Saturday, April 21, 2012

The last roast of the season?

April 15, 2012

  • Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Peas & Onions
  • Thomas Fogarty 2009 Gewürztraminer

I often watch the America's Test Kitchen or Cooks' Country TV shows, recorded on our DVR, as I eat my lunch. A few weeks ago I viewed the Fall Favorites episode from ATK and, even though it is Spring and not Fall, I was inspired to try the roasted pork shoulder. I have used this cut of meat, also known as Boston butt, several times before, smoking it for pulled pork sandwiches. It has a lot of connective tissue and fat which benefits from long cooking times. I had never cooked it in the oven and thought it was worth a try. With the approach of warmer weather we soon won't want to run the oven all day so this seemed like a good time to try this.

I first went to Whole Foods to find the meat but was disappointed to learn they do not carry the bone-in pork shoulder that the recipe called for, and I walked out of the store empty handed. I then remembered that a new store, New Leaf Community Markets, had recently opened nearby and I had yet to pay a visit. I went there and talked to the butcher, asking for a bone-in pork shoulder roast. No problem, he went into the back and came out with a huge hunk of meat, I think it weighed around twelve pounds. I asked for a five pound portion and the band saw made quick work of it. The final piece weighted closer to six pounds than to five and it had a thick fat cap. In retrospect I should have taken him up on his offer to trim off some of that fat.

On Saturday night the fat cap was scored and the roast rubbed with a mixture of salt and brown sugar. The salt added flavor and the sugar enhanced browning. This was wrapped and refrigerated over night. Around noon on Sunday it was unwrapped and placed in a roasting pan in a 325° oven until reaching an internal temperature of 190°. Water was placed in the bottom of the roasting pan to prevent burning and provide the basis for the sauce.

After five hours the target temperature was reached and the roast removed from the oven. The directions were to let it rest for an hour but it rested longer than this. The bone was pretty easy to remove, but not so easy as on the show suggesting it could have cooked a little longer.

While the pork rested, I prepared a sauce with frozen peaches, jus, wine, and vinegar. Just before it was served I added some yellow mustard; the recipe called for whole-grain mustard but we don't usually have it on hand. I reduced the sauce for half an hour or so but in the smallish sauce pan that wasn't really enough, the sauce was thin and runny. The mustard was the dominant flavor to my palate, though not to Diane's, and it complemented the tender, juicy pork well.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce,  Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, p. 418
Also see this post from the blog My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball.

The Shepherd's Pie was very good leftover and was the featured dish in four subsequent meals.  It was simply reheated in the microwave. Halving the original recipe for the two of us is still probably the right strategy, however we never grew tired of having this meal over the course of 10+ days.


  1. Hm. This answers my question from the last post. It would appear Diane liked the new shepherd's pie recipe better than your old one.

  2. Hi Doug, I think that whole grain mustard would have reduced the predominance of the mustard. I also found it just a little too mustardy; maybe cut it down to 2 teaspoons.