Ultra-Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Ultra-Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
This roast has juicy, porky, spoon-tender middle, and an impossibly crisp and crusty-on-the-outside
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: serves 8 - 12
  • 1 whole bone-in, skin on pork shoulder, 8 to 12 lbs total
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine Sugar and salt in small bone. Pat roast dry with paper towels. Remove skin leaving ¼ inch of fat. Cut slits spaced 1 inch apart in a crosshatch pattern in the surface layer of fat. Being careful not to cut into the meat. Rub roast evenly with sugar mixture. Wrap roast in plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 250°F.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil (see note) and set a wire rack inside it. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the wire rack. Season pork on all sides with pepper and place on parchment paper. Place roast fat side up and transfer to oven and roast until knife or fork inserted into side shows very little resistance when twisted, about 8 hours total.
  4. Remove pork from oven and tent with foil. Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Increase oven to 500°F and allow to preheat. Return pork to the oven and roast until skin is blistered and puffed, rotating every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes’ total. Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow to rest an additional 15 minutes. Serve with port wine cherry sauce or cider golden raisin sauce.
Why this roast is so Good. It’s the two-stage cooking process. First, the roast is slow-cooked in a low oven. This method gives ample time for the tough connective tissue inside the shoulder to break down into juicy, rich gelatin while ensuring that it doesn't dry out. At the same time, proteins in the skin begin to break down, softening up its structure. This allows the skin to puff, crackle, and crisp up when you finish the shoulder with a blast in a hot, hot oven.


Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Wine Braised Peach Sauce

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Wine Braised Peach Sauce
Moist and flavorful roast that is even more enhanced with the sweet and sour elements found in this wine braised peach sauce.
  • Pork Roast
  • 1 bone-in pork butt, 6 to 8 pounds (see note)
  • ⅓ cup kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • Ground black pepper
  • Peach Sauce
  • 10 ounces frozen peaches, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups) or 2 fresh peaches, cut into ½ -inch wedges
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  1. FOR THE ROAST: Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat. Combine salt and brown sugar in medium bowl. Rub salt mixture over entire pork shoulder and into slits. Wrap roast tightly in double layer of plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap roast and brush off any excess salt mixture from surface. Season roast with pepper. Transfer roast to V-rack coated with nonstick cooking spray set in large roasting pan and add 1 quart water to roasting pan.
  3. Cook roast, basting twice during cooking, until meat is extremely tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into roast near but not touching bone registers 190 degrees, 5 to 6 hours. Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, loosely tented with foil, 1 hour. Transfer liquid in roasting pan to fat separator and let stand 5 minutes. Pour off ¼ cup jus; discard fat and reserve remaining jus for another use.
  4. FOR THE SAUCE: Bring peaches, wine, granulated sugar, ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ cup defatted jus, and thyme to simmer in small saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar and mustard. Remove thyme, cover, and keep warm.
  5. Using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone until it can be pulled free from roast (use clean kitchen towel to grasp bone). Using serrated knife, slice roast. Serve, passing sauce separately.
Add more water to the roasting pan as necessary during the last hours of cooking to prevent the fond from burning. Serve the pork with the accompanying peach sauce or cherry sauce (related recipe) or with a sweet-tart chutney.

Instead of the lean, center-cut loin, our choice for roasting is pork butt (also known as Boston butt). This shoulder roast packs plenty of intramuscular fat that melts and bastes the meat during cooking, and it’s available with or without the bone. Use bone-in for two reasons: First, bone conducts heat poorly and, in effect, acts as an insulator against heat. This means that the meat surrounding it stays cooler and the roast cooks at a slower, gentler pace. Second, bones have a large percentage of the meat’s connective tissue attached to them, which eventually breaks down to gelatin and helps the roast retain moisture.

Bone-in pork butt takes longer to cook than boneless but retains more moisture and cooks more evenly. We started our slow-roasted pork shoulder recipe by rubbing our roast’s exterior with brown sugar and salt, then left it to rest overnight. The sugar dried out the exterior and boosted browning. Elevating the pork shoulder on a V-rack and pouring water in the roasting pan kept the slow-roasted pork’s drippings from burning as it roasted. It also created a significant jus with no burning. Finally, a fruity sauce recipe with sweet and sour elements cut the slow-roasted pork shoulder’s richness.


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