Monday, April 15, 2013

Glorious Glazed Pork Shoulder

I realize that the picture of this incredible roast looks awful--a charred and melted black monster. But--this was absolutely, utterly FABULOUS despite being ugly.  Spoon-tender roasted salty-sweet pork under a thick, crisp bark of crackling skin. I cooked this long and low and slow--from about 10 am till 5pm. For most of that time, I wasn't home--I just left it in the oven. The results of this are FANTASTIC. This would be an excellent dish for a dinner party--but I just made it for the two of us. A week of great eating lies ahead.
I bought this roast a few weeks ago--it was a happy accident. You almost never see pork shoulder for sale with the skin still on. I asked once at Oliver's, and they said you could order them ahead of time, but it wasn't something they normally did. Then, one magical day, there I am in the shitty Albertsons meat section on Alameda and BAM--what do I see but skin-on pork shoulders! I bought two and stashed them in the freezer until I had time to do them up right.
A rare find!
The ingredients---pork, apple cider vinegar, fennel seeds, brown sugar.
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed or chopped
3 TB cup kosher salt 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 7–8-lb bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt or picnic. If you can find it with skin, use that--if not, skinless is fine. 
1/2cup apple cider vinegar 
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
What to do: 
1. Crush or chop the fennel seeds and mix them with the brown sugar and salt. 
 2. Put this rub all over the pork. Rub it IN. Get your salty sugary fingers into all the fatty, meaty pink folds of that beautiful pig meat. Massage it in. If it has skin, score it in crosshatches. Cut into the fat, past the skin, but not all the way down to the meat.
3. Put it in the oven at 280 and leave it for no less than 7 hours. Use a covered dutch oven or roasting pan.
Many hours later....
4.  Take the meat out and place it on a sheet pan or in a shallow dish for broiling. Crank the oven up to 525.
5. There will be liquid left in the pan. Skim out some fat (according to taste). I took about a cup and a half of fat out of mine. Add the cider vinegar to the pan and start boiling to reduce. At this point, you might want to add some more sugar and salt. I ended up putting a few more tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt in. Boil down into a thin syrup.
The glaze, reducing.
6. While the glaze is reducing, the pork should be back in the oven on high, getting crispy. Brush with the glaze (even in it's mid-reduction form) at 4 min intervals. You want the skin very crispy and very brown.
7. Pour the glaze all over the top. The pork can be easily pulled off in chunks.
Serve with herb bean salad and pickled red onions. Or anything you want.
This was AWESOME. We smashed our roast down and had it pulled-pork style. The skin was BOMB.
TO DIE. Make this at once and apologize to no one!

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