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Pork shoulder recipe with lots of fennel. Opinions?

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I'm roasting about 20 pounds of pork shoulder for pulled pork tomorrow, and was wondering about this recipe:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5826...

I'm going to follow the long and slow part, may just brown under the broiler instead of in a pan.

My question is, this seems like a ton of fennel seed, which I have little experience cooking with. Will this roast come out like a porketta?

Thanks for any advice!

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  1. Does seem like a lot, but since Will Owen and c-oliver and others have had success, I would follow their instructions! They were cooking smaller roasts, even.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      Yep. I've used even four pounders but usually eight from Costco and don't change the proportions. For 20# I would bump it up however. Or maybe bump up everything except the fennel seed. I buy it in large quantities from Penzeys so it's not a problem for me.

    2. Yeah, this is looking like a midwestern porketta to me. What's your end goal for the pulled pork? If you're going for traditional pulled pork flavor, then you're going to have a very different flavor profile with the fennel.

      1. As you may have seen, I've made this A LOT. It's my fave for pork shoulder. I'm curious how you can do this in a pan rather than a couple of DOs. It produces a good bit of liquid with which you baste. I don't find any of the flavors at all overwhelming but if it's for sandwiches you could always leave out the fennel seed. While I almost always use the stated seasonings I've changed it up a couple of times and it's still wonderful. If you'll elaborate a little on the technique you're planning on using perhaps I can help a little more. Makes me hungry just thinking about "Will Owen's Pork Shoulder" :)

        7 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          Thanks everyone!
          My oven has a low cook setting, so it's like a giant slow cooker. I was going to put racks in some steam table pans, (to try to let the fat melt out) then close it up with foil in lieu of a cover.If I'm creative, I should be able to squeeze it all in, though I'm guessing I'll have to add to the cooking time.

          1. re: sccrash

            You'll baste it though, right? I can't remember the recipe offhand but I roast to an internal temp of 180. For pulled pork it seems that most people go to 190. I've never found that it takes as long as WO's recipe. BTW, he's on of my heroes on CH. I trust him implicitly :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I hardly ever post, but I trust him too, you as well! I always feel comfortable following your advice, and believe me, this won't be the first time:)

              I will absolutely baste, and am going to test it for "shreddiness" at 180.

              Will report back tomorrow to let you know how it went.

              I appreciate everyone's help! Hope you all have as much fun with your day as we will celebrating my buddy's 60th! tomorr

              1. re: sccrash

                Aw, thanks. And happy birthday to your bud! Let us know how much everyone raves :)

          2. re: c oliver

            Oops- forgot to say it is for sandwiches, so I think I'll go with all the garlic, but about a quarter of the fennel seed. Will have to try it the right way for a crowd with a bit more adventurous palate. It sounds wonderful!

            1. re: sccrash

              Sorry, I got thrown when you said you were making "pulled pork". My idea of pulled pork is paprika/ground pepper rub, smoked (or at least some smoke), and mopped with a vinegar sauce.

              I'd call what you and c oliver are referring to as "shredded pork", which, like shredded chicken or shredded beef, can take on any flavor profile.

              I also think it's interesting to see what different people's take is on porketta. There seems to be at least two versions, one that uses shoulder, cooks to around 190, and shreds it, and one that uses loin, cooks to around 145ish, and slices it. I personally subscribe to the loin sliced version, but here in Minnesota, the shoulder shredded version is the norm.

              Lastly, sccrash, if you are going for porketta, try to find fennel pollen. It has the fennel flavor profile, but not as one dimensional. The pollen is more nuanced, more complex, and, in combination with fennel seed, makes an awesome porketta, regardless of shoulder or loin.

            2. re: c oliver

              i'm hungry thinking about making cuban sandwiches with the leftovers! (of course i would have to reserve some of the pork from shredding, and just slice it).

            3. i think the fennel seeds (½ C) are fine for that amount of meat! in future, you might also try coriander or cumin, or some combo of all three. i love those flavors with pork. and the 10 cloves garlic? yeah, buddy! will owen is a culinary guru!

              5 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                I periodically think of your old,old thread about fennel, anise, etc. We should give that a bump.

                1. re: c oliver

                  yes, i thought of that, too. ;-). it is a good thread, and i see fennel at trader joe's two medium bulbs for $2.49 or so. gotta revisit the ideas there.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I guess I'll have to visit trader joe's. There's a shaven fennel bulb and truffle oil "salad" that I want to make. Fennel is much more expensive at my market.

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      Here's the thread:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576330

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        fennel at the regular grocery store is about double that tj's price.

                2. The fennel (and garlic) will move the flavor in the Italian direction. Fennel is the main flavor in (American) Italian sausage.

                  'pulled pork' usually means Southern BBQ flavors.

                  I used to buy preseasoned 'porketta' from the grocery - shoulder with a fennel/paprika rub. The 'recipe' called for wrapping it in foil and baking in a slow oven for 3-4 hrs. It was easy, and produced good, tender, flavorful meat. The foil usually contained a cup or so of concentrated meat juices.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: paulj

                    As I said, easy to change up the seasonings to suit. Wrapped in foil, did you get any "crunchies"?

                  2. Well, this is why I don't usually post. It's just like my school days: quick on the listen and learn, slow on the report.
                    It was delicious! Much of the fat melted away, but a perfect amount remained to keep the flavor and moisture level just right.
                    I basted faithfully, as per instructions. I only used a scant 1/2 cup of fennel for all the meat, and ended up wishing I had used it all, as it was barely detectable. Yes, I got crunchies, though the guests didn't. My party setup troops scarfed those down pretty quickly.Once the party started, I wash I had a nickel for every time I heard: "Man, this pork is good! How did you make it?"
                    My pal was completely surprised, and we had a memorable party.
                    Alkapal, thanks for thinking of Cuban sandwiches, they were great. Foreverhungry, I'm in Minnesota as well, but have only seen and had the sliced loin version. Must be a regional variation within regional variations.
                    Thanks, so much everyone, for your answers, and for the tips beyond that! Your contributions helped satisfy an always hungry group of folks in a delicious way!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sccrash

                      thanks for the report!

                      1. re: sccrash

                        Cool. Another fan of Will Owen's :)