Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder: Step-by-Step Demo

  • 01 of 05

    Start with Boneless Pork Shoulder

    Raw pork shoulder
    Vasilis Nikolos / Getty Images

    For this demo, we used a boneless pork shoulder (sometimes also called a Boston blade roast or Boston butt) that weighed around 3½-4 pounds. Most butchers will tie the roast up into a nice, tight roll before selling it.

    This is helpful because the roast cooks more evenly when it's tied up that way. It also discourages you from trimming off any fat from the top of the roast before cooking it. That fat adds flavor, moisture, and crispiness, so leave it there!

    To begin with, preheat your oven to 500 F.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Prepare the Spice Rub

    Raw Pork Shoulder
    John Scott / Getty Images

    For the spice rub, mix up the following ingredients in a small bowl:

    • 1 tbsp dried crushed red peppers
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 tbsp Kosher salt (NOT sea salt or table salt)
    • 1 tsp ground white pepper
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

    These precise measurements and ingredients aren't critically important, but what we're doing is creating a blend of sweet, salty and spicy. Mix everything together to form a paste and smear it all over the roast.

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  • 03 of 05

    Start at High Heat, Finish at Low Heat

    Roast pork shoulder
    Andrew W.B. Leonard / Getty Images

    Roast the pork at 500 F for the first 20 minutes. We start at a high temperature so that the outside of the roast will turn all brown and crispy and delicious. You might see a bit of smoke inside the oven, but that's okay — don't panic!

    After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 250 F and cook for another 2 hours or so. This lower temperature prevents the meat from drying out. The roast is done when the outside is nice and brown and the internal temperature reaches 145 F as measured with an instant-read thermometer.​

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  • 04 of 05

    Rest Pork Roast 15 Minutes, Then Slice

    Slow-cooked pork shoulder and gravy
    Stuart West / Getty Images

    Resting the meat for 15 minutes before slicing it results in a much juicier roast. That's because cooking tends to drive all the meat's natural juices into the center of the roast. Resting it before slicing gives the protein molecules a chance to reabsorb some of that moisture, so those juices don't all spill out onto your cutting board.

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  • 05 of 05

    Serve Pork Roast with Creamy Polenta and Vegetables

    A simple, creamy polenta is a wonderful accompaniment for the slow-roasted pork. For a vegetable, this easy sautéed asparagus is a good choice, and so are these tasty braised brussels sprouts.


    A 3½-4 lb. roast should feed 6 to 8 people, depending on how hungry they are. And trust me, you'll definitely want to get one of the end slices.