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Roasted Pork Shoulder

Roasted Pork Shoulder

Slow and steady is the way to go when cooking hard-working cuts of meat like pork shoulder. When buying pork for slow cooking, go for a pork shoulder (also sold as a pork butt or Boston butt) with a layer of fat on one side, which will keep the meat moist and flavorful over hours of cooking.

1 pork shoulder, 6-8 pounds
3 Tbsp. white sugar
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

The day before you want to cook the pork, stir together sugar, salt, and pepper and rub over the entire surface of the pork shoulder. Place the shoulder, uncovered and on a baking pan with a 2 inch rim, back in the fridge overnight. Don’t skip this step—it helps the meat stay moister and more flavorful.

The next day, bake the pork in a 250°F oven for 6-8 hours. Check the meat every hour or so to make sure that the outside doesn’t go past deep golden brown to burnt. If it begins to get too dark, loosely cover the meat with foil for the rest of the roasting time. For the last several hours, check the meat occasionally with a paring knife. When the knife goes through the meat without much resistance, the pork shoulder is done.

Remove from the oven, cover with foil if not already covered, and let the meat rest for 20 minutes (this helps the meat stay juicier once you cut into it). Slice, shred, or pull the pork, making sure to include some of the crispy caramelized surface.

This pork freezes and reheats nicely, so it works well to prepare it several days before you need it and then reheat it with some of its juices. I like to serve it as pork roast, mixed with sauce for barbecue pork sandwiches, or with a green chili sauce for pork burritos.