Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder

There is probably no more versatile cut of meat than the pork shoulder. There almost isn’t anything you couldn’t do with it. You can grill it, slow cook it, smoke it, make it into sausage, cut it into steaks as a substitute for pork chops…the list goes on. And because of its higher fat content, the flavor is usually better than other cuts of pork and is less likely to dry out during cooking.

Pork shoulder is known and sold by many names including, Boston butt, pork butt, picnic shoulder, and pork blade shoulder. The confusing thing is that there is a bit of difference between a pork shoulder and a pork butt. Cuts that are labeled pork shoulder are generally from the triangle-shaped end of the shoulder. And, the butt is from the thicker, more marbled, top-end of the shoulder. For that reason, the pork shoulder is better for cooking and slicing while the butt is better for recipes where the meat is meant to fall apart such as pulled pork. Both are great cut up and used in stews and chilis.

Slow roasting or smoking a pork shoulder is probably the most popular way to cook it. You can never go wrong with pulled pork. And, you can sauté it in a pan for some really great tacos. The best part about a pork shoulder is that it makes it easy to feed a crowd…which is why it is a popular choice for your Memorial Day BBQs and other get-togethers.

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
There are several different versions of this recipe out there. This one is my favorite. Add your favorite coleslaw to the roll and you have an outstanding sandwich. 

1 whole large onion
1 whole pork shoulder (about 5 To 7 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can (11 Ounce) chipotle peppers In adobo sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300º F.

Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

Generously season the pork roast with salt and pepper. Then set it on top of the onions in the pan. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork—be certain to use all the sauce. Add both cans of Dr. Pepper, then the brown sugar and stir it all in.

Place the lid tightly on your pot and set it in the oven with the lid off. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Using two forks to pull apart the pork, check it after six hours—it should be absolutely falling apart. If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.

Remove the meat from pot and place on a cutting board or another work surface. Use two forks to shred the meat. Discard all the large pieces of fat•. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard that as well.

Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep it warm until ready to serve. Serve on warm buns or rolls with your favorite coleslaw, or as tacos in warm tortillas with your favorite fixings.

* Alternately, you can refrigerate the meat and the liquid in separate containers and remove the hardened fat once it is cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm.

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