Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Pickled Red Onion
Recipe type: Dinner, Entree, Main, Pork
Cuisine: American, Fall
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4, with leftovers
Serve the pork over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes. This recipe serves 4 generously with plenty of leftover pork that can be pulled off the bone and reheated in the pan juices to dress pasta, make a killer sandwich, or fill gringo tacos.
  • about 4# Bone-in Pork Shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry
  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • ¼ c. + 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp. minced Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, smashed
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. coarsely ground Black Pepper
  • 1 White Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 2 c. Apple Cider
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • ¼ c. Brown Sugar
  • For the Pickled Onions & Apples:
  • 1 Red Onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and julienned
  • ¾ c. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • ¼ tsp. Black Peppercorns
  1. Combine ¼ c. sugar, ¼ c. salt, rosemary, fennel seeds, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into the pork shoulder. Place the pork in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 300°. Drain the accumulated liquid from the pork. Heat about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Sauté the chopped onion, carrot, and celery for a couple of minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add the apple cider and 2 bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Set the pork shoulder atop the sautéed vegetables, cover, and transfer to the oven. Every 30 minutes, baste the pork with the apple cider. If the pan ever looks too dry, add a bit more cider, chicken stock, or a splash of water.
  3. After about 4 hours of roasting, the pork should be quite tender when pricked with a knife. Remove the pork from the oven and turn the heat up to 500°. Transfer the pork to a large plate or cutting board. Strain the vegetables out of the pan juices and pour the juices into a saucepan. Simmer until they've reduced to a saucy consistency. Combine ¼ c. brown sugar with 1 tsp. salt and pat it onto the top of the pork. Place the pork back in the Dutch oven and return to the oven, uncovered, until the sugar melts and forms a dark caramelized crust, about 10 minutes. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve with the reduced pan juices over polenta or mashed potatoes with the pickled red onions and apples.
  4. The pickled onions and apples are best made the day before serving. To make them, simply bring the cider vinegar, ¾ c. water, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, bay leaves, and peppercorns to a simmer. Place the red onion and apple in a medium bowl and pour the hot brine over the top. Put a small plate on top so the onion and apple are fully submerged and place in the refrigerator. Any leftover pickled onions and apples will keep for a week or more.
Recipe by strawberryplum at