Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

This, my friends, is about 5 pounds of slow-roasted pork shoulder. Harry did a great job of hand-pulling the meat and now it's ready for a variety of recipes - or just nibbling on it until dinner is ready!

When we find a great deal on a huge piece of meat, we can't pass it up. While we would prefer to smoke it, Harry's cooking hours are severely limited. That doesn't mean I can't have juicy, tender pulled pork that I can use in ways other than sandwiches.

I like to keep slow-roasted pork in the freezer for a quick start to a meal. We use it in a lot of our Asian-inspired dishes such as Hot & Sour Soup or stir-fry. It's super-easy to make a quick Pork Fried Rice when all I have to do is chop the meat. When we roast the pork, I also get a large amount of pork broth that I can use to make pork & noodles or simple open-faced pork sandwiches smothered in gravy.

The prep work for the pork takes about as long as it takes for your oven to preheat to 250 degrees. Low and slow is required to keep the shoulder from drying out. Someday, when I plan far enough ahead, I'd like to experiment with oven-smoking.

The rub for this pork shoulder is simple. We started with close to seven pounds of raw meat (bone-in), so I went a little light with the rub. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of sage, 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, granulated garlic and ground black pepper, and one-half of a teaspoon of paprika.

You can see that I didn't build up a crust on the pork, but rather a nice, light seasoning. You don't want to mask the flavor of the pork by going too heavy with the rub. Add about a half-cup of water or beer, cover the pan with foil, and walk away for about 6 hours. Do the laundry. Clean the bathroom. Sit on the porch with cocktails and watch the clouds pass by.

I never peek before the pork shoulder has been roasting for at least 6 hours - constant checking will allow the moisture to escape. Since we will remove the fat when we pull the pork, I'm not concerned with getting a crispy crust. You want the pork to test at at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove it. I've gotten distracted and let it go to about 200 degrees without losing any flavor or tenderness.

Once the pork has cooled enough to handle, you can use your clean hands or a pair of forks to pull the meat from the bone. Package the cooled pork and freeze for later use. OR - mix up a batch of it with your favorite barbecue sauce for sandwiches immediately - do NOT forget the dill pickle slices. They are very important.

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