Roasted Pork Shoulder

When our local grocery store offered us the choice of a free ham, turkey, or bone-in pork shoulder as holiday deal for spending $400 this year, we opted for the shoulder. However, since we order our groceries online and have them delivered, the roast’s exact weight was an unknown. So, when it appeared at our front door, it was a whopping 8.25 pounder, at least three pounds more than I had expected. Consequently, I was forced to shelve the recipe I had chosen for it and look for an alternative.

A search through my cookbooks failed to yield a recipe for a roast of this size. Most that I found were for boneless pork shoulders ranging from 3 to 5 pounds. I tried to adapt them for my gargantuan specimen, but with little success. I even thought of butchering it and making a stew, but my husband and I were set on serving the guests we had invited a roast.

To meet this objective, I decided to google “8 pound roasted bone-in pork shoulder recipe” and, amazingly, the first recipe that appeared sounded perfect.  Not only did I have all its ingredients on hand, but the recipe included relatively precise cooking times for roasts ranging from 3 to 10 pounds. There were also copious reader comments with glowing reviews and success stories. Best of all, it required a minimum of effort.

The recipe, “Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic,” can be found on Katie Workman’s blog, The Mom 101. The post accompanying the recipe provided abundant guidelines about preparing the shoulder, and Ms. Workman quickly responded to my questions about it.

While I pretty much followed the original recipe, I tailored my adaption specifically for an 8-pound shoulder. Based on readers’ comments and Ms. Workman’s responses to them, I doubled the ingredients for the marinade and chose to cook the roast fat-side up. Relying on past experience, I scored the fat cap and used a rack in a standard roasting pan both to keep the roast out of the melting fat and to allow for some browning of the underside.

I must say that the roasted pork shoulder was exquisite. Deliciously moist, tender, and succulent, the rich pork flavors were perfectly enhanced by the rosemary, garlic, and mustard from the marinade. Although I was anxious about cooking this huge roast at such a low temperature for such a long time, I refrained from opening the oven for the eight hours and trusted in Ms. Workman’s advice. This roast will definitely appear on our table again when entertaining a hungry crowd just as we served it, accompanied by herb-and-garlic roasted potatoes and Parmesan roasted asparagus.

Roasted Pork Shoulder (adapted from Katie Workman’s Blog, The Mom 101)



4 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 anchovies, patted dry
4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
8 ¼ -pound, bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat

Prepped Ingredients


1. In a small food processor, combine the garlic, anchovies, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and process until it forms a paste, scraping down the sides. Remove the blade and stir in the mustard.

Combining marinade ingredients
Forming the paste
Adding the olive oil
Stirring in the mustard

2. Score the fat cap and rub the paste all over the pork shoulder. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 hours.

The scored fat cap
Rubbing in the marinade
Coated roast ready to wrap

3. Preheat the oven to 450°F and bring the pork to room temperature while the oven heats. Place the pork fat-side up on a rack in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown a bit.

On the rack, ready to roast

4. Turn the heat down to 250°F and continue to cook, uncovered, for 8 hours or until the middle of the roast registers 180°F. on an instant-read thermometer and, as you slide the thermometer into the roast, you can feel that the meat is very tender throughout. If there are any pan juices, skim off the fat. (As did I, you’ll probably have a lot of fat.)

5. Remove the roast from the oven, tent it with foil, and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Slice the pork as thinly or thickly as you like, knowing the meat will fall apart at least slightly. Sprinkle the sliced meat with a bit of salt before serving and, if you have any, pass the pan juices on the side to drizzle over.

After 8+ hours, the roasted shoulder

We served the pork on warmed plates along with roasted asparagus with Parmigiano and roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic.


Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Alsatian Riesling

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