This recipe is lazy. Perfect for a cold winter day – where you want to stay under blankets in front of the fire, and you have more time than energy. Season the pork, drop it in the pot, surround with vegetables, slap on the lid, and slide it into the oven. Go relax. Five hours later the pork roast is fall apart tender. Remove the lid, raise the heat in the oven, and let it brown for forty-five minutes. Spoon out the roast and the caramelized vegetables, and use the browned drippings in the pot to make a pan sauce.
The pot is also full of fat. Pork shoulder is not a lean cut. That’s why it is perfect for this recipe; the long, slow roast renders the fat and tenderizes the meat. Make sure you pour out all the fat before you start the pan sauce. Don’t worry; plenty of good pork flavor will be stuck in the browned sides of the pot.
Technically, this is a pot roast. I am cooking it in a lidded pot, after all. But the only liquid comes from the vegetables and the pork itself, so I’m not sure it qualifies. Can we get a ruling on this? Is this a braise, or a roast? Whatever it is, it’s delicious.
Recipe: Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Beer and Mustard Sauce
- Large pot or dutch oven with a heavy, tight fitting lid (Le Creuset, with their cast iron lids, are perfect for this.)
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Beer and Mustard Sauce recipe – pork shoulder, roasted low and slow in the oven.
- 4-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks or 1/2 pound baby carrots
- 1/2 cup beer (preferably a Belgian abbey ale or brown ale)
- 1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven, season the roast: Set the oven to 325°F. If the pork shoulder has a layer of fat, cut the fat in a diamond crosshatch pattern to help it render. Use your fingers to mix the salt, brown sugar, and pepper in a small bowl, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar, then sprinkle evenly over the pork shoulder, working the seasonings into any natural cuts in the meat.
- Cook the pork: Put the pork shoulder in the dutch oven, surround with the vegetables, cover, and put in the preheated oven, and cook for 5 hours, or until the pork is browned and has reached at least 195°F measured in the thickest part. (205°F would be better.) Remove the lid, increase the heat to 475°F, and cook until the roast is well browned on top, about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and move the pork and vegetables to a platter with a slotted spoon. (The pork will be fall apart tender. It’s OK if it breaks into a couple of chunks).
- Pan sauce (optional): Discard the fat in the pot. (Use potholders! The pot handles will be blazing hot – they’ve been in the oven for six hours.) Put the pot on the stovetop over medium heat, add the beer, and bring to a boil, scraping to loosen the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pot. Simmer the beer until it is almost gone, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and mustard to the pot and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 more minutes. Transfer the sauce to a gravy boat, drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the pan sauce over the pork, and serve, passing the rest of the sauce at the table.
- For serving, I try to cut the roast into slices. Emphasis on “try” – the roast is so tender that most of the slices fall apart as I try to cut them. That’s OK. Do your best, but don’t worry if the cuts look ragged – mine did too – I just poured a few tablespoons of the pan sauce on top and served it up.
- The key to this recipe is a heavy, tight fitting lid. That’s why I recommend cast iron in the equipment section. The heavy lid will help radiate heat onto the meat, and the tight fit will trap liquid, helping the roast steam as it cooks. If your pot lid does not make a tight seal, use aluminum foil to help it out. Cover the top of the pot with a sheet of foil that overhangs the edge, then push the lid down into the foil, and crimp the foil around the edge of the pot and lid.
- Add more diced onions and carrots if you have room in your pot. I used a round Le Creuset 3.5 quart oven, which was a tight fit for the pork. I think a 5 quart pot would have worked better. (My Le Creuset selection has a hole in the middle. I go from 3.5 quarts to 9.5 quarts, with nothing in between, so I went with what I had, and it worked fine.)
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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