Foolproof Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Slow roasted pork shoulder

The Spruce


Ratings (113)
  • Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
562 Calories
35g Fat
4g Carbs
55g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spicy, sweet, and succulent, this slow-roasted pork recipe is definitely one for your recipe collection. A boneless pork shoulder is smeared with a spice rub made from dried chiles, brown sugar, and ginger and then roasted—initially at a very high temperature to brown the exterior, and then finished at a very low temperature to break down the connective tissues and maximize juiciness.

What makes it foolproof is using a digital probe thermometer, taking all the guesswork out of getting the temperature right. Simply insert the probe into the deepest part of the roast, set the target temperature to 140 F, and then just wait for the beep.


  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast (also called Boston blade roast or Boston butt)
  • For the Spice Rub:
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt (not sea salt or table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Steps to Make It

Preheat oven to 500 F.

Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl to form a paste.

Smear it all over the roast. (You might have some left over, depending on the size of your roast.)

Place the seasoned pork shoulder in a roasting pan with a rack and transfer it to the oven.

Roast for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 250 F and cook until your probe thermometer reads 140 F, which will take another 2 hours or so. The exterior of the roast will be a beautiful brown color.

Remove the roast from the oven, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes (during which time the temperature will continue to rise until it reaches the target temperature of 145 F). Slice and serve.

Tips and Variations

Because this cut of pork is boneless, you don't have to worry about hitting any bones with the thermometer which will affect the temperature reading. As long as you insert the tip of the probe into the very center of the roast, the technique is foolproof.

If you are thinking you need to cook the pork to 160 F, the USDA changed their recommended target temperature in 2011. Instead of 160 F, it is now recommended that we cook pork to 145 F. (Which is good news because 160 F was always too high.)

This technique will also work for a smaller roast, such as one that is 3 pounds. The only adjustment you will need to make is to shorten the initial high-temperature roasting time by 5 minutes, from 20 minutes down to 15. A smaller roast won't need as much of the spice paste, of course, but you might as well mix up the full amount to use later.