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Oct 20, 2013 09:41 AM

Speeding up roast pork shoulder

I just picked up a lovely bone-in 7lb 11oz pork shoulder roast on offer for only $13. I'd like to roast it today and have it ready for dinner tonight. That only gives me around 6 hours cooking time though. Is this at all doable without making the meat too tough?

I microwaved it on defrost for a few minutes just to take the chill off. It's now in the oven on high for an initial blast just to crisp up the crackling. What is the max temperature I can do the main cook? My roasting pan has a lid which I can use to potentially speed things up. Any other suggestions? Or am I attempting the impossible?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    Will Owen's pork shoulder

    For me this never takes more than five or six hours.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Wow. Perfect. Thanks. I wonder if it might be worth edging the temp up just a fraction to 300F at least until the interior gets to the magical 190F. Would that not increase the amount of time the meat has at the 190F mark to break down the collagen etc?

        1. re: c oliver

          Still very low. My cheapo (cable) remote digital thermometer has gone bezerk. Manual thermometer is barely moving when I stick it in. My guess is that the temp at the centre is not even at 100F yet.

    2. My suggestion is to roast @ 325. You need to get it to at least 160+* for the meat to be slice able....If you want it pullable at above 190*, The meat will be drier with the higher roasting temperature used above 250*. At six hours, some of the meat may still be pink near the bone, but for the most part. it will be fully cooked.

      In my opinion, covering the roast in any way will cause the meat to steam and juices will be lost, thus a drier and tougher will also soften the skin.

      11 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        The Will Owen recipe above, after an initial blast uncovered at 450, cooks the rest of the time covered at 250. Super tender and loads of juice. But I'm concerned that OP is cutting it pretty close regardless. But maybe has a backup plan. Which is what we had when our first smoked pork should took SIXTEEN hours rather than the anticipated twelve. Breakfast for dinner :)

        1. re: c oliver

          That certainly is a good recipe...but from the OP's comments of crisping the skin initially, I thought she was shooting for strictly a dry roast temperature to get the job done within 6 hours.

          1. re: fourunder

            Yeah, that confused me a bit also.

            1. re: c oliver

              You already know that I'm a fan of low and slow roasting at 225*. When I cook Pork shoulder, it goes into the oven before I go to bed at night and expect 11-12 hours. My recipe is simple.

              * Scald the Skin with Boiling Water
              * Season with Salt
              * Cover the Skin with Baking Soda
              * Refrigerate for up to 12 hours
              * Rinse off the Baking Soda again with Boiling Water
              * Neutralize any leftover Baking Soda with a brush of vinegar.
              * 450* on a rack for 30 minutes
              * Drop down to 200-225* depending on size of the roast or length of time needed....the lower temp for larger roasts.
              * Hold in the oven at 140* for an hour
              * High heat blast at the end to crisp the skin

              At the beginning, middle and end of main roasting...I pierce the skin with a Jaccard meat tenderizer with many holes, so the oil can ooze out and self baste.

              Here's an old article from the LA Times with some different tests and results with 250*, compared to 325*


              1. re: fourunder

                I'm loving that, f! Completely diff from anything I've ever heard. I could even cook it in the smoker all night. Very cool. Thanks.

            2. re: fourunder

              I cook pulled pork on the Weber far more often. My aims are slightly different this time. Shorter time frame and a roast dinner at the end of the day. On the other hand there will be lots of leftovers and I find pulled pork slightly more versatile to make different dishes than sliced.

              1. re: gooler

                Nest time....when you have more time....Porchetta.


                If you click on my profile, then onto can see other pork roasts I've done with crispy skin....including Porchetta with Pork Belly, Boston Butt and a Pork Shoulder

                1. re: fourunder

                  Porchetta. Oh lordy yes. *drool*. Now I want to go back and get another piece of shoulder to put in the freezer!

                  1. re: gooler

                    Something like this?

            3. re: fourunder

              Aha. Thank you. Yes that is an interesting point about covering the meat. Steaming is indeed not roasting and I can see why it might make the meat rubbery. So 325F is a compromise to get the best tenderness and doneness for the time available. Seems reasonable.

              I wonder if another option might be to cook at 250F, slice just enough for tonight's dinner from the outside and leave the rest to continue cooking?

            4. 165F IT and I have 2hrs max to have dinner on the table. I kept the oven temp at 300F. Of course there is gravy etc to be made too. I wonder if that is enough time for the meat to be really nicely falling apart. We shall see...

              1. The pork came out great. I took it out shortly after it reached 190F. It sat for about half an hour before I cut the crackling off and pulled at the meat to plate up some dinners. The parts I got to were very pullable. I was too tired to pull it all tonight, and besides I haven't decided what to do with it yet. Something Central American maybe.

                Pork shoulder is one of my favourite cuts I think. So cheap, so forgiving and so delicious.

                Thanks to all for the advice. It helped me find the sweet spot for temp and doneness while under a time limit.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gooler

                  Congrats!!! I don't "pull" pork.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I pull everything! I love the texture of meat teased apart this way. It seems to go much further as well when cooking with leftovers, for example making tacos or fried rice.