There are few things that seem to impress more than a large, well cooked, piece of roast. I especially like it when the bone is still intact. I suppose this is the closest I can get to roasting an entire pig or lamb until I build my own outdoor oven.
Pork shoulder is a very cost effective piece of meat. I paid around $15 for an 8 pound piece. I read that the meat could be a little tough and would benefit from marinating in apple cider overnight. I did not have apple cider, but figured a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, and home cooked apple butter would do the trick. The dish turned out quite succulent so I will presume my concoction helped!
I have always loved the combination of apple and pork and I honor that pairing in this dish. I added rosemary to layer the flavors a bit more. The roast cooks slowly allowing all of the flavors to blend into the meat.
Slow Braised Pork Shoulder with Apple Au Jus
8 pound pork shoulder with bone and skin intact
1 cup apple butter, I used homemade brandy apple butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6-8 cups water to cover the meat
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 large or 3 small onions, quartered
3 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 green bell pepper, large pieces
3 carrots, one inch pieces
8-10 small apples, about a 3 pound bag
24 ounce container of apple sauce
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
3 cups pork or chicken stock
- Combine water, apple butter, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Submerge pork into the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- I used a 16 inch cast iron pan, but you can use any kind of roasting pan or large Dutch oven. Remove pork from brine and place in baking vessel, skin/fat slab up.
- Arrange vegetables around the meat. Halve half of the apples, arrange them around as well.
- Pour the apple sauce over the meat, covering the entire surface. Don’t worry if some of it slips off into the vegetables.
- Sprinkle rosemary leaves all over the surface.
- Roast for about 4 hours, until an instant read thermometer reads 180 degrees. Your pork is technically done by the time it hits 160. If you are in a hurry, you can pull it out, but it will be much more tender and fall of the bone more readily if you let it cook to 180.
- About 3 1/2 hours into the roasting, remove all of the vegetables and place in a pot with the chicken or pork stock. Boil for 15 minutes and then strain through a sieve. Try to mash the vegetables and apples to get a bit of the thickness into your broth to increase the flavor. If you don’t have one, you can thicken the broth with a bit of cornstarch and cold water.
- Core and cut the remaining apples into 1/2 inch slices. Place back in pot with the broth and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Allow the pork to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. You can cook it in advance and refrigerate, however plan another hour or so of reheating at 350 if you do.
- Serve with sauce on the side.
Total time: 5 hours plus 12 hours to brine
PS: Make sure you save the bone to cook into a broth later in the week! Waste nothing!