By Matt Essert
A little while ago, I discovered pork shoulder. It was a wondrous occasion and my only regret is that it took so long. It’s a very delicious, and very cheap, cut of pork that, if cooked correctly, can be a real treat. And what’s even better is that it’s quite easy to cook well.
The “secret” to cooking pork shoulder (I don’t know if I’d really call it a secret, it’s not something I’m afraid to share with you) is to cook it low and slow. For a 2 or 2 and 1/2 pound piece of shoulder, about 4 hours at 300 degrees Fahrenheit should work perfectly. This should get the shoulder to a great consistency and flavor and you could then serve that pork as is. Or, another option is to keep cooking the shoulder until it basically falls apart. This is a great and easy way to make pulled pork and if you have the time, it’s definitely something I would recommend trying.
Cooking the shoulder this way will produce a great fall roast that would be perfect with something like this potato and apple mash.
2 to 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped into two or three pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
water, stock, or beer
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a food processor, combine garlic, onions, several big pinches of salt, a few turns of fresh ground black pepper, and just enough olive oil to get the processed ingredients into a nice paste. You’re going to be rubbing this on the pork, so you don’t want it too liquid or it will all fall off.
3. Rub the pork shoulder with the onion-garlic paste. Coat the entire shoulder as thoroughly as possible. If desired, add a bit more salt and pepper to the shoulder.
4. Place shoulder in a roasting pan and pour into the pan water, stock, or beer, or a mixture of any two or all three. Fill with about 1 inch of the liquid.
5. Place in oven and let cook for about 4 hours. Turn the shoulder ever once in a while and check to make sure the liquid hasn’t dried up during the cooking process. Shoulder is done when internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This recipe is even easier and possibly more rewarding. The only hard part is waiting a few more hours. This is a great and easy way to make pulled pork that would be ideal with rice and beans for a taco night.
Same as above
1. Cook the shoulder the same way as above, but after about 3 hours, turn the temperature down to 200 or 250 and cook for another five to six hours. The pork will naturally start to fall apart and you will eventually be able to easily pull the shoulder apart with a fork. Because you’ll have the shoulder in the oven, make sure you intermittently check on the pan to be sure that the liquid hasn’t dried up.
Photos: Matt Essert
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