Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Cherry Sauce
We prefer natural to enhanced pork (pork that has been injected with a salt solution to increase moistness and flavor), though both will work in this recipe. Add more water to the roasting pan as necessary during the last hours of cooking to prevent the fond from burning. Serve the pork with the accompanying cherry sauce or peach sauce or with a sweet-tart chutney.
- Pork Roast
- 1 bone-in pork butt , 6 to 8 pounds (see note)
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- ground black pepper
- Cherry Sauce
- 10 ounces fresh or frozen pitted cherries
- 2 cups red wine
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup ruby port
1. FOR THE ROAST: Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat. Combine salt and brown sugar in medium bowl. Rub salt mixture over entire pork shoulder and into slits. Wrap roast tightly in double layer of plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap roast and brush off any excess salt mixture from surface. Season roast with pepper. Transfer roast to V-rack coated with nonstick cooking spray set in large roasting pan and add 1 quart water to roasting pan.
3. Cook roast, basting twice during cooking, until meat is extremely tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into roast near but not touching bone registers 190 degrees, 5 to 6 hours. Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, loosely tented with foil, 1 hour. Transfer liquid in roasting pan to fat separator and let stand 5 minutes. Pour off ¼ cup jus; discard fat and reserve remaining jus for another use.
4. FOR THE SAUCE: Bring cherries, wine, granulated sugar, ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ cup defatted jus, and ruby port to simmer in small saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar. Cover and keep warm.
5. Using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone until it can be pulled free from roast (use clean kitchen towel to grasp bone). Using serrated knife, slice roast. Serve, passing sauce separately.
The Importance of Taking Things Slow
For super-tender meat and a deeply browned crust, our roast pork shoulder takes time—about 24 hours total—but the results are worth the wait.
OVERNIGHT SALTY-SWEET RUB
We rub our roast with a mixture of salt and sugar and let it rest overnight. The salt enhances juiciness and seasons the meat throughout, while the sugar caramelizes to create a crackling-crisp, salty-sweet crust. LOW OVEN
Just like in a pot roast, cooking the pork low and slow (325 degrees for 5 to 6 hours) pushes the meat well beyond its “done” mark into the 190-degree range, encouraging intramuscular fat to melt, collagen to break down and tenderize the meat, and the fat cap to render and crisp.