Pork is a greatly misunderstood cut of meat, mainly because we tend to cook the heck out of it to make sure that it isn’t underdone. This recipe resulted in succulent, tender, sliceable meat that I could freeze and reheat without sacrificing the quality of the meat.
Everyone has their techniques and everyone thinks they’re right. This is what I do, but feel free to comment on what works best for you, or if you used this recipe, how you tweaked it to make it your own!
Crispy Tender Roast Pork (4 – 5 hours)
- 4kg Pork Shoulder, Bone in, Skin on. at room temperature (takes about 1 hour) I only use free range pork.
- Chef’s Knife (Scary sharp)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 liter Chicken stock, water or juice + 2 onions, quartered.
- Plastic board for the meat
- Baking Dish that fits the pork.
- Aluminium foil
.Make sure your pork shoulder is not damp.
- Place your meat on a plastic board. (Wooden boards could harbour bacteria, and plastic boards can be put in a dishwasher to sterilise).
- Preheat a convection oven to 150 Celcius
- Cut 2cm diamonds in the skin leaving a little bit of fat over the meat. If it starts to get difficult to cut, wipe your knife with a cloth and continue.
- Season the meat generously and put it in the pan, on top of the liquid and onions.
- Put the pork in the preheated oven and leave it for about 3-4 hours*.
- Test if it is done – either use a meat thermometer**, or poke it with a knife to see if the juice is clear yet.
- Increase the temperature to 180 and put the pork back in for another 20-40 minutes or so (depending on how close the meat is to being done)
- When the pork is done either remove the crackling and put aside for garnishing, while you brown the remaining fat for a little bit under the grill, or you can just skip this step. (removing the crackling does make the pork easier to cut).
- Then take the pork and loosely cover with foil, pinching some holes in the foil to let the steam escape.
- LET THE PORK REST for at least 20 minutes. This step is crucial to the succulence of the pork. If you cut it too soon, the juice won’t settle back into the meat, and you’ll have dry roast with lots of juice on the cutting board.
- Once the pork has rested, you should be able to literally just pull the bone out of the roast with your hands. If you can’t, just cut around it.
- The leftovers are freezable. Even the crackling is still crispy after defrosting. If you slice the pork, and then freeze, it makes defrosting and warming a lot quicker. This is also delicious cold.
* Note, you cannot rely on exact times in a recipe, because ovens vary in their temperatures, so I always advise you to check and also to give your meat time to cook with plenty of spare time to save you panicked moments before serving a meal.
** Pork needs to reach an internal temperature of 70C. To properly check, make sure the end of the thermometer goes to the centre, but doesn’t touch the bone.
Once you’re comfortable with these techniques, you can mix up the flavours by replacing the stock with the following:
- Apple juice, apple pieces and sage
- Orange juice & zest, dried chili and coriander leaves
- Ginger, Garlic, Lime Juice and stock, chinese 5 spice, or star anise.
Or you can try different sauces to mix up the flavours:
- Caramelised apple and sage sauce
- Cherry & Naartjie compote
- Ginger and plum sauce