HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


question about slow roasting pork shoulder

For the last year, I've been having issues with slow roasting pork, whether its shoulder or ribs or butt. When I go to my local stores the pork I get has this really strong urine like smell that remains even after I cook the meat. I bought a pork butt at aldi a month or so ago and it fared pretty well until I got a fatty piece and it had a slight smell. I'm wondering if my method of cooking (low and slow, 225-250) is either causing good meat to go bad while its being cooked or if I'm not cooking long enough at low temperatures to properly cook the fatty and sinewy parts? I'm also wondering if anyone else is having a problem with the pork their buying smelling terrible.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. where do you buy your meat (other than at aldi)?

    1. I've experienced the same off putting smell you speak of, but I never associated it with urine, just foul. You method of cooking is not the problem. Most likely the causes are the particular pig you have before you(type)...or, because of the way it was handled before it got to the market, or by the market itself. I suspect the times I've had it happen to me, the meat might be a little older than normal. Usually when I have the problem, it's because I purchase the meat and do not get to cook it in a timely matter and it sits in the refrigerator for more than 5 days....but usually over a week. I get the same problem with cryovac packaged ribs or loins.

      1. I used to buy them at local supermarkets; Met, Associated, C-town, etc., but I've pretty much stopped eating pork because every time I would buy a cut from any of those stores the meat would smell off. I think they are selling uncut male hog meat and the hormones are affecting the smell.

        1. from my experience, it's the smell that accumulates from the meat being in the cryovac. i usually was the meat and put it in the fridge to air out before i cook it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: simplelife

            Actually bought a shoulder from Pathmark today and took it out of the cryo pac and it smells okay. Just marinated it after it sat in the fridge for 10 hours. Gonna start it in the morning :)

          2. Cryo-vac'd pork that has gone "off" in my world always smelld like sulfur to me.

            And noticabley rancid once opened.

            Keep in mind I see packaages of things all the time that should be kept cold or frozen in parts of the grocery where they should not be due to dumbass customers.
            Theft attempt? perhaps. Change of mind? Perhaps.

            Urine smell? Can't say I've had that experience.
            Sulfur smell of pork gone bad via a cryovac grocery buy?
            Oh hellz to the yes.

            And no, it's not nor should be typical of any meat. Pork or any other.


            1 Reply
            1. re: jjjrfoodie

              I really don't know; over the course of a year, I bought 3 different cuts from 3 different local supermarkets. On different occasions, I ordered sliced shoulder, shoulder and ribs and they all had this smell. Even bought pork (pernil) from a local spanish restuarant and it had this off smell. I think the local stores are using uncut male pigs for their cuts to keep the prices for their pork down and desirable.

            2. I 've experienced urine odor w/ grass-fed beef, supposedly due to high uric acid content in pasture. I know the feeding habits of pigs differ, but wondering re connection ?

              2 Replies
              1. re: thatswhatiwant

                I think it's a matter of what gender the pig is, or general mishandling. Apparently sows are the preferred pigs to use because males produce hormones that make the meat smelly.

                1. re: 7speter

                  Generalizing now: Your basic 'pig' is either a sow or a 'fixed' boar. The males are 'fixed' in large commercial operations when they are a few days old. Unfixed 'boars' do not 'do play well with others' and their average daily weight gain isn't comparable to fixed boars or sows.
                  Your average small pig farmer will not keep more than one unfixed boar in the same field/s.
                  You might have bought some meat from an old boar past his prime. They do stink and nothing will effectively remove the 'off' flavor of the meat. Same with an old ram or bull.
                  If you want tasty pig meat find a local small producer and buy a whole new born pig and keep an eye on this pig by confirming it's tattoo on it's ear when yo drop by every month.
                  As to the best age to slaughter that depends on a number of factors:http://www.thepigsite.com/forums/show...

              2. OP - what type of meat do you normally prepare?

                The comments about consistent urine smelling meat is a bit concerning. To me there might be a pattern.

                I've never experience urine smelling meat with cryogvac meat. Actually never at all. Are we talking ammonia smells?

                1. I have raised hogs and love the meat. I think that I have noticed the same smell and believe that the smell is likely from co2 that is added when the meat is cryo-vaced. I usually rinse the meat. If the smell is just to strong I toss the meat. I can't bring myself to use it.

                  The smell of boar is different. I find that most people don't know what I'm talking about when I say, "the smell of boar". I usually notice it most when I fry bacon. I toss the bacon at that point.