I recently bought half a pastured pig from my nephew.
In case you didn’t know, half a pig is a whole lotta pig. Like, 60 pounds. So when I got home with a year’s worth of pork, I stuffed my chest freezer with it. There were three pork shoulders left from last year’s pig purchase, so I took them out to put them on top – so that I’d be sure to use those first.
Which would have been exactly the thing to do if I hadn’t forgotten to put them back in! Instead, they sat out on the floor of my basement the entire night. I didn’t remember them until the next morning. When I did remember them, I knew I’d have to cook them up since you can’t re-freeze meat. So that decided the issue of what to have for dinner that night! (and every other night for the next two weeks….)
Pork shoulder is great for pulled pork – like my Carolina Pork BBQ – but it’s also really good slow roasted. It comes out all melty and falling apart and delicious. And you can roast some root veggies right in the pan with the pork and have a whole meal out of it, so it’s an easy meal!
There should be a nice layer of fat on one side of your pork shoulder. You want to take a very sharp knife and score it an inch apart so that you cut through the fat, but don’t cut into the meat. Then take some salt and rub it all over, being careful to get it into the cuts. Season it all over with salt and pepper then put it fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan.
Stick it in a preheated 425 degree oven for half an hour, then cover it with tin foil and turn the heat down to 325.
And then you just let it go! Let it roast for 4 hours. The fat on the top will melt down and make the meat nice and moist and tender and create great drippings in the bottom of the pan.
After 4 hours, take it out of the oven and remove the roast to another platter. You’ll have all these nice drippings in the pan created from the meat.
Take a spatula and stir it around, getting the browned bits off the bottom and mixed in with the fat. Then put in a bunch of chopped onions and root veggies. I usually toss in some garlic cloves too for flavor.
Toss the veggies around to coat them in the drippings. You want them to be completely coated, with enough left in the bottom of the pan to thoroughly cook them. If you don’t have enough drippings for this, add some lard, palm shortening (this is the brand I get from my grocery store), or ghee until there’s enough fat for them to cook in. Those three fats are the only real-food fats that work well at high temperature, which is why you want to stick with those.
Nestle the roast back in with the veggies and turn the heat up to 400.
Stick it back in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and a meat thermometer reads 185 internal temperature. If at half an hour the roast is at temperature but the veggies aren’t done yet, then remove the roast to a platter and cover with tin foil to wait until the veggies are ready.
When it’s done, the meat will be super tender and should pull apart easily!
If you’re keeping it simple, just serve up with the root veggies for an all-in-one meal.
Or serve with a salad and some stewed apples for a great more well rounded meal!
Any way you serve it, it’ll be delicious!
(Which is a good thing – because we’re going to be eating it for a while….)
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder, preferably at room temperature
- salt and pepper
- 3 onions, cut into wedges
- 5-7 carrots, sliced into 1-2 inch pieces (peeled if not organic)
- 4-5 potatoes, cut into equal sized chunks (peeled if not organic, unpeeled if organic)
- 4 cloves garlic
- optional: lard, palm shortening, or ghee if necessary to add to the pan drippings
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Cut into the fat side of the roast at one inch intervals, cutting through the fat layer but not into the meat.
- Season it all over with salt and pepper, being sure to rub salt into the cuts in the fat.
- Put the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for half an hour.
- After half an hour cover the roast with tin foil and turn the temperature down to 325. Roast for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours remove from the oven and transfer the roast to a platter. Use a spatula to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan and mix them together with the fat.
- Add the cut onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic into the pan and stir it to completely cover with the pan drippings. If there aren't enough drippings to fully coat and cook the veggies, you can add some lard, palm shortening, or ghee to supplement. (those three fats are the only real-food fats that are okay at high temperatures which is why you want to stick to them.)
- Turn the oven temperature up to 400.
- Nestle the roast back in with the veggies and return to the oven. Check at 30 minutes to see if the veggies are tender and the roast has reached an internal temperature of 185. If the roast is done but the veggies are not yet done, remove the roast to a platter and cover with tin foil while you wait for the veggies to fully cook.
- Once the veggies are tender and the roast is 185 degrees, it's time to eat!
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