Well, not exactly YOUR shoulder- pork shoulder.
I love pork shoulder for many reasons:
- It’s cheap! I paid $1.39/lb for the last one I bought, but I often can find them for $0.99/lb.
- It’s easy! It doesn’t need a lot of prep.
- It’s versatile! Once cooked it can be used as an ingredient in many ways.
- It’s delicious! It does have some fat on it, but as a result is super tasty.
Pork shoulder is one of those cuts that needs to cook a long time. Unless you’re good with the pressure cooker, don’t even think about pulling a shoulder out of the fridge an hour before dinner time! I either slow roast it in the oven for 3-4 hours at 275F degrees or put it in the crock pot. Either way, I simply season it with some salt and pepper and then let time and heat do the work. Cook it long enough so that it’s tender. A good test is to try to pick it up by the bone- the meat should practically fall off. So now that you have this cooked shoulder, what do you do with it?
Meal #1: BBQ Pulled Pork and slaw wraps
My inspiration for this was a southern bbq pork and slaw sandwich. I don’t like the sweet and sour taste of most slaws so I make my own with no sugar or vinegar. Mine has a much fresher, lighter taste. I’ll do a future write up on my many variations of slaw. I also don’t like all the sugar you get from commercial bbq sauce so I make my own. Pulled pork is best with a sauce of mostly vinegar anyway. The vinegar really helps cut the richness of the pork. Whole grain tortillas took the place of white buns.
I took a hunk of the pork and shredded it with a fork. Don’t cut it first because you want long, stringy fibers. I added some homemade BBQ sauce consisting of ketchup, cider vinegar, onion and garlic powder, liquid smoke and a bit of stevia to make it a little sweeter. A minute in the microwave and it was tasty BBQ pulled pork. I made a really simple fresh slaw of red and green cabbage sliced very thinly with a bit of mayo, cream, celery salt and pepper. My wife had the whole thing rolled into a burrito shape, while I turned the same ingredients into taco-shaped things using two smaller tortillas. (Sorry, no pics for this one.)
Meal #2: Pork with quinoa pilaf
The wonderful texture of carnitas was an inspiration for this. I love the soft, tender pork with crisp, chewy edges. The ingredients were just what I had on hand, which is the way my recipes often come together. This took all of about 10 minutes to come together.
I cut the pork into chunks and then fried it in a nonstick skillet until it was hot and sizzling. The longer you cook it, the crisper the edges will get.
I already had some cooked quinoa in the fridge. I microwaved it for a minute with fresh garlic, green onions and bit of butter and salt to turn it into a very tasty and low glycemic pilaf. A little cheese and my homemade habanero hot sauce on the pork and it all came together into a very tasty breakfast. mmmm….
This is just a tiny fraction of the variations of things you could make with a pork shoulder. Here are some more ideas…
- My dad is from China and used to cook a shoulder and eat it with a dipping sauce of 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 sesame oil. There’s also a chinese green onion and ginger sauce that would go well.
- Fry it up and use it as carnitas. You could add a tiny bit of orange juice and oregano into the pan to add the hint of mexican flavors traditionally used for carnitas.
- Put on a cuban sandwich along with ham, pickles and cheese. Fry the whole sandwich with a weight on it, like a panini.
I hope this gives you some ideas for creations of your own. Post a comment and tell us what you did with your shoulder!