Pork Shoulder Ecstasy

Pork shoulder is a fatty cut with lots of connective tissue. Long, slow cooking melts the fat and breaks down the connective tissue, leaving the meat moist and very tender. “Because of its high fat content and marbling, pork shoulder is the classic cut for pulled pork barbecue,” notes Tom Armitage. “The general advice I’d give is to braise the heck out of it and just choose the sort of flavor you want,” says katecm. “It can fit into so many sorts of dishes.”

Crispy pork, a stovetop version of carnitas, is TorontoJo’s favorite way to cook pork shoulder (she uses chicken broth in place of the water called for). “It looks gray and unappetizing for about 90 percent of the cooking time,” she says, “then at the very end it suddenly transforms into this golden brown, crispy, savory wonder.”

This chile verde from Bay Area Bites is “foolproof and delicious,” according to Dcfoodblog. JungMann recommends cider-braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions.

Caroline1 loves this simple prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a pork shoulder in a deep, covered pan not much bigger than it is. Sprinkle the top of the pork liberally with Worcestershire sauce, then pack a fairly thick layer of brown sugar over it. Pour enough apple juice in the pan to come at least halfway up the pork, avoiding the brown sugar. Cover, place in the oven, and reduce the heat to 200 degrees. Bake for six to eight hours, until it’s falling-apart tender. “It just vanishes before your eyes,” says Caroline1, “and it tastes far more complex and sophisticated than it sounds. Don’t tell your guests how easy it is.”

CHOW’s Chinese-style Red-Cooked Pork is made with shoulder.

Board Link: What is your favorite recipe for pork shoulder?

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