There are some things you tend not to do during summer. Use your oven for extended periods of time is one of them. After all, who wants to compete with the air conditioning and the outside heat and run your oven for a while? Well, we do, for one. At least when it comes to making this recipe.
We were first exposed to a bone-in, slow-roasted pork shoulder in this style earlier this summer, when we attended dinner at a friend’s house where they served a version of this recipe from Food52. We kept going back for more over the course of the meal—seconds, then thirds, then cleaning the kids’ plates.
A few weeks later, when it was time to host a dinner gathering of our own for 20+ people, we made our own version. The pork got rave reviews, but we thought we could improve the recipe further. When we helped host another gathering last week—this time of 20+ family during a visit to New York—we knew what we were going to do: make a slow-roasted pork shoulder.
This recipe is the definition of low and slow. It roasts in the oven for a total of 18 hours, so like some of my longest ultramarathons, it starts on one day but ends the next. Dark gluten-free beer, orange juice, garlic, coriander, and other flavors develop and caramelize, while the cross-scored fat cap—which looks burned but isn’t—is largely discarded but leaves the meat tender and juicy.
A testament to this recipe, our brother-in-law not only praised the pork the night we served it, but told us that he woke up thinking about it the next morning.
- Two 8–9 lb bone-in pork shoulders, with fat cap
- 2 heads garlic, peeled (about 24 cloves)
- 6 tbsp coriander seed
- 4 tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B if possible)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 large bottle dark gluten-free beer (such as Green’s amber)
- Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.
- Use a knife to deeply cross-score the fat cap on each roast. Place the roasts fat-side down on a large roasting pan with high sides.
- In a blender, combine the garlic cloves, coriander seed, Kosher salt, olive oil, and peppercorns. Puree until smooth.
- Spread 1/3 of the garlic paste over the top of each roast. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to the remaining garlic paste, add the orange juice, maple syrup, and vinegar and blend.
- After the initial 30 minutes, remove the roasts from the oven, carefully flip them over so the fat side is up, and evenly pour the marinade over them.
- Turn the oven down to 225 deg F, and place the roasts back in the oven.
- Roast for 18 hours, basting about every 6 hours with the copious pan juices. At the 6-hour and 12-hour marks each, also pour half the beer over the roast. Finally, at the 12-hour mark, spoon off any excessive amounts of fat from the roasting pan liquid.
- After the 18 hours, remove the roasts from the oven and increase the oven temp to 450 deg F.
- Transfer the roasts to a dry pan, still fat-side up, and roast them for 15 additional minutes in the hotter oven, until the fat cap is well browned and potentially looking charred. Then remove from the oven and let cool on the counter until you’re able to handle the meat with your hands.
- Using your hands, forks, or both, shred the pork, discarding the bone, the fat cap, and any large pieces of fat.