Conquering the Pork Shoulder Roast

19 May

Confession:  Every time we have tried to cook a ham roast, we have dried it out.  We don’t enjoy it the first time around, and we certainly don’t enjoy the leftovers.

But while I was “shopping” in our freezer earlier this week, I saw the ham roasts still sitting there, and I knew they needed to be used.  Pork is at its best when you use it within a year of getting it from your butcher (I’m guessing this is only true if you buy it directly from a butcher; if you get it from the store, maybe don’t even wait that long!).

That being said, I’ve always been rather unsure what to do with these cuts of meat called ham roasts – which perhaps explains our previous failures.  I did some online research and think that they are pretty much the same thing as pork shoulders.  And then I looked at some recipes and saw many of them call for overnight marinating. And I deducted – even if a ham roast is NOT the same thing as a pork shoulder, if it is marinated overnight, it should turn out okay.  I won’t explain all the gaps in my logic there.  You’ve got few enough precious free moments in your day.

I started with three possible pork shoulder roast recipes:

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder from Culinary Arts

Roasted Pork Shoulder by Tyler Florence

Porchetta-Style Roast Pork from Bon Appetit

Each had its own set of pros and cons, but I finally decided to go with the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder from Culinary Arts, pretty much based on its creative name alone.  Just kidding…  Pork shoulders don’t inspire interesting names, apparently.  This recipe did, however, have an easy, tempting ingredient list – flavors we already use a lot and know we love.  I mean, can you go wrong with crushed red pepper, olive oil, brown sugar and red wine vinegar?  I think not…

I mixed together the rub the night before, cut a few slits in the pork shoulders (we used two because they were small – and I want to get them OUT of my freezer), rubbed the mixture on, covered and refrigerated overnight.  I wanted this meat tender and full of flavor.

Well, it was full of flavor.  It was, in fact, pretty stinkin’ spicy.  I made an impromptu sweet glaze with the pan juices to drizzle on the leftovers, in hopes of making them more palatable.

Unfortunately, it was also rather dry.  Sigh.  We are doomed to dry pork roasts.

I don’t really think that.  Hope springs eternal in this little heart of mine.  Next time, I’ll marinate it in more liquid, and I’ll bake it covered.  I’ll also sear it in a pan instead of baking it for the first 20 minutes at 500 as the recipe suggests.

Better luck to you with the pork roasts in your freezer!

P.S.  These lovely, bright green brussels sprouts were brought to us courtesy of Bird’s Eye SteamFresh veggies.  So, so tender and tasty!  I pureed some for the Little Guy, and even he liked them.  Clearly, not a paid advertisement…

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