Night-and-Day Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

If you enjoy slow-cooking, you'll love this dish—a pork shoulder with big, bold, crunchy skin and an interior so meltingly tender in texture and so vibrant in taste that eating it will be a revelation. Slow, low-temperature cooking is the key.

I developed this recipe following some of the precepts of the late Adelle Davis, a food authority of the sixties—“setting the oven temperature at the temperature you want the meat when it is done.” Though much of her “nutritional” advice has since been discredited, her slow-roasting methods are still sound and worthwhile provided you follow some important safety measures: Choose whole pieces of meat. Don't use a skewer or other utensil to pierce the flesh except a clean, dry, digital probe thermometer. Don't stuff the meat. And use high-temperature roasting at the beginning of the cooking to remove any surface bacteria.

After this first high-temperature blast, you can reduce the oven heat and leave the pork to roast leisurely. It won't burn, and you won't have to watch it much. You can even raise or lower the oven temperature to suit your schedule. Use your digital probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.

This is a very forgiving recipe. Once the preferred internal temperature is achieved, the meat will stay at that temperature for a while, remaining moist and tender until ready to serve.

For extra moisture, the pork may be soaked in a salt and sugar brine a few days in advance (step 1 in the recipe for Pot-Roasted Pork Loin with Fall Fruits,). Be sure to begin the preparations that follow a day before you plan to serve the pork.

Serve with Glazed Carrots with Green Olives.

Ingredients

  • One 6- to 7-pound bone-in fresh pork picnic shoulder roast or Boston butt with skin on
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • teaspoons dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • ½ cup oloroso sherry
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Crushed hot red pepper
  • teaspoons top-quality sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Score the skin of the pork in a crisscross diamond pattern like a ham, making deep cuts about 1 inch apart. Crush the garlic with the salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Rub over all the meaty parts of the roast as well as the skin.
  2. Set the pork shoulder skin side up on a rack in an oiled shallow roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.
  3. Scatter the onion and carrot slices around the pork. Pour half the sherry and half the stock into the pan. Add a good pinch of hot pepper. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°F and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until a probe thermometer inserted in the center of the meat reads 170° to 175°F, about 12 hours. (It will not hurt the meat to keep it in the oven longer, up to a total of 24 hours.) Avoid opening the oven door any more than necessary. (If the meat is cooked before this time, simply reduce the oven temperature to 160°F and continue to roast the pork slowly while preparing the carrots as directed.)
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the meat from the oven and transfer to a carving board. Cover loosely and set aside in a warm place. Pour the remaining sherry and stock into the pan. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Strain the pan juices into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables. Skim off as much fat as possible. Stir in the vinegar and correct the seasoning.
  5. Lift the skin of the pork and cut it into thick strips; place on a serving platter. Slice the meat across the grain and arrange on the platter. Pour the pan juices over the meat.