Saturday, August 1, 2015

Old Fashioned Roast Pork

Old Fashioned Roast Pork

A few weeks ago my daughter mentioned a pork roast recipe from Cook’s Country that she wanted to try. It sounded interesting, so I decided I would try it too. I searched for the recipe online and found it HERE.

The things that made this recipe different are the cut and the technique used. The end result is a delicious roast pork that is nice enough to serve guests. But instead of a loin, it uses the humble and inexpensive pork shoulder or Boston butt. In order to make a sliceable roast, it must be boneless.  I had a bone-in pork shoulder in my freezer. After thawing, I de-boned it. Annoying but not all that difficult. Boneless shoulder roasts are often on sale (especially around Cinco de Mayo), but lower priced bone-in roasts can be found even more frequently.

The boneless shoulder roast is tied into a compact package and then roasted low and slow (7 hours altogether). Shoulder roasts are not lean, so they don’t dry out like the more upscale loin roasts. Most of the time, they’re used for pulled pork or carnitas. The cooked roast is chilled overnight and sliced the next day, once the meat has firmed up. The pan juices are saved for reheating the roast the next day.

Ready to cook - In the Nesco
Things I did differently: First of all, I didn’t salt the roast. I also didn’t roast the pork in the oven. Instead, I used my small Nesco roaster  (It was too hot for the oven). I also didn’t use fennel seeds in the herb crust. (The online recipe I followed didn’t include them.) As mentioned above, I de-boned a roast, so I browned that bone, added some water, and made about 1 ½ cups of pork broth to add to the drippings. And, I used a 3 pound roast rather than the 6 pounds (I used the same amount of herbs, however). As a result, I didn’t cook my roast as long as the recipe stated. Finally, I just winged the gravy. I combined the drippings, the pork broth, about ¾ cup apple juice, and reduced them a bit.

I only reheated what I thought we could eat at one meal. The leftovers made great hot pork sandwiches with gravy. All in all, this is a great technique that produces an outstanding pork roast from a very humble cut. Perfect for a special dinner.


From "Cook's Country by America's Test Kitchen," episode 105
(Printable Recipe)

6 lb boneless pork shoulder, fat cap trimmed to 1/8-inch thick (I used a 3 lb roast)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt (I omitted)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaf
1 tablespoon fennel seed, roughly chopped (I omitted)
2 large red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges (I only used 1 onion)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
1 cup apple cider (I used apple juice)
1/4 cup apple jelly (I omitted)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Tie the roast 3-4 times crosswise, and once lengthwise.

In a bowl, combine garlic, pepper, salt, rosemary, sage and fennel seeds. Rub this mixture well into all surfaces of roast.

Place meat in a roasting pan. Place pan, uncovered, in preheated 300°F oven for about 3 hours.
Add onion to pan around the meat. If there is not much fat in the pan, add the optional oil. Return pan to oven for 3½-4 hours more.

Transfer meat to a dish. Transfer onions to a bowl. Pour drippings into a 2-cup measure. Add water to bring up to 1½ cups. When meat has cooled to room temperature, wrap meat and onions with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight along with drippings.

Remove fat from cold drippings and place in a saucepan with onions, cider, apple jelly and cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer.

Slice cold roast, and layer in baking dish. Pour ½ cup of drippings over pork. Cover dish with foil, and place in a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes until hot. (I reheated just enough for one meal at a time in the microwave.)

Bring drippings up to a boil and reduce for 15 minutes until dark, thick and syrupy.Pour sauce over the meat.(I made my own gravy/sauce.)

Ready for Slicing

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