March 9, 2006


Put unglamorous pork shoulder on autopilot, relax and collect applause (Virginia Phillips, March 09, 2006, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

It's cheap. It's fatty. It's ugly as a box of rocks. This part of the pig is insensitively known as the pork butt, and it deserves a better name.

Yes, the term "butt" conveys rounded and meaty -- but, no, it has nothing to do with a pig's bum. That's the hind leg, the ham department. A pork butt is in a tasty forward realm, high on the front leg. We are talking about the shoulder.

This homely but sexy roast is waiting to make your reputation. You can't wreck it. It cooks so sl-o-o-o-o-o-w, self-basting as it goes. Its succulence is legendary. A shoulder roast feeds a crowd for a buck or less a person and is often found on sale.

For leftovers, look forward to pulled pork for tacos or barbecue on a bun. [...]


This delectable roast pork, slow-roasted uncovered at 275 degrees, is succulent on the inside with a marvelous crust. You will need kitchen string for this recipe.

* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
* 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
* 10 garlic cloves
* 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
* 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (use 1 scant tablespoon if using regular salt)
* 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
* 1 tablespoon dry white wine
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 6-pound boneless butt pork shoulder roast (remove net)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Blend together sage, rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, salt and pepper in a food processor until a thick paste forms. With motor running, add wine and oil and blend until combined well.

If necessary, trim fat from top of pork, to leave a 1/8-inch-thick layer of fat. Make 3 small incisions, each about 1 inch long and 1 inch deep, in each side of pork with a small sharp knife and fill each with about 1 teaspoon herb paste. Spread remaining herb paste over pork, concentrating on boned side, and tie roast with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals.

Put pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven for 6 hours. Transfer roast to cutting board and let stand 15 minutes.

Discard string and cut pork roast into thick slices.

Serves 12.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2006 9:46 AM

Hey, it's almost BBQ! Swap out a few of the high-brow spices, turn the heat down a little, smoke it over oak/hickory/pecan and you're just about makin' 'Q. Don't freak out when your instaread thermometer blows thru 190F+ -- it'll be fine if you didn't cook it hotter than 275F to get there (preferably closer to 240). And, if you're going to slice it, plan to let it rest more like 30 minutes(tented loosely w/ foil).

Posted by: John Resnick at March 9, 2006 10:39 AM

I coat the roast w/rosemary olive oil add herbs on top.

Don't forget the dumplings, I prefer Josie's.

What bone?

All mine's pre-tied and boneless which would allow for putting paste inbetween the pieces.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 9, 2006 10:40 AM

This sounds like an adaptation of Tuscan porchetta. If you click through to the linked recipe, note the skin on the pork. Keep it on: you'll thank me. I agree with John that it's going to be better on the grill (indirect heat) with some wood involved and it should sit longer before slicing.


Pork shoulder has bone in its natural state. Bones are your friend when cooking meat but if the butcher has taken them out, it should still be fine.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 9, 2006 11:01 AM

I smoked a pork butt over hickory for the Super Bowl...


Posted by: Bartman at March 9, 2006 2:31 PM

We're doing Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches for lunch for a construction crew of about 400 next Friday. BBQ pit will be loaded with about 36 of them. Good eats!

Posted by: John Resnick at March 9, 2006 7:05 PM