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Monday, November 10, 2008

Cold Shoulder

posted by on November 10 at 10:45 AM


Every QFC in Seattle has been inexplicably blessed with a surplus of pork shoulder roasts, which they’re pretty much giving away at 99 cents a pound. I’ve got about 5 pounds of it sitting in my fridge right now. But I’ve never cooked such a large cut of meat before. Right now, I’m thinking about doing this. Sloggers, what do you think? Should I make Cuban sandwiches? Roast it whole? Turn it into pork chili? Repent and become a vegetarian? Let me know in the comments.

Photo by Rockies, licensed by Creative Commons.

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Curried pork ragu with butternut squash comes to mind.

Posted by jeffg166 | November 10, 2008 10:51 AM

Yumm. I would make a puerto rican pernil with that. Is easy and tasty.

Posted by SeMe | November 10, 2008 10:51 AM

Robert Rodriguez' recipe for Puerco Pibil on the DVD extras of "Once Upon a Time in Mexico".

I've done it so many times people ask for it.

You can do it with foil, but do it the banana leaf way. You can get them at many mexican groceries.

Posted by StC | November 10, 2008 10:52 AM

you cant go wrong with pork shoulder. but just make sure and do that rub the night before.

and you can always roast it whole with potatoes onions carrots etc. and seasoning.

Posted by mickey in AR | November 10, 2008 10:53 AM

Eat it raw.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 10, 2008 10:55 AM


Posted by Mittens Schrodinger | November 10, 2008 10:56 AM

Roasted. Then make whatever you want with leftovers. Bar-B-Q, curry, pork fried rice, sweet and sour pork, etc.

Posted by Vince | November 10, 2008 10:56 AM

At 99 cents a pound, you should probably consider in what kind of conditions this pig may have lived.

Posted by DOUG. | November 10, 2008 10:57 AM

slow cook it with prunes. seriously. first rub it with s&p, powdered sage, dried thyme, sear it on the stovetop in a dutch oven and then cover it, slow roast it with sauteed sliced red onion and prunes and a bit of broth at 350 for a couple hours. it's carmelly and wonderful. be sure to cut off as much fat as possible first.

Posted by ellarosa | November 10, 2008 10:58 AM
Posted by vooodooo84 | November 10, 2008 10:59 AM


Posted by carolin | November 10, 2008 11:04 AM

One, thanks for the tip.

Two, braise that shit!

Posted by Katie B | November 10, 2008 11:04 AM

Smoking is the only way to do pork shoulder justice. If you have a BBQ grill, you have a smoker. Alton Brown has a fantastic recipe for smoked turkey than can be easily applied to your pork.

Posted by Derek | November 10, 2008 11:11 AM

Pork Shoulder demands to be smoked.

Posted by Andrew | November 10, 2008 11:12 AM

Repent. Stop supporting and condoning the butchery of animals to satisfy your appetite. Given your apparent concern for the environment, it's seriously beyond me how you can support the meat industry.

Posted by Besides, baby pigs are so cute | November 10, 2008 11:12 AM

Is it wrong that an increasingly large part of the reason I want to get married is my lust for the Le Creuset cookware that I could reasonably ask for as wedding gifts? That link has me drooling. And grateful for the pork that currently resides in my fridge. Guess what's getting rubbed tonight? MmmHM.

Posted by Suze | November 10, 2008 11:12 AM

I was wondering why it was so cheap last night. I made a little roast, and it was wonderful. Season it good, and slow roast in the oven or crockpot. I added mushrooms and potatoes to the mix. It was yummy, albeit pretty fatty meat, even for pork shoulder.

Posted by Original Monique | November 10, 2008 11:15 AM

Slow roast is OK, but slow smoke is the best.

Posted by Fnarf | November 10, 2008 11:18 AM

Braise then fry it and make tacos

Posted by Crispy | November 10, 2008 11:18 AM

Rub it w/ lots of paprika, a little brown sugar, a handful of chili powder, s&p. Then sear it and stick it in the oven or crock pot it w/ a mixture of veggies and garlic.

Posted by jon.e.rock | November 10, 2008 11:19 AM

I wouldn't settle on one dish, make many. The name doesn't come to me but there is a really tasty Mexican dish with zucchini and pork stir fired and then simmered in tomato sauce. Odds and ends and leftovers could be used to make a soup.

Posted by zgirl | November 10, 2008 11:20 AM

I'm with @12. Braise it in a simple broth, divide it up and then spice it up and use it for lots of different dishes.

Posted by inkweary | November 10, 2008 11:20 AM

my suggestion to Erica is to lube up that pig shoulder and film your next HUMP! submission.

Posted by jim bexley-speed | November 10, 2008 11:21 AM


Posted by Lincolnish | November 10, 2008 11:23 AM

Oh, it isn't so inexplicable. with the holidays coming up all the processors are making hams. That leaves a whole lot of other pork body parts that need to be moved as well. since ham is more popular this time of year expect to see other cuts cheap as well.

Posted by inkweary | November 10, 2008 11:24 AM

Put it in my Big Green Egg, wait 12 hours and enjoy.

Posted by John | November 10, 2008 11:29 AM

Slow roast with carrots, onions, potatoes and seasoning.

Then you can do different things with the left-overs. Sandwiches, tacos, chili, sweet and sour pork, omelets...

Posted by elianara | November 10, 2008 11:29 AM

Oh thank goodness. I did the same exact thing. The internet tells me pulled pork is the way to go, either Cuban, or Mexican (carnitas!) You should totally blog what you do with it. I'd tune in.

Posted by snakes | November 10, 2008 11:30 AM

REPENT, and give the meat to someone who could really use it, like a homeless shelter.

Have you investigated how the vast majority of pigs are raised and slaughtered in this country? It's highly disturbing.

Posted by treacle | November 10, 2008 11:37 AM

Cut it into small (~8 oz) pieces about 2" thick and marinate it overnight. Then slow-roast it.

Posted by Greg | November 10, 2008 11:39 AM

Pigs are highly intelligent creatures, who in laboratory studies have been shown to be able to operate motor vehicles and learn Braille. The meat industry is nothing but a continuation of thousands of years of Patriarchal cultural hegemony imposing itself on the sensitive colons of people yearning to be free. Let the pigs keep their shoulders! Repent!

Posted by Evergreen Student | November 10, 2008 11:39 AM

John @26, I think it would look better in MY Big Green Egg, dammit.

Posted by Fnarf | November 10, 2008 11:41 AM

Put it in the crockpot with a packet of lipton onion soup mix. All day. If you want to get fancy, add a 1/3 cup of cognac.

Posted by D. | November 10, 2008 11:43 AM

And water. Don't forget a cup of water.

Posted by D. | November 10, 2008 11:44 AM

Use some to make "boneless" pork ribs or pork satay. I envy you. If I wasn't trapped in a nursing home I'd go out and buy me a few roasts.

Posted by elswinger | November 10, 2008 11:45 AM
Posted by bryan | November 10, 2008 11:46 AM

we roasted one last week - it has a LOT of fat all through it. more than the kids could handle.

also, the butcher will saw it in half for you.

Posted by max solomon | November 10, 2008 11:48 AM


It's a great pork dish.

Hope you have a nice crock pot or big oven!

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 10, 2008 12:00 PM


Look at the URL and help us out! Please, Please, Please :)

Posted by Original Monique | November 10, 2008 12:04 PM

@29, inhumanely raised pigs are OK for homeless shelters, but not the high-and-mighty assholes like us who post and comment on SLOG?

Seriously, ECB, pulled pork sandwiches for a week! I'm going to QFC right now.

Posted by Joe M | November 10, 2008 12:05 PM

Well, by the looks of it you really only have about 3 pounds of meat. At least a third of that is fat. No wonder it was only 99c a pound. Who the hell is their butcher?

Posted by Reverse Polarity | November 10, 2008 12:07 PM

If everyone stopped eating meat, universal health care would pay for itself and global warming would be solved (for now, at least).

In answer to your question, repent and give the pig corpse to Bonney-Watson for toasting.

Posted by jrrrl | November 10, 2008 12:08 PM

I flipped on channel 9 for some soothing cooking programming Saturday afternoon, and on Cook's Country (not always great, but good for basics), they were making exactly this, a version cooked for approximately a grazillion hours. Looked GOOD if you're patient enough. Some details from the Einternet:

Old-Fashioned Roast Pork
There was a time when a Sunday roast and a family gathering was a weekly event. Depending upon what part of the country you lived in, it was either a prime rib or a big cut of pork. A beef roast is pretty easy to cook; a pork roast, however, is not. All the fat has been bred out of commercial pork and the lean meat quickly dries out in the oven. Is there a particular cut that doesn’t dry out? Are there any tricks to keeping it roast pork moist and flavorful? Here’s what we discovered:

Skip lean loins and use deep-flavored, amply marbled, and very inexpensive pork shoulder or Boston butt. The fat renders as the meat roasts and keeps it moist.
For a classic roast pork spice rub, blend garlic, pepper, rosemary, sage, and fennel seed.
Cook the roast in a low (300-degree) oven for a whopping 7 hours. The combination of long cooking time and low heat renders the fat and softens the tough connective tissue.
The roast won’t slice neatly fresh from the oven, so it must be refrigerated overnight until firm, after which neat, clean slices are perfectly possible. Dress the slices with a sauce prepared from the drippings mixed with a little apple cider and jelly and heat in the oven.

Posted by Bethany Jean Clement | November 10, 2008 12:09 PM

Oh, and for the record: I buy meat approximately once every six weeks. As environmental sins go, that's pretty piddling.

Posted by ECB | November 10, 2008 12:22 PM

I like to cube it up and slow-cook it (crock-pot or oven) with sweet potatoes, pineapple and coconut milk. Don't forget a hot pepper or two, depending on your tastes.
Smoked is also fabulous if you have the grill/smoker available.

Posted by BeckyH | November 10, 2008 12:33 PM

Wow, you're lucky to get it with the fat back and skin. I'd keep it whole and slow roast it. For a recipe, see Mark Bittman's pernil recipe in the Minimalist column in the New York Times. Another option I'd consider is the same pernil recipe or other roast, but taking it down to 1/4 or 1/2 inch of fat cap and curing the remaining fat to make lardo and saving the skin for stock. I'd also consider taking a large chunk of any well-marbled section and making Paul Bertolli's coppa recipe. Good luck -- and tell us what you do!

Posted by Brendan | November 10, 2008 12:34 PM

@43 Sold. The spouse gave me the most amazing roasting pan for X-mas last year. I can't imagine anything better than cooking a roast for 7 hours. I'm on my way to the QFC, and tomorrow, we roast!

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | November 10, 2008 12:39 PM

Christ, does that fat melt off while it's cooking, or does it actually get eaten?

Clueless vegans demand answers.

(Note: please tell me it melts off, even if it's not true. I don't want my recent optimism about the fate of our nation destroyed so soon.)

Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 10, 2008 12:39 PM

I suggest Pork Posole'

Posted by Mrs. Y | November 10, 2008 12:55 PM

Back from the store. They looked so good I bought an extra to freeze and cook up in January.

I'll be dry-rubbing later this evening.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | November 10, 2008 1:13 PM

ECB, the following from the NY Times:

Americans eat about the same amount of meat as we have for some time, about eight ounces a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5 percent of the world’s population, we “process” (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.

Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Grain, meat and even energy are roped together in a way that could have dire results. More meat means a corresponding increase in demand for feed, especially corn and soy, which some experts say will contribute to higher prices.

This will be inconvenient for citizens of wealthier nations, but it could have tragic consequences for those of poorer ones, especially if higher prices for feed divert production away from food crops. The demand for ethanol is already pushing up prices, and explains, in part, the 40 percent rise last year in the food price index calculated by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization.

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States.

The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed is profound. Agriculture in the United States — much of which now serves the demand for meat — contributes to nearly three-quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Because the stomachs of cattle are meant to digest grass, not grain, cattle raised industrially thrive only in the sense that they gain weight quickly. This diet made it possible to remove cattle from their natural environment and encourage the efficiency of mass confinement and slaughter. But it causes enough health problems that administration of antibiotics is routine, so much so that it can result in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten the usefulness of medicines that treat people.

Those grain-fed animals, in turn, are contributing to health problems among the world’s wealthier citizens — heart disease, some types of cancer, diabetes. The argument that meat provides useful protein makes sense, if the quantities are small. But the “you gotta eat meat” claim collapses at American levels. Even if the amount of meat we eat weren’t harmful, it’s way more than enough.

Full article at

When you buy meat, especially if it's commercially produced, you support a huge industry that's helping to push us to the brink of environmental collapse. Hope you enjoy your pork sandwich.

Posted by Repent | November 10, 2008 1:18 PM

oh get a life, repent. Like ECB, most of my meals don't have meat in them.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 10, 2008 1:48 PM

Thanks guys for mostly not causing the global warming crisis, health care crisis, energy crisis... do we have any other crises right now? Those too.

Posted by jrrrl | November 10, 2008 1:57 PM

Oh dear....

Ya try to give a heads-up on a good cheap eats deal at the QFC and the next thing you know, you've destroyed the earth....

Christ onna crap cracker...........

Posted by merry | November 10, 2008 2:03 PM

Pulled pork! Pulled pork! Rub the roast in some spices, salt and pepper, etcetera, and let it sit for a while (overnight). Make some delish North Carolina-style BBQ sauce (non-tomato based), and then put everything in your crock pot and cook it on low for 8-10 hours. It takes for fucking ever to pull it apart after it's done, but the results are totally worth it.

Posted by Sarah | November 10, 2008 2:09 PM

I live in a yurt!

Posted by Evergreen Student | November 10, 2008 2:10 PM

Soaking it in a brine will help avoid it drying out in the oven. Here's a brine I really, really like courtesy of Alton Brown:

1 qt. vegetable stock

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 tsp. to 1 tbl. black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 qt. orange juice

2 qts. ice water

Bring two cups of the stock, the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Dissolve the salt and sugar, then turn heat off. Add the remaining stock, orange juice, and ice water. Once the brine has cooled to 40*F or cooler, add meat and keep in a cold place. Brine for 8 to 48 hours.

I often replace the bay leaves with rosemary sprigs. You may need to double this for a large roast. I use this with my Thanksgiving turkey every year and it is excellent.

Posted by PA Native | November 10, 2008 2:18 PM

i highly approve of the "drive motor vehicles and learn braile" argument! i also live in a yurt!

i think that made my week for some reason.

Posted by erin | November 10, 2008 2:33 PM

I don't know how to answer your question, but I see an opportunity to get all preachy and self-righteous! YEE-HA! Repent from your evil ways, murderous flesh-eating scum!

Posted by Vegan College Sophomore | November 10, 2008 2:42 PM

Dry rub accomplished. The shoulder naps in the intermittent darkness of the Frigidaire.

I'm gonna roast some yams and onions along with tomorrow. The house is gonna smell like Sunday.

And my family and I apologize for our part in destroying the planet via meat, but our carbon footprint is pretty tiny overall. I walk nearly everywhere I go, we don't own a car, we recycle everything we can, we give to charity, I garden, and we worship Obama (also her Infinite Grace Michelle). Just don't ask us to give up pork. We consider it, like the green bell pepper, a necessary evil.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | November 10, 2008 3:21 PM

Jamie would know what to do....

Posted by sarah | November 10, 2008 3:49 PM

@15, Besides, baby pigs are so cute:

Dood! They are cute! So cute! In fact, the other day we were at at a farm checking out 2 baby pigs with the kids, and we got to see the alpha pig shit a powerhouse stream of liquid crap all over the smaller pig. Id say the stream shot about 5-6 feet of shitty goodness.

Cute! I cant wait till Babe the triple X feature!

Posted by tr00fteller | November 10, 2008 4:21 PM

I actually heard a thing on the splendid table this weekend to use liquid smoke and a crock pot to "fake smoke" it.
Sounds gross but liquid smoke is the same thing that makes regular smoke - they throw water on chips and the steam collects on a foil tent above the grill and then drips into a container.
I tried it using a fraction of liquid smoke - basically a bottle of hard cider, a dry rubbed roast and half a tsp of liquid smoke in a crock pot overnight. Then dump out all the liquid and fat - reserve some for moistening if you need it.
At first it was kind of weird - the liquid smoke tasted kind of off - but after I pulled it and added tomato sauce it was super!
Basically liquid smoke is used in every barbeque sauce there is. It's not that bad and not too unnatural, just be sparing.
That's the laziest recipe I can come up with.

Posted by Diana | November 10, 2008 4:32 PM


Posted by Kristen McBride | November 10, 2008 5:11 PM

Pork is not a verb.

Any questions?

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | November 10, 2008 5:37 PM

Ask Corianton Hale for his carnitas recipe. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by porky goodness | November 10, 2008 7:08 PM

ECB, Thanks for the tip! I sent my guy out to buy one, and now we have Adobo pork, Cubano-style, on the stove, plus two small roasts and the saved fat and spare meat (for sausage) in the freezer, We'll get about 8 meals out of that, so I should keep thanking you until my freezer is empty.

@16 I think the gift registry is the only reason to have a wedding. My pork parts will be free from freezer burn, thanks to our Seal-a-Meal; we'll make grind and make sausage with our Kitchenaid; tonight's pork roast currently resides in the Martha Stewart knock-off of the La Creuset dutch oven (watch for those on sale at the Bon and you don't have to wait to get married.)

Posted by Lucky | November 10, 2008 8:53 PM

Pozole, it's the best Mexican dish ever.

Posted by Porky | November 10, 2008 10:18 PM

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