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Braised Pork Shoulder

Make an irresistible dinner (or three!) with a slow-cooked pork shoulder that has the perfect flavors for a cool evening. Use this recipe to make open-faced porchetta sandwiches or ribbon pasta with pork ragu. Use the pork skin to make roasted baby potatoes with cracklings and chives.

  • Servings: 8
Braised Pork Shoulder

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2010


  • 6 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder (6 to 7 pounds), skin on (if making potatoes), room temperature
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 cups Belgian-style ale
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Crisp pancetta in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, until fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.

  2. Add onions to Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Transfer to plate using slotted spoon.

  3. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add oil to Dutch oven, and sear pork, fat side down, until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip, and repeat.

  4. Add garlic and spices to pot. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ale, stock, pancetta, and onions; bring to a simmer. Transfer to oven, and braise pork, covered, basting every hour, until meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Shred meat (just what you're using) using 2 forks, and drizzle with warm skimmed jus.

    Serving idea: Pile shredded pork on creamy polenta. Drizzle with jus.

    For leftovers: Cut away and reserve skin if making potatoes. Refrigerate pork in jus with onions overnight; skim fat from top (reserve if making potatoes). Reheat pork in oven, and shred just before using. You'll need shredded meat and skimmed jus for all three recipes.

Reviews (10)

  • kutest 13 Jan, 2012

    OMG! I think this is my new favorite dish. Used a boneless shoulder and bacon instead of pancetta, both worked just fine. I'm not a big fan of fennel but it really is perfect in this dish. I served over mashed potatoes. Kids loved it. Cooked in about 3 1/2 hours.

  • gteresi 19 Nov, 2011

    Made it for a 40th birthday dinner party. It was easy and amazing! People were raving about it! It allowed me to enjoy my guests because there was little to do once it was put in the oven. Great meal!

  • cdb1 14 Feb, 2011

    5-Star! Made it with Savory grilled Polenta (ala Alton Brown, my other favorite). Was a hit with the family (Put a pic on FB)

  • nswnwyo 31 Jan, 2011

    I have been making this roast for years. the thing i do differently is to cover the pork in the toasted crushed seeds along with crused red pepper and let it sit wrapped in the fridge overnight then down to room temp. before cooking. leftovers are great with bbq sauce, slaw pickles on white bread. goodness gracious!

  • Delia1 19 Jan, 2011

    WINNER!! This recipe is so very delicious!! I've made it a few times already! Leftovers are great in a million different ways, pasta, tacos, mac n cheese etc....awesome, awesome!!

  • MixNixon 12 Dec, 2010

    We used the leftovers a lot of ways. It makes great prok tacos!

  • MixNixon 12 Dec, 2010

    My husband said it tasted the way he remembered pork tasting when he was a child (and that's a big compliment). If you can't find pancetta, I found that salt pork will work in a pinch.

  • mllefantine 11 Dec, 2010

    Fantastic braising recipe!! Rather than skim the jus while it is still hot, I serve as is (the fat is sooo tasty!), then store the jus in the refrigerator over night and skim the next day when it has risen to the top and hardened.

  • Falene 21 Nov, 2010

    Skim it from the broth, don't de-fat prior to cooking. You will lose flavor that way.

  • grazianolinda 17 Nov, 2010

    Glad I used pancetta instead of bacon, I think bacon would be too strong. We served this with Cheddar polenta and roased broccoli, wonderful Fall dinner. Next time I think I will remove the fat from the pork before braising, there was a lot of fat in the broth (delicious but probably not good for us:)

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