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A Versatile Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

From tacos to lettuce wraps, this meat can be used in so many dishes.
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Walk past Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York's East Village any night around 8 p.m. and you'll see a table of eight or so lucky diners, jaws agape, tucking into a heroic hunk of pork just like this. It's a dramatic dish, one that you want to bring to a table crowded with ravenous friends and loved ones. You can serve the pork with a variety of amazing accoutrements—from salsa and guac and corn tortillas for tacos, to lettuce leaves and Asian condiments for Korean-style wraps (as it's served at Ssäm Bar). But, truthfully, this pork shoulder is delicious enough to be dinner on its own. Plus? If you make it yourself you'll save quite a bit of dough and have a faster trip home (cause you'll already be there.)

Nutrition: 410 calories, 22 g fat (8 g saturated), 900 mg sodium

Serves 12 to 16

You'll Need

1 (6 to 8 lb) boneless pork shoulder
2 Tbsp salt
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup brown sugar

How to Make It

  1. The night before cooking, rub the pork all over with the salt and the granulated sugar. Cover and return to the refrigerator to brine overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  3. Place the pork in a large baking dish and roast on the bottom rack, using a baster or a large spoon to baste the pork every 30 minutes or so. (If you want to leave the pork in the oven and forget about it, it will still come out great without basting.)
  4. The pork is done when it easily pulls apart with a fork, about 5 hours.
  5. Remove the pork from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 475°F.
  6. Rub the pork all over with the brown sugar and return to the oven.
  7. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the sugar forms a dark mahogany crust.
  8. Serve as is with a few vegetable sides, or in any of the manners outlined in "Meal Multiplier," below.

Eat This Tip

This fork-tender mountain of pork can be the star of a dozen different final dishes. Here are just a few sources of inspiration:

  • Mexican: Corn tortillas, black beans, salsa, guacamole
  • Korean: Bibb lettuce leaves, steamed rice, hoisin, sriracha
  • Carolina: Apple cider vinegar spiked with chili flakes, coleslaw, potato rolls

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