How To Cook Your Pork Shoulder
At TJB we are huge believers in the Nose to Tail eating philosophy; making the most of every animal and eating the whole of the beast to minimise waste and make eating meat as sustainable as possible. What’s more, we know that with the right treatment, less commonly cooked cuts can taste just as amazing as their widely eaten counterparts. When it comes to pork shoulder, that is certainly the case. Read on to discover how to cook this cut to perfection for a meaty main that’s head and shoulders above the rest!
What is Pork Shoulder Anyway?
Pork shoulder, as you may have taken a wild guess at, is a cut of meat taken from the shoulder of the pig. Because this is a part of the animal that is exercised well and bears a lot of weight for the pig, the meat is naturally tougher than other cuts. So as ever, the key to turning tough to tender is to cook low and slow – keeping the temperature of the oven down and allowing the meat the time it needs to cook slowly and tenderise.
How to Cook your Pork Shoulder to Perfection
We’d be telling porkies (pun intended) if we told you cooking pork shoulder was quick and easy. It may take a little patience, but the end result is certainly worth the wait! Here’s how to perfect your pork shoulder…
- Ask your butcher to leave all that delicious fat exactly where it is, the layer of fat will protect the meat, add moisture and also sizzle its way to becoming a delicious crispy pork crackling
- If you’ve opted to marinade your meat make sure it has a minimum of a few hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavour to penetrate the meat
- Prior to cooking take your shoulder out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature, meanwhile preheat the oven to around 220°C/gas mark 8
- Score the fat in zig-zag formation with a sharp knife, aim to score through the fat without cutting into the meat – and be careful with that knife! (Or ask your friendly butcher 😉 )
- Rub every side of the meat with a little olive oil and sea salt (leave the freshly cracked black pepper until after) – be sure to push the seasoning into every nook and cranny
- Take a deep-sided, heavy bottomed cast iron or ceramic pot and line with a vegetable trivet and herbs of our choice – this acts like a bed for the meat, helping it to cook evenly and provide lots of flavour
- Place your pork shoulder onto the veg trivet fat side up – this will help to retain moisture and add flavour as it cooks
- Pop into the oven and cook at 220°C/gas mark 8 for an initial 20-30 minutes or until you see the skin starting to crisp up
- Ad 500ml of stock, water, wine or cider – the choice is yours! – cover with the lid and reduce the heat to 160°C/gas mark 3
- Cook for 2-6 hours dependent on size and then remove from the oven
- Allow the meat to rest for at least half an hour, which will keep in all the moisture and make your meat as succulent as can be
- Carve and serve up with your favourite trimmings and, of course, apple sauce!
Let's Get Cooking...
Now you know the basic principles of how to cook your pork shoulder, why not put your skills to the test and pig out on these perfectly porky recipes?
Shoulder of Pork with Cider and Apples (https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/shoulder-of-pork-with-cider-and-apples/)
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Herbs and Chard (https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/shoulder-of-pork-with-cider-and-apples/)
Italian Red Wine Pork Roast (https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/italian-red-wine-pork-roast/)
Homemade Apple Sauce (fancy!) (https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-make-homemade-applesauce-4156507)