Around the World on a Pork Shoulder
“When pigs fly” is a common expression that means “when the impossible happens”; but |I believe pigs or rather pork can fly you all around the world from the safety of your own dinner table. February is a month when lots of us wish we could travel far away and escape the winter doldrums. And while I can’t give you a ticket out of town I can invite you to come along on a journey where we will use a humble pork shoulder to explore the culinary possibilities of several exciting destinations.
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder
The first stop on our world tour in good old England and their celebrated tradition of the Sunday roast. Rather than beef or lamb we are going to roast a full bone pork shoulder (often called a picnic roast). Try to find one with the bone still in and the skin still attached.
- 2 kg pork shoulder, bone-in, skin on
- 2 red onions halved
- 1 bulb of garlic separated into cloves
- 6 dried bay leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/218 Celsius
- Preparing the roast is an important step to get crispy cracklings (one of the great pleasures of roast pork). Take a sharp knife and score the fat cap. Draw your knife through the skin and fat but do not pierce the meat. Score the fat cap all over, with lines roughly one centimeter apart.
- Place the roast in your dutch oven. Boil some water and pour the water over the scored fat cap. This will help the scoring open up and allow the skin to crisp up in the oven.
- Remove the roast from the dutch oven and dump out the excess water. Dry the roast with paper towel and liberally salt the fat cap and the rest of the roast.
- Place the roast back in the dutch oven with the fat cap facing up and bake uncovered for 20 min or until the fat looks puffed and crispy.
- Lower the temperature to 325 degrees fahrenheit and continue cooking the roast for 4 and a half hours.
- Remove the roast from the oven, baste the fat cap with some of the accumulated fat, and then carefully transfer the roast to a cutting board.
A large amount of liquid and fat will have accumulated in the bottom of the dutch oven. Pour the liquid into a gravy separator.
- Once the drippings and fat have separated poor all of the drippings and about 2 tablespoons of the fat back into the dutch oven. Don’t throw out the rest of the fat! Pour it into a clean jar and store it in the fridge for use in our future recipes!
8. Stir the onions, garlic and bay leaves into the fat and drippings in the bottom of the dutch oven and then place the roast on top of them with the fat cap facing up.
- Put the roast back in the oven and cook for another hour and a half.
- Remove the roast from the oven and let rest covered with tinfoil for 15 min. Discard the onions, garlic and bay leaves from the bottom of the dutch ovens. Reserve the drippings.
The pork will be tender enough to tear apart with two forks. Serve with apple sauce and crispy cracklings*
This recipe produces a lot of food and is highly versatile as a leftover. Shred all your leftovers and mix them with the drippings in the bottom of the dutch oven then either store in the fridge to use right away or freeze in Ziploc bags for up to three months.
*if the crackings are not crispy when they come out of the oven you can crisp them up easily. Simply cut the fat cap off the roast, place it on a oven safe frying pan and broil on hi for 5-10 min until it reaches desired crispiness. Check the cracklings frequently to prevent burning.