During this stay at home order, I have been trying to be very smart and creative when it comes to grocery shopping. Since March, I have only been to the grocery store twice! Before this pandemic I would venture out almost twice a week.
When I do go to the grocery store, I generally have no idea what I am going to prepare in the coming days so I try and stock my pantry with items that can be utilized in many different ways. My main point of focus when I am shopping is the meat aisle. I like to look for larger types of meat cuts like beef brisket, whole chickens, and of course, my favorite: pork shoulder. These cuts are usually a better price point and can be transformed into more than just one meal and that is important to me right now.
How many of you have ever cooked a 10-pound pork shoulder? If you answered yes, then you are in great company! If not, I know how daunting that may sound. The thoughts of uncertainty, cooking it properly, and how to know when it’s done are racing through your brain. But don't let them return to your comfort zone of boneless skinless chicken breasts while in the grocery store!
I am here to ease all of those doubts so that you feel comfortable cooking a large cut of meat. I want you to be as excited as I am for leftovers! That’s right I said the dreaded “L” word. If you are anything like my husband, (whom I might add is also a professional chef) you do not like reheating food to eat the next day. I can appreciate the sentiment, but if you take in all of the tips and tricks I have for cooking a pork shoulder, you will be rewarded with some new recipe ideas to utilize all of this wonderful piggy you beautifully cooked for yourself.
Cooking the Pork Shoulder
Here is my foolproof method of slow roasting a pork shoulder:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a sheet tray with foil and put a rack on it.
- Season pork shoulder heavily with salt and pepper or your favorite spice rub and place it on the sheet tray.
- Roast the pork shoulder in the oven for roughly 6-7 hours depending on how many pounds of pork you have.
- Once the pork shoulder reaches an internal cooking temperature of 180 degrees, turn the oven up to 450 degrees.
- Continue to roast the pork for 20 more minutes or until the outside starts to crisp up.
- Pull the pork shoulder out of the oven and let rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
- Let the pork shoulder sit out at room temperature for at least 1 hour before roasting.
- Slow and low are words to live by for large cuts of meat that have bones or a lot of connective tissue; this is the best way to break down the toughness and make the pork fork tender.
- Having a probe thermometer that can stay in the oven is a great way to keep an eye on temperature. My favorite is the CDN digital programmable thermometer.
- Pork shoulder is a very forgiving cut of meat, so when cooking at 300 degrees it is impossible to “over cook”, no matter what the thermometer says.
- The pork shoulder should shred very easily if cooked properly, but do not skimp on the resting time, otherwise you run the risk of it drying out.
- Pork shoulder freezes and reheats very well after it has been cooked.
What to Do Next
Now that you have a beautiful cooked pork shoulder, just think of the possibilities! Once you shred the pork shoulder you can mix it up with a barbeque sauce for a pulled pork sandwich. Or, better yet, toss it with different kinds of salsa and make tacos, quesadillas, or flautas.
If you are interested in how I rolled and fried the flautas, check out this video I made in my own kitchen for NBC news.
The recipe I am most excited to share with you is my Pork Ragu.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, Italian herbs
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomato
2 cups pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
I just happened to make pork stock with my shoulder bone and a ham bone leftover but any stock or even water would work in this recipe.
1. Sauté the veggies over medium heat, (a little caramelization is okay) until they are tender.
2. Add the garlic and the spices, cook for a minute or until aromatic.
3. Deglaze the pan by adding the red wine, reduce down until almost dry.
4. Add the pork, stock and the cans of tomatoes, stir until everything is coated.
5. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for about 30 minutes, stirring and breaking up the big pork squares occasionally.
Ultimately, the pork should be evenly shredded throughout the ragu and the constancy of the sauce should be thick.
- Serve over rigatoni and top with Parmesan cheese.
This ragu will keep for up to a week in the fridge or freezer for a month. f you have any other questions on how to cook the pork shoulder or stumped on how to use up leftover pork. please ask me in the comments section. I would be happy to help.
I am so thrilled to be back teaching again with all of our new virtual classes we are offering. Check out my upcoming classes:
- Moroccan Braised Chicken demonstration tonight at 6pm CST
- Mother’s Day Crepes demonstration on Sunday, May 10 at 11am CST and
- Cook Along class on Pate a Choux on Saturday, May 16 at 10am CST.