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Roasting a Pork Shoulder


paulraphael
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Having tried Heston Blumenthal's 20hr fore-rib of beef a week or two back, I thought I'd give a bone in pork shoulder a go with the very low and very slow this weekend.

Well scored skin and a good rub down with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper was the only help it had.

I had the oven set at 65ºC (measured with a decent digital thermometer) and left the blade in there for 12 hours.

Once the core temperature of the pork has reached 65ºC, it stays there and doesn't overcook at all... just gets very, very tender.

I turned the oven up to 250ºC for a final 30 minutes (ish) to brown the outside off and crisp up the skin which I removed for this bit.

Moist... succulent... tender... perfectly done... pick your own adjectives, it was gorgeous. Served it up with an apple gravy, roast spuds and broccoli.

:cool:

This sounds wonderful. How much did your roast weigh? Also, if the skin was on I assume there was a healthy layer of fat underneath. As it melted did you have the pork sitting on a rack or did it just bathe in it's own fat?

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This sounds wonderful. How much did your roast weigh? Also, if the skin was on I assume there was a healthy layer of fat underneath. As it melted did you have the pork sitting on a rack or did it just bathe in it's own fat?

The roast weighed about 3Kg/6lb, there was indeed a healthy layer of fat under the skin that render out very well and I did sit it on a vegetable bed so it didn't sit in this fat.

I reckon this would have quite happily carried on for quite a few hours more without trouble, literally just falling apart. Mine was still perfectly able to be sliced as a proper roast.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm hoping to get a quick response so I can get the 5lb bone in shoulder of pork into a 300degree oven ASAP.

I've cooked shoulder in a covered pot in a slow oven before, but this is the first time it's had the skin on and bone-in. I looked at lots of recipes, but none mention the skin. Should I slash it, sear it or remove it. I like all things porky so I'd rather leave it on.

I brined it for 2 days in a sugar salt and pickling spice mixture.

Advice?

Thanks so much!

[edited to add. I plan on cooking it until it is falling apart for enchilada filling]

Grace

Edited by FoodMuse (log)

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Slash it and throw it in the oven.

Then pick off the skin and eat it yourself while you make the enchiladas. :smile:

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Thank you!!

Do I need to put it on a rack or is it ok to just stick it in my roasting pan?

I have some Chris Schlesinger inspire BBQ rub I thought I might use on it. Essentially brown sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder, chipotle powder, etc. I thought I might rub into the skin. Is this a good idea or do you think I should stick with salt and lots of pepper?

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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I like Schlesinger's rub--I think it would be a delicious addition. Using a rack is a good idea, but not necessary.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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@Jaz Oops wished I'd seen your post in time. Just heavily salted it. Oh well. Will let you know how it turns out.

Luckily I like things extra salty. :biggrin: Have had friends joke the best gift for me would be a salt lick.

@Margo Thanks for you help. Went rack-less, but if I feel it's swimming in fat I might put it on one. Schlesinger is one of my favorite cookbook authors. I've never made one of his recipes that was a dud.

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Several times I've cooked 'picnic' pork shoulder that came with the skin and also a joint with two bones.

That is the same cut of meat used in the BBQ places in Memphis, when I was growing up there, to make chopped BBQ sandwiches with sauce and coleslaw on white bread buns. Then the meat was just chopped and not 'pulled' into shreds. 'Pulled' seems to have been a Carolina idea, but it has become popular. Broadly, for 'pulled' have to cook the meat longer and to a higher internal temperature.

This may be the same cut of meat you are cooking.

In Memphis, commonly each BBQ restaurant had a big BBQ 'pit', floor to ceiling, maybe 8 feet wide and three feet deep, made of iron plates, with a fire in the bottom, racks for the meat in the middle, a door on the side, and a chimney out the top. They had a sauce, thicker than just vinegar and sugar, that they used to baste the meat. The fire put out a lot of smoke, especially since fat and sauce dripped onto the fire.

So the meat got flavors from the sauce and the smoke.

The times I have attempted to achieve something similar just in a standard kitchen electric oven, I put a stainless steel rack in a stainless steel roasting pan, put a lot of dry rub on the skinless parts of the meat, placed the meat skin side up on the rack, set the oven at about 210 F, and left the meat in the oven overnight.

For one trial that worked, the piece of meat, raw, weighed 10.18 pounds, and I cooked it in an oven at about 210 F for 16 hours to an internal temperature of 181 F, separated the meat from the fat, bones, and skin, got about 5 pounds of meat, chopped the meat coarsely, and placed it in an old gallon plastic ice cream container, covered, and refrigerated.

For a sandwich, put some of the chilled meat in a 300 ml Pyrex custard dish to fill the dish by about 85%, topped with about 1/4 C of bottled BBQ sauce and about 2 T of bottled hot sauce, covered, and warmed in microwave oven at 100% power for 2 minutes, rotated, and continued warming for another 1 minute.

Meanwhile I lightly toasted two white bread buns, from a package of 8 buns, Marty's, that weighed 18 ounces (relatively large buns).

Placed the meat on the two buns, added some salt, and ate. It was good.

If you want 'shredded' meat, cook to an internal temperature of about 190 F, separate the meat from the fat, skin, and bones, and shred the meat with, say, two forks. That may be what you are after.

I would cook at a low temperature, say, about 210 F, for a long time, say, 16 hours, instead of at 300 F for a shorter time. The longer time gives more time for the collagen to melt, and it seems to be the melted collagen that makes the meat easy to shred and 'succulent'.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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Recently had a chat with a friend about ways you can fuck up a pork shoulder. We could only think of two. Underseasoning and undercooking. I guess you could burn it too. I've cooked them hot and fast, slow and low, braised, boiled and barbecued. The pork shoulder is an inherently flavourful, juicy and delicious piece of meat. No matter what crazy idea I have, it always seems to come out all right.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Ned I have another way to screw up a shoulder.

Behold my disasterous Incinerated Pork Shoulder. I used lots of rub, skin side up in a pan, 300 degrees for about 7 hours.

Epic Fail.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/foodmuse1/3347020885/

Once my bruised ego has healed, I'll give it another try.

Project, I'll use your method of overnight at 210. Thanks for the notes.

Grace

Edited by FoodMuse (log)

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Grace,

Sorry the 300 F burned the meat.

But your photography is good!

For using a temperature as low as 210 F, unless you have good reason to trust some super-tech oven, I would advise getting three simple, inexpensive oven thermometers, place in the oven, and use them to be sure of the oven temperature. I got my thermometers from a hook in the gadget section of my grocery store. Since the thermometers tend to fall through the gaps in the oven rack, I place the thermometers on a 'platform' of a folded sheet of aluminum foil. Since all three of my thermometers, placed together, read the same, I have confidence in the temperature they read.

The dial on my oven reads about 75 F too low. So, to get 210 F inside the oven, I have to position the dial below its lowest temperature marked on the dial. If the dial on your oven is no more accurate than mine, then you need some thermometers inside the oven to let you know, and set, the temperature.

With thermometers inside the oven, you may discover that, as the electric or gas heat source cycles off and on, the temperature fluctuates between, say, 200 F and 220 F. Such fluctuations are to be expected and are not harmful. Still the fluctuations can complicate setting the oven dial so that the average temperature inside the oven is about 210 F.

So, to get the dial adjusted, might put the thermometers inside the oven, turn the oven on, try to set the dial for, say, 210 F, wait maybe 45 minutes, look at the thermometers, adjust the dial, etc. When you finally get the dial in a position that gives about 210 F then go ahead and put the meat into the oven!

Then you should have at least one more thermometer, a 'meat' thermometer. The one I use I got decades ago with brand name Taylor. It has a glass tube with a stainless steel scale. To use, use the tip of knife to poke a hole in the surface of the meat and insert the thermometer. The thermometer stays with the roast inside the oven. Place the sharp end of the thermometer in the deepest part of the meat but not in contact with a bone. You might position the thermometer and the scale so that it will be easy to read the temperature without pulling the roasting pan all the way out of the oven.

Then, for 'pulled' pork, cook until the meat thermometer reads about 190 F. You might also like 185 F. 195 F might be a bit too high.

As the internal temperature of the meat rises, you will likely find a temperature 'stall', maybe near 145 F and maybe again near 160 F: So, maybe at first you check the temperature of the meat thermometer each 30 minutes and see the temperature rise slowly but steadily. Then you reach a temperature 'stall' and the temperature stays nearly constant for over an hour. So, maybe you guess that something is wrong or that it will be many hours before reaching 190 F, and both guesses can be wrong!

When the temperature stall is past, then the internal temperature of the meat will again rise slowly but steadily. So, don't let a temperature stall fool you.

By the time the internal temperature reaches 180 F or so, the bone inside the meat should start to become loose. By 185 F, the meat will be close to falling apart.

Having the skin side up, the fat under the skin can drip down through the meat and make it more moist.

The cooking time of 16 hours I used was for a piece of meat that weighed just over 10 pounds. If the weight of your cut is a lot less, then so will be the cooking time.

Good luck: You stand to get a lot of flavorful, tender, moist, 'succulent' shredded meat for your application.

Pork shoulder really is very forgiving. If tried the above procedure with, say, a 10 pound beef bottom round roast, then the result would be much less 'succulent'.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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