Super Crispy Paleo Pork Shoulder

2013-01-05
When meat is cooked on the bone, it gets an extra special kick of meaty goodness.  When meat falls off the bone with just the pull of your fingers, the bite is guaranteed to be tender and juicy.  Few cuts of meat achieve that better than pork shoulder (also known also pork butt).  Fall-off-the-bone deliciousness is only achieved by a slow-cooking process.

When I purchased the almost 8 lb pork shoulder, Taylor had requested a pulled pork dish.  I had assumed that I would pop the pork in my slow cooker, then add sauce later.  Even though I have one of the largest slow cookers on the market, I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t be big enough to fit the meat.  After slow roasting a duck in the oven for my Mom over Christmas vacation, I decided that the same method would probably work well.  I googled roasted pork shoulder, and came across of method for crispy pork from www.seriouseats.com.  It was very similar to crispy roasted duck, and I thoroughly enjoyed the result.

I changed very little, but would like to make note of a few things I did change.  Because I like spice, I altered the seasoning by adding cayenne pepper, in addition to using Himalayan Sea Salt (a delicious Christmas gift I received from my parents).  The pork achieves crispiness by sitting atop a wire rack, so the roast doesn’t steam in its own juices.  By not sitting in the fat as it cooks, it actually helps to make the pork slightly leaner, as the fat drips away.  The recipe required lining the rack so the pork would not press through the holes as it cooked.  I just made sure to use scissors to cut as close to the pork shoulder as possible, so as not to create a little kiddie pool of pork fat around it as it cooked.  Additionally, make sure to pour off the fat at the bottom of the roasting pan BEFORE broiling it.  I discovered this necessity because I initially neglected to do that, and set off the fire alarm because of the fat spitting all over my oven.  The whole process is very little hands-on, even though it is technically not in a slow cooker.  You will have a whole 8 hours to either leave it overnight, or go about your day.  The oven will only be on 250 degrees, so it should be a safe heat to leave alone, and the meat will NOT be dry at all.  I served this with a sweet and sour dipping sauce that was the sauce in my Paleo Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  The only change was that I added a tbs of pork drippings to thicken it a little.  Invite some friends, because this pork is worth sharing and celebrating!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole, bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder/butt, 7-10 lbs
  • sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • 2. Set wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet
  • 3. Cover wire rack with parchment paper
  • 4. Rinse pork, pat dry, and score top fat with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern (careful not to pierce through the meat
  • 5. Season pork on both sides with salt, black pepper and cayenne (if desired)
  • 6. Place seasoned pork on parchment-covered baking sheet, and trim the paper close to the bottom of the roast
  • 7. Place pan in oven and roast for 8 hours on middle rack of oven
  • 8. Remove pork from oven and tent with aluminum foil
  • 9. Let pork rest for 15 minutest up to 2 hours
  • 10. Meanwhile, increase oven to 500 degrees
  • 11. When preheated, uncover pork and gently pour pork drippings into a separate container (for use later)
  • 12. Return uncovered pork to oven and roast until skin is blistered and puffed, turning every 3 minutes, about 12 minutes total
  • 13. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes
  • 14. Serve with or without your favorite sauce!
  • 15. Enjoy!