Slow Braised Pork Shoulder with Apple Au Jus

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

  1. Combine water, apple butter, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Submerge pork into the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. 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.
  5. Arrange vegetables around the meat. Halve half of the apples, arrange them around as well.
  6. Pour the apple sauce over the meat, covering the entire surface. Don’t worry if some of it slips off into the vegetables.
  7. Sprinkle rosemary leaves all over the surface.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Core and cut the remaining apples into 1/2 inch slices. Place back in pot with the broth and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  11. 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.
  12. Serve with sauce on the side.
This is a good color to look for in your meat, it is almost ready.

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!

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