you are cooking to temp, and the roast is done before you are ready, it will rest for as long as you need, and will benefit from it. Just remember that carryover will bring it up another 5-10°, so plan accordingly. A rest of 1/2 and hour will only need a platter and foil to cover. For a longer rest, wrap in a couple layers of foil, then wrap in one or two large towels. Place it in a cooler, preferably close in size to your "bundle", and it will still be very hot even a couple hours later. I've done this many times with barbecue, and after a couple hours a shoulder is still too hot to pull with bare hands.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Cheez62

                        Thank you for the temp guide. I think I'm going to stick to 4 hrs at 225. Unless you think it's too much. But, if it pulls apart too much, than that will be ok. Lesson learned.

                        1. re: corbmonster

                          Yeah, I don't see 4 hours as being enough. I've had pork butts take varying amounts of time, as any one piece of meat can be different from the others. But I've never had a piece that large come close to being done in 4 hours. Granted, I do more of these as barbecue, but I have done them in an oven as well. 8.5 lbs. is a large roast. If you're going 4 hours, I'd head back up the dial with the cooking temp.

                          1. re: Cheez62

                            You took the words right out of my mouth! I BBQ similar roasts at similar temps, and I've had some go 14 hours. There's that plateau at I forget what temperature that can take several hours alone to break. I am also a bit puzzled at the "too tender to slice" comment.

                            I cook lots of pork shoulder roasts too. I foresee tough and perhaps even raw meat at 8.5 lbs at 225 for 4 hours. Not even close. Maybe if you cube it and put it in a large or multiple braising dishes. I'd definitely go low and slow on this type of meat, but undercooking pork shoulder is a disaster- tough! It's more forgiving if done early. As someone said, wrap it in foil and towels and pop in a cooler. It'll stay 140+ for hours.

                            1. re: ttochow

                              Agreed. You are probably thinking of "the stall", usually somewhere around 130-140°, where it seems to be stuck forever. Ramping up the temp can help to push through that. but it still happens. I was hesitating to mention this because I don't know all of the specifics, but here goes... My sister cooked a pork butt (shoulder) on New Year's Day for pork and sauerkraut. I don't know the size, but it was large (maybe more than the 8.5 lbs. mentioned, but not much more), nor do I know the temp for sure, but I am sure it was above 300°, probably 350°. It cooked for 5-6 hours, and was not "done". It was pink in the middle, no I didn't take it's temp. We sliced the ends, returned the rest to the oven. Was it tasty? Not bad. Tender, as a shoulder cut should be? No way. Temp, not time. Foiled and coolered if needed. Always allow more time, don't cut yourself short.

                              1. re: Cheez62

                                Ok well, I have 2 options: 1) cook at a lower temp for a much longer time (about 7 hrs). Or, I can cook for shorter time 4 - 5.5 hrs at a higher temp (like 350). What say you? I did score it a little bit, 1/4 - 1/3 inch deep. That may decrease cooking time a little.

                                1. re: corbmonster

                                  for that big a roast, i say go longer at the lower temp.7 hours, 250.

                                  1. re: corbmonster

                                    What would I do? Call in sick, get up about 8 am, sear it, pop it in the oven at 275. At about noon, stick a thermometer in it. Then monitor its progress through the stall. This is when the fat and collagen start melting. It cools the roast and it seems to take FOREVER to break the 140 degree mark. This depends on your roast and is hard to predict. And you want it to go through this stage.

                                    Here is why you want to call in sick. After noon, you monitor it. Raise the temp if you start panicking. But when it reaches the desired temp, take it out and put it in a cooler. Then enjoy he party. It's cool to know your meat is ready to go, and you are just waiting for the signal.

                                    I've done this several times, all with pork shoulder. Each time is different. I don't think there is a formula.

                                    1. re: corbmonster

                                      Most of the Google'ing I've done results in identical findings. 350 degrees 1/2 hr per lbs. After trimming the skin and fat it's 7 lbs so that puts me at 3.5 hrs. So, I say 300 for 4 hrs. That still gives me an hour to play with if it isn't done yet.

                                      1. re: corbmonster

                                        Well, that sounds better. I think at that temp, with a little time to play with, you have a better shot at a nicely done roast. I assume that the extra hour comes after you get home. Still do what ttochow says. Put a probe thermometer in it, and yes, if you panic, up the temp. If you don't think you're close enough, open another bottle of wine ;-) , longer parties are always better! Relax, it's pork shoulder - one of the most forgiving pieces of meat there is.

                                        Please let us know how it turns out; we all want it to be delicious!

                                        1. re: corbmonster

                                          Here is a Fine Cooking link.

                                          http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/sl...

                                          I've found them to be somewhat reliable time/temp wise. It seems that you are pretty close, but remember to include resting times etc. for an 8.5 lb cut, the resting time will be important.

                                          1. re: ttochow

                                            Thanks. That's pretty much what how I was going to cook. It's 7 lbs after trimming though. They are using 1 cup wine, I was going to use 2 cups of wine and broth, should I just use one? And will my veggies turn to mush during the 4 hr cook time? I think not, but pretty close to that point though.

                                            1. re: corbmonster

                                              I dunno on wine/broth. I do everything by feel or sight, and by what else is happening.

                                              One of my favorite methods, though, is to have two sets of vegetables. I think I learned this from Jacques Pepin and Hubert Keller. Cook the roast with one set and let the veggies get mushy. In fact, separate, and mash to get all the juice. Then put in brand new veggies at the right moment (-1hour?) to get perfectly cooked veggies. It is a great technique.

                                              Good luck. A pork shoulder roast is amazing and looks easy when cooked correctly, but truly involves skill.

                                              1. re: ttochow

                                                Thanks for the tip! And yes, my "good idea" wasn't such a bright idea :/ I wanted something to have plenty of left overs that I can vac seal and freeze, and use throughout the semester. Next time I'm doing pulled pork, or brisket. Or stuffed pork loin. Something that doesn't require the diligence.

                            2. I'm a little late to this party, but I have two suggestions, one for now and one for the next time. For this time, if you find the roast is too tender to cut, you can chunk it and put the chunks in a 425 oven for 10-15 minutes. This will give them a nice crust and the interior should be nice and moist. The suggestion for next time is that you get a copy of "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens. About 20 bucks at Amazon and probably available for less used.

                              If anyone wants to correct me on any of this, jump in. Don't let corbmonster hangin'.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: yayadave

                                I totally agree Dave. If the roast goes past slicing, chunking it and giving it a little high heat sounds like a great idea. Good thinkin'!

                                1. re: yayadave

                                  Thank you for your tip dave, it may very well come in handy. :)

                                2. Jeez, everyone's been so awesome helping me out. Thank you all so much!

                                  1. It has begun! Came home and cooked veggies in the bottom with some bacon fat. Removed veggies, added oil. Made some of the scoring a little deeper on the shoulder and put a really good brown on the sides of the roast. De-glazed with wine, and broth. Threw in 400 degree oven for 10 min to get the temp up quickly, and turned down to 300. I came home a bit earlier than I planed, so it gives me a better buffer. I'll let you know how it turns out, but during the searing, it smelt amazing! And the de-glazing as well.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: corbmonster

                                      came home after 4.5 hrs in oven. Internal was >200. It's pulled pork perfection. Not what I was looking for, but still so awesome!

                                      1. re: corbmonster

                                        Glad it worked out!

                                        What were you looking for?

                                        1. re: corbmonster

                                          Yes, at that temp, pulled pork! I'm sorry we couldn't give you a more specific time, but I think you will be glad it wasn't undercooked. Glad it was awesome!

                                          1. re: corbmonster

                                            wow, that cooked pretty quick! must hve been the 300 degrees. but it seems you never can tell. linguafood, a fellow CHer, recently had a like-sized pork that she cooked for like 9 hours and it never came to falling apart.

                                            glad you enjoyed!

                                        2. No higher than 140 F. Any form of protein strand that reaches 212 F or more basically turns into a rubber band.
                                          I just cooked a smallish pork shoulder 'SV' 135 F water temp for about four hours. Juicy tender 'sliceable'. I'm experimenting with which results are better. Searing first or searing after the 'SV'. With the pork shoulder I seared at medium with a few drops of refined coconut oil in a stainless pan wide pan so I could move the beast around easier. Within a few minutes the outside was a golden crispy brown. I let it rest for 30 minutes lightly tented.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                            Pork shoulders have so much fat and connective tissue that they need higher temps to melt/dissolve them. Higher final temps make them more tempting.

                                            That's why pork shoulders are used mostly for pulled pork and not for pork oven roasts.

                                            For an oven roast, the final temp should be much lower.

                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                              That's why pork shoulders are used mostly for pulled pork and not for pork oven roasts
                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                              I would respectfully disagree.....many, including myself roast the Shoulder/Boston Butt to slice....and not to pull....as personally, I enjoy the cut more than fresh ham.

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/849393

                                              Boneless pork shoulders are also readily available in netting for foodservice to commercial kitchens.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                we've been enjoying them both ways lately - love the sliced pork roast - the texture is so great.

                                              2. re: C. Hamster

                                                I agree, I am personally not a fan of all that "stuff" running through the meat. I use them for either pulled pork, or a "fall apart" roast. If I want a slicing roast, I'll get a loin and cook it for much less time.

                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                  Lots of issues in the preceding posts. Sous vide is a wonderful way to cook, but not always the best for a particular desired outcome. There is no way SV will improve authentic NC smoked pulled pork! And others.

                                                  But pork shoulder, and other tough cuts, do not need high heat to tenderize. SV substitutes time for heat in applications like this. A flank steak cooked SV at 131 for around 18 hours will be as tender as filet mignon, and medium rare to boot. I have not tried pork shoulder SV, but I know from other experiments it could produce fantastic sliced pork.

                                                  Finally, loin and pork shoulder are very different cuts. What is preferred for a particular application is truly a matter of preference. I myself never, ever choose loin or tenderloin as a matter of preference. I prefer working muscles. Tongue, heart, shoulder, etc. One way to get the general form of sliceable loin with working muscles is to remove the stuff you don't like after cooking, and then roll up the stuff you do like into Glad Wrap tubes and chill for several hours. Beef Bourgogne done this way is unbelievable.

                                                  1. re: ttochow

                                                    Exactly, a matter of preference, which is why I stated that it was my personal preference, "I am personally not a fan ...," and, "If I want..."
                                                    Personally, I make kick but butts... and loins. I do it well and is enjoyed by all who eat MY roasts. I don't really need nor do I want to do SV.

                                                2. re: C. Hamster

                                                  I'll add in on this. a whole pork shoulder is one of the best roasts you will ever make. score the skin, season, roast (uncovered!) at 300 degrees to an internal of around 165, then crank up the oven to 450 or higher until the skin has crisped and is almost ready to pop off. Rest for 30-45 minutes and you'll have an internal of around 175 to 180. It'll be a perfect really porky roast with great cracklings. and you can usually find it for around $2 a pound.