Foolproof Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Foolproof slow-roasted pork shoulder on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 7 mins
Cook: 80 mins
Resting Time: 15 mins
Total: 102 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
655 Calories
46g Fat
3g Carbs
53g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 655
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 195mg 65%
Sodium 861mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 68mg 5%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 771mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spicy, sweet, and succulent, this slow-roasted pork is definitely one for your recipe collection. A boneless pork shoulder is covered with a spice rub made from dried chiles, brown sugar, and ginger. Then it's 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, maximize juiciness, and cook the meat through.

What makes this pork shoulder recipe foolproof is using a digital probe thermometer, which takes 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.


Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

"I followed the instructions and roasted a 3.78-pound pork butt roast to 140 F followed by a 15-minute rest to bring it up to 145 F. The pork sliced nicely and the flavor was excellent. For tender, falling-apart pork, you’ll want a temperature of about 190 F to 200 F." —Diana Rattray

Foolproof slow-roasted pork shoulder on a wooden cutting board
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 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

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for foolproof slow-roasted pork shoulder gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Mix all of the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl to form a paste.

    Spice rub ingredients mixed together in bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Use a basting brush or spoon to coat the roast. (You might have some left over, depending on the size of your roast.)

    Pork shoulder basted with spice rub

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

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

    Pork Shoulder coated with basting marinade on a roasting rack

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

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

    Roasted pork shoulder on a roasting rack

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  6. 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.

    Pork shoulder covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  7. Slice, serve, and enjoy.

    Foolproof slow-roasted pork shoulder sliced on a white plate

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner


  • 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.
  • Although it used to be the recommendation to cook pork to 160 F, the USDA changed its recommended target temperature in 2011. Instead of 160 F, it is now recommended to cook pork to 145 F.
  • This technique will also work for a smaller roast. You will need to shorten the initial high-temperature roasting time. For a 3-pound roast, decrease by 5 minutes, from 20 minutes down to 15 minutes.
  • Keep in mind that this recipe is for a slicing roast. If you're looking to roast your meat for pulled pork, cook the roast to at least 190 F for pulled pork consistency.

Is Pork Shoulder a Good Cut of Meat?

It may not be considered dinner-party worthy, but pork shoulder is a versatile and forgiving cut of pork. It is not as lean as chops and tenderloin, so the shoulder tends to be more moist and tender, especially when it is cooked low and slow.