Roast pork shoulder

I made this with a beautiful piece of pork from happy free-ranging heritage local pigs from Lover’s Leap Farm.  I recommend sourcing from a humane farm.  The cut of meat I used is called a Picnic Shoulder (vs Boston Butt) — it has the skin and a bone.  It is ideal for roasting low and slow because the thick layer of fat under the skin bastes the meat while it cooks.  And it yields fantastic chicharrones, cracklings, or pork rind (depending on where you are from!).

For a dinner party in late Spring/early Summer, try potatoes, asparagus and strawberry shortcake as accompaniments.

If frozen, you will need to allow at least one day to defrost in refrigerator.  Then season meat 24-48 hours prior to starting to cook the morning of your feast.

It is very, very easy to make.  The most difficult part is sourcing it, and maybe too cutting into the skin.  It cooks by itself all day while you do something else, with the alluring aroma of garlic and rosemary wafting through your home.  Mangia!


Pork shoulder roast, with skin and bone-in, approx 7#

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 T kosher salt

4 t chopped fresh rosemary

4 t chopped fresh sage

2 t fennel seeds

1 t freshly ground pepper


  1. Mix flavoring ingredients:  With mortar and pestle, mush together garlic and salt. Add in other ingredients, and mush to combine. Alternately, use spice grinder or mini-chopper.
  1. Slash pork skin with a razor (box cutter or Tinkle will do), in lines about ¾” inch apart. Rub in garlic/herb mixture, massage in, and put in refrigerator uncovered for 1-1/2 days. (Leaving uncovered rather than wrapped allows skin to dry out.)image
  2. To cook, remove meat from refrigerator and put on counter for 1-2 hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and set rack on lower third of oven.
  1. Put pork on rack in roasting pan, and roast at high heat for ½ hour. Turn heat down to 250 degrees, and roast for another 8-9 hours.
  2. Check after a few hours and if browning unevenly, move pan around in oven, and perhaps move to lower position in oven.
  3. After 8 hours or so, check to see if meat is falling off bone, or take its temperature. You want temp of at least 175-185 (can go up to 200), or until meat pulls away easily. Remove from oven and leave on counter for up to 2 hours.
  4. Crisp up pork skin/to make chicharrones: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Slice off top skin and some fat, and put on clean baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, until crisp.
  1. To serve: Tear or cut off large chunks of meat, and slice thickly against the grain. Serve with variety of pieces with fat, seasoning, etc, and a couple pieces of chicharrones. Vegetables are nice too.

Gilding the lily: Pour off fat from roasting pan (save for potatoes later if you’d like), and deglaze pan with stock, add flour, cook whisking for 10 mins, add more stock, S&P and serve in gravy boat.

Credits/Inspiration: Molly Stevens, All About Roasting; Bruce Aidells, The Complete Meat Cookbook.