Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

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.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

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.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

I roasted up a 6-pound picnic-style pork shoulder for just Aaron and me, 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.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

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 of that, you can make burritos and freeze them for later. Yum!!

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

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

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
8 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
  • 6- pound bone-in skin-on pork shoulder picnic roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil
  1. 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.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
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Rice Cooker Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice in the Rice Cooker!

Restaurant style Mexican rice has been an ongoing struggle for me.

I loooove ordering it at restaurants, but every time I’ve tried to make it at home, it completely flops.

Instead of the delicious, fluffy, salty, chewy rice of my dreams, I get a gloppy, sticky, overly tomato-y mess. More like sticky Spanish rice… Which I love, but not as a side to fajitas or enchiladas!

What was I doing wrong???

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice in the Rice Cooker

Well, as it turns out, pretty much everything.

  1. I didn’t rinse my rice. Although I was already choosing the right type of rice (long grain white rice), I missed the all important step of rinsing it. Rice naturally has a powdery coating of starch on each grain, which dissolves into the cooking liquid, thickening it and creating a stickier batch of rice. If you rinse the rice before cooking, you wash away the starchy coating, and the rice grains don’t stick together as much while cooking. It makes it easier to get that fluffy texture you’re looking for.
  2. I skipped the saute. THIS is probably the number one tip. By sauteing the rinsed rice in a generous amount of oil, each grain develops a golden crust. This crust keeps each grain intact and gives the cooked rice a chewy, toothsome feel. Browning the rice is the secret to rice with plump, distinct grains, instead of a mushy pot with globs of rice.
  3. I forgot about the fresh mix-ins. Even if you follow all the steps, rinse the rice, saute the grains until golden, add delicious spices, and cook it in a flavorful broth…. Mexican rice just isn’t complete without a few extra mix-ins. Fresh lime juice and cilantro give the rice a fresh zing, and deepen the layers of flavor. Without the fresh ingredients, the rice can feel a little one-note. Don’t skip the fresh stuff!

These, my friends, are the secrets to amazing restaurant-style mexican rice.

And guess what? I raise you one.

I made it in a rice cooker!

Yep, that means that once you’ve toasted the rice & pureed your tomato/onion/garlic mixture, you combine everything in the rice cooker & set it and forget it. Leaving you tons of time to finish the rest of dinner, and you never have to worry about burnt rice.

Enjoy this one. It’s a keeper!

Amazingly Delicious Mexican Rice Recipe

Rice Cooker Mexican Rice
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes, about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup high-heat safe oil, like grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Put the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water under the faucet until the water runs clear. Shake dry and set aside.
  3. Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice turns a light golden brown. When the rice is golden, add the cumin, coriander, salt, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir with a spatula to combine, and cook for just 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Use the spatula to remove the rice from the pan to and transfer it to a rice cooker. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the tomato mixture from the blender and 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine, close the rice cooker, and cook on the white rice setting until done.

  5. When the rice is done cooking, remove from the rice cooker and transfer to a large bowl. Fluff with a fork and stir in the minced cilantro and fresh lime juice. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

Goes great with Salsa Verde Chicken Fajitas or Pork Chile Verde.

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Corn and Black Bean Summer Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad - Vibrant and Refreshing

The scorching days of summer are in full swing, and the last thing anyone wants to do is turn on the oven.

Salads and bbq to the rescue! Outdoor cooking and raw fruits & vegetables (and maybe a cocktail in tow) are summer essentials. The best way to beat the heat.

I’ve really been digging fresh corn.

Like, raw. You don’t even need to cook it! If it’s freshly picked and peak-season, it has a sweet flavor with a crunchy bite that adds great texture to salads, like this one.

This side salad is awesome.

It can even double as a salsa!

It features fresh white corn, sweet red bell pepper, creamy black beans, fresh cilantro, and minced red onion, drizzled with fresh lime juice and olive oil.

It’s REALLY freaking easy.

Like literally just chop everything up and toss together in a bowl. No cooking involved. No hot kitchen needed.

It’s great as a side salad to grilled chicken or skirt steak. It’s also super easy to add to a DIY taco buffet. Simply grab a corn tortilla, fill with grilled steak, top with a generous spoon of this corn/bean mixture and some fresh avocado & go HAM.

We repurposed ours the next day in breakfast burritos, and even used it in Mexican bowls with beans, rice, and sofrito. The sky’s the limit!

Try bringing it to your next summer potluck and watch it disappear.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Summer Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Servings: 8 as a side
Author: Erica Julson
  • 3 ears white corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15- oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Place everything in a large bowl and toss to combine. Enjoy!

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