You may recall I purchased an entire pig last December and split it with a good friend. We each ended up with 100 lbs. of fresh, locally loved and raised, lean pork and have been busy enjoying every bit of its truly incredible flavor. So where are my posts about this first time ever foray into purchasing locally raised meat? Outside of my initial experience making a Chilie-Brined Fresh Whole Ham, I haven’t written about any of it.
Call me lazy. Go ahead.
But you know I’ve been avoiding sitting here to avoid thinking about food in general, so I hope that helps explain my lack of motivation. I’ve been keeping myself busy with spring cleaning by reorganizing my kitchen and sorting though dishes and things I rarely use so I can donate them along with the several bags of clothes I’ve weeded from my closet that no longer fit. I’ve saved one pair of slacks so I might hold them up at some point and take a picture, showing just how far I’ve come so far, but I’m not quite ready for that. I’ll get there. I will. Soon.
In the meantime, I can’t put off writing any longer because the recipes are piling up waiting to be shared, and there’s no better place to begin than with a cut of pork I’ve prepared many times: the shoulder. That would be from the front portion of the pig as opposed to the rear where the “ham” comes from. Although most shoulders are purchased sectioned into either what’s often called a picnic roast and a Boston Butt (which seems confusing considering the cut is from the opposite end of the animal), I happened to have the entire shoulder — about 10 lbs. of pork.
The shoulder is much more fatty than the ham, so cooking it slowly over very low heat allows all that fat to melt into the meat, creating amazingly tender pork perfect for pulling. I’ve prepared a much smaller cut from the shoulder using a slow cooker to make one type of pulled pork for sandwiches, braised it on the stove top in this recipe with Guinness and dried cherries, or in the oven using lots of garlic and chardonnay for this recipe, and have often used the indirect heat method on the grill — especially in warm weather when I don’t want the house to heat up. This time, we slow roasted it in the oven over a nine hour period of time until it was dark and crispy on the outside, and fall apart tender inside when two forks are inserted and pulled away from one another.
Not much is better if you love pork.
And although you’ll be tempted to eat it all by itself like we did late one evening just to try it, it makes the most amazing pulled pork sandwiches when you have just the right slaw to go with it.