Need an easy main course (plus a side!) for a crowd? Love tender pork that pulls apart easily and has super crisp skin? Well then, slow roasted pork shoulder is the recipe for you! A few minutes prep work and a few hours in the oven and you’ll have some of the best roast pork I’ve ever had.
When making a roast for a crowd, such as a holiday dinner, I like recipes that are either super quick and need attention or long and slow and very forgiving. I’m not fond of long and slow but easy to overcook. Sorry turkey, I wouldn’t want Thanksgiving without you, but you’re too fussy for me most holidays. Next week I have a grilled butterflied leg of lamb coming up (Note: YUM!), and that recipe cooks in 15 minutes so you are going to be right there on top of it, ready to take it off, but you only need to be on top of it for a few minutes. Perfect holiday roast that you can throw on the grill just as the side dishes are getting organized. Today’s recipe is on the other side. It cooks for hours, but you have a fairly wide range of time where you can take out and be very happy. So you don’t have to be right on top of it for fear it will turn to dust or dry out. Though don’t ignore it completely! Keep an eye on it, add water if needed, and don’t add the veggies until everyone has arrived and it’s time to get dinner moving.
There are a lot of slow roasted pork recipes out there and most of them are pretty similar. This makes sense since roast pork shoulder doesn’t need much to be amazingly good. So good that you’d better be careful when it’s resting or you’ll have picked enough little tastes that you have eaten most of your portion standing over the roasting pan. Not that I know anything about that! 🙂
But back to the roast – you need a low oven, some salt, an herb or two if you want (I like sage), and that’s about it. Maybe some wine, some vegetables and you have a meal. I first saw a recipe I wanted to try for pork shoulder on Fine Cooking – Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Carrots, Onions, and Garlic a few years ago, and I have to admit it was so darn good that I haven’t changed much. I rearranged the veggies a bit by tossing out the onion while adding in some parsnips, and added a lot more of the veggies. Also, I like sage, so I rub some dried sage on with the salt.
The vegetables are beautiful and a little caramelized and sweet from the roasting. The meat is tender and flavorful from the fat dripping down. The sauce itself does need a de-fatting before serving and can be thickened up into a gravy or served as is. Mashed or roasted potatoes are a great accompaniment as are mashed sweet potatoes.
- 6 lb pork shoulder, cut into a couple of chunks
- 1 tbsp dried ground sage
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks
- 6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks
- The night before roasting, put the the pork shoulder fat side up in a roasting pan, rub it all over with sage and salt, and then cover it and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Then 1-2 hours before you are going to start cooking it, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter to warm up a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Uncover the roast and put it in the oven. Cook the roast for about 2½ - 3½ hours, or until the meat is mostly tender. (It will still be a little tough in the middle.) Check at 2½ hours to see how it's doing, and then each ½ hour after.
- Add the wine, 1 cup of water, the carrots and the parsnips. Cook for 1 hour.
- Take the roast out of the oven and increase the temperature to 375F. Break up the roast into smaller pieces, keeping the fat side up. Add more water if needed. Put the roast back in the oven and cook it for 15-20 minutes more. It should be browned and very tender when you take it out.
- Scoop out the pork and the vegetables into a serving platter. Then skim the fat off the juices and pour them into a serving cup to be used at table.
You can add other vegetables, like brussels sprouts or green beans but don't add those until the last few minutes.
I frequently make this roast just for us and freeze the leftovers for future dinners.
Recipe adapted from Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Carrots, Onions, and Garlic by Fine Cooking.