You know that deliciously yummy crispy shredded pork you can get at your local Mexican food place?
Yeah, you can totally make it at home.
All it requires is a giant piece of pork shoulder, and a lot of patience.
You’ve seen those giant hunks of pork shoulder at the grocery store, sitting on the bottom shelf, overflowing on their foam meat tray, wrapped in copious amounts of plastic wrap.
If you don’t cook often, they probably looked super intimidating. What the heck are you supposed to do with such a large and unwieldy piece of meat?? *Enter vision of roasting meat on a spit over a campfire*
Actually, slow cooking a large piece of meat is one of the easiest ways to prepare animal proteins.
There’s no cutting, chopping, or slicing required. Just season with salt and pepper, quickly sear on all sides, and pop in the oven all day. No more work required!
Your house will fill with delicious smells of roasted pork, and at the end of the day, you’ll have several pounds of versatile pork that can be used for meals all week.
I roasted up a 6 pound picnic-style pork shoulder for just Aaron and I, so we used it for multiple meals throughout the week. 🙂
The first night, I left the roasted pork in large chunks and served it with an easy vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, garlic, parsley, and olive oil. We paired it with easy baked potatoes and homemade Caesar salad.
Then, for the rest of the week, we went Mexican. I shredded up the pork into smaller pieces, and we had some absolutely DELICIOUS carnitas tacos. The meat is so good, all you really need are some fresh corn tortillas, lightly pan fried to make them pliable, authentic salsa, minced white onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Once we ran out of tortillas, we finished up the rest of the ingredients in taco salads, with a creamy dressing made out of sour cream + garlic + cilantro + milk.
If you still have leftovers after all that, you can make burritos and freeze them for later. Yum!!
Oven roasted pork shoulder is a wonderful staple to master. It’s great for Super Bowl parties and other get togethers, and it’s so simple, that it meets almost anyone’s special dietary needs (except vegetarians/vegans, of course!).
Enjoy, and let me know any creative uses you have for the abundance of leftovers!
Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder
- 6-pound bone-in skin-on pork shoulder (picnic roast)
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil
Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper on all sides, including the skin side.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
When the oven is preheated, place a heavy bottomed lidded pot (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven) on the stove top. Add 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder, fat side down, and cook on that side until nicely golden brown. Rotate the pork to the next side, and continue, until all the sides and end pieces are nicely browned.
When the pork is browned all over, rotate the pork so the skin side is facing up, and place the lid on the pot. Put the dutch oven inside the oven, and let cook without moving for 7 1/2 hours, until the outside of the pork is deeply browned, and the meat is fall apart tender. If the skin is not yet dark brown and crispy, increase the heat to 500 degrees and let cook with the lid off the pan, until it is crispy.
Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for 30 minutes. Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Then, use two large forks to pull the pork apart into pieces. If you want to serve the pork in chunks, perhaps with barbecue sauce or a citrus sauce, leave the pork in larger pieces. If you want to serve it as carnitas, in tacos or burritos, shred it into smaller pieces. Finally, rip or chop the crispy skin into small pieces and toss into the shredded meat. Enjoy!