Nine-hour pork shoulderNine-hour pork shoulder

I’ve had a huge pork shoulder in my house for more than two weeks. I originally hacked it up to make a somewhat memorable stew. I stuck what was left of it in the freezer, planning to eventually roast the whole thing.

Flipping through Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork at work, I saw a recipe for a nine-hour pork roast. Maybe it was eight, maybe 10. I didn’t actually read it, but the words “nine-hour pork” ran through my head for days. I came across some Quaker Steak & Lube barbecue sauce last week, and I decided to take my mom’s suggestion and use it on my leftover shoulder.

So, at 10 am on Saturday, I slathered the thawed shoulder with barbecue sauce, maple syrup, and lime juice, and I slid it into a 250ºF oven, and I left it there until 7 pm. I threw in a couple of quartered onions in the early afternoon, and after about six hours I added orange juice and soy sauce, since it was looking a bit dry.

Here is what a pig’s shoulder looks like after nine hours:

How does it taste? Exactly how you’d expect: parts of it were incredibly tender and juicy, while others were tough and overcooked. The tenderest meat was found, as I expected, close to the bone. I’ve never cooked anything this long before, and I don’t expect I’ll have many occasions to in my life. But it’s worth buying a big, medieval-looking piece of an animal at least once and spending a Saturday cooking it. It’s fascinating to see what happens to meat after being exposed to heat for that long. The bones themselves become soft and pull apart. It’s simultaneously horrifying and cool as hell.

I won’t be taking on any great cooking projects this week because we’ll be out of town next weekend, but here’s a screenshot from the FreshDirect order I have going. There’s a very rustic stew in my future.


As good as the shoulder was to eat, that second picture is freaking me out. I’m not even sure it’s “work safe.”

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