Matilda, Maple, and Garlic Pork Shoulder with Crispy Skin

By • April 1, 2010 • 195 Comments

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Author Notes: My grandmother (yes, I'm mentioning my grandmother again) used to cook her ever-present, giant ham by sticking it in the oven and pouring ginger ale over it every once in a while, as if it had won the Super Bowl. I decided to use a bottle of Matilda beer, a lovely fruity malty ale made here in Chicago, by Goose Island, with maple syrup for some extra sweetness. You'll probably have to special order the rind-on cut; I had a hard time getting one in Chicago, a.k.a Meatland. Strange. The ponderously long cooking time was inspired by The River Cottage Meat Book, a book that I find charmingly revolting.ENunn

Food52 Review: WHO: ENunn is a writer in Chicago.
WHAT: A tender pork shoulder that is the definition of "slow and low" -- it cooks for 18 hours!
HOW: After mixing up the fennel and garlic marinade, the roast goes in the oven and requires little work save some intermittent basting.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Whether you love crispy skin or falling-apart meat, this showstopper has something for everybody.
A&M

Serves 4 to 6 to 8

  • 6 to 8 pounds bone-in, skin on pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted, crushed
  • 14 pieces garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grade b maple syrup
  • 1 big bottle of Matilda, or another malty fruity ale
  • 2 teaspoons malt vinegar
  1. After allowing the meat to come to room temperature, use a sharp knife to score the skin, making 1/2 inch stripes over entire surface. Preheat oven to 450. Toast fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat, until fragrant (3 minutes); crush using mortar and pestle, set aside. Place garlic and salt in empty mortar mortar and grind together to make a paste. Slowly add olive oil, then sprinkle in cayenne, black pepper, fennel.
  2. Rub about 1/3 of the paste over the skinless side of the meat, then place skin side down on a roasting pan in lower third of oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile stir the syrup and vinegar into the remaining paste.
  3. Turn the oven down to 225. Carefully flip the shoulder (use a clean towel), then use a rubber spatula to spread the remaining paste over the shoulder, pushing it into the scored skin.
  4. Return to oven and cook for 18 hours or longer (you can put it in the oven at bedtime and leave it in until you serve it as an early supper the next day, which is what I did; I just turned it all the way down to 150 for a couple of hours late in the afternoon), pouring 1/3 of the bottle of beer over it at several intervals, and basting with the drippings 2-3 times. Seriously. Before serving, turn up the heat to 450 for ten minutes if the skin is not crispy enough. Put it on a platter, and let people pull off pieces, like wild animals. They will fight over the skin.
  5. Serve with my Fresh Fennel and Red Pepper Chow-Chow (under "condiments"), and mashed sweet potatoes with apples. Leftover pork, Chow-Chow, and spicy mayo sandwich on ciabatta: very good idea.
Jump to Comments (195)

Comments (195) Questions (8)

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about 24 hours ago Emma Brett

This was delicious, friends and family said it was the best pork they had ever tasted! I served it with braised red cabbage and Nigella Lawson's creamy potato gratin on the first day and we had leftovers with a winter coleslaw the following days. I was a bit nervous about cooking it for so long uncovered but followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. I did have to remove some of the crust as it was burnt but the meat underneath was very tasty. I will make again but the really long cooking time adds to my electric bills so I won't be making it every week!

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4 days ago Carol

I made this and loved it. My mom used to make beef roast with this method and a much lower temperature. It worked wonderfully and clearly it works for pork roasts too. And nice picture! That is what really got my attention to investigate this recipe. Now to try it at a slightly lower temperature for a smaller pork loin. Thank you for this addition to my recipe list.

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11 days ago Kristen D.

This is a late post, but I made this for an Easter brunch. It came out FA_NOM_IN-NAL. Like AMAZINGLY GOOD. And, I had plenty leftover for the freezer. It froze great, and frankly didn't even last very long in there! Two warnings though: My oven had a 12 hour automatic shutoff, which happened to be at 2AM. Luckily, I woke up at 2:30 and decided to check on it, and saw it was off! Thank goodness, or I'd have had a ruined roast by morning! Second thing, is that my house SMELLED....delicious....at first....but let me tell you, smell anything for 18 hours and it's going to start to stink. Luckily the other things I started to cook for the brunch the morning of masked some of it before the guests arrived. 18 hours is a long time, but I will do it again for another special occasion I think. Also, agreed with those below, I went to a Mexican meat market to find my cut of meat. None of the specialty grocery stores or butchers had it.

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17 days ago Bryan Narendorf

We found this recipe to be underwhelming.

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16 days ago ENunn

We only crafted this underwhelming dish to mask the aroma
of poems cooling on the window ledge. Thank you for not being "shy" about criticizing!

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about 1 month ago Urbain Dubois

may work if you remove the bone and cut into smaller portions...this is just an off the cuff response. I am not sure this help you. Good Luck! I cooked beef short ribs last night and they were tender in around 3hours so just going on that.

Stringio

about 1 month ago Lesley Turner

This may sound crazy, but is there a way to follow these steps, adjust the time a modification of this in say 2-3 hours? Like just cook it like a regular ham? it looks really good, but I have very limited time, and am trying to pull this together in a rush

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5 months ago David Culp

Add the maple late in the process to avoid stinky drip-off burning action during the many hours of cooking.

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6 months ago Andy

OMG My son just told me about this site. I have already emailed a recipe to my wife. This pork shoulder is driving me insane. I have made pork shoulder roast on my grill and it never looked this amazing! Cant wait to give it a whirl. 18 hours WOW!

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6 months ago jsandy

I have a 4.5 pound boneless butt. Love the recipe - what modifications should I make to time/temp? Any suggestions?

Stringio

6 months ago Elizabeth Brailey Sobliros

Do you cover this ..?

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7 months ago [email protected]

When I saw this I had to try it. Low & slow is the normal way to do pork shoulder or butt when doing on a smoker but usually at 250 to 275 deg. Not sure this is proper but here is a link to the one I did with a lot of photos.
http://pelletsmokercooking...
Thanks Ed for the recipe it was worth doing. Don

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7 months ago Cydneyroach

After searching for the bone-in shoulder with the skin still on, the butcher at Whole Foods told me to go to the Hispanic grocery store (Fiesta here in Dallas). And I found exactly what I was looking for!

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7 months ago Adonia Larson

should I put a lid on it?

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8 months ago mara lepri

why is the book so charmingly revolting?

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8 months ago jamie munal

4 in Texas

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8 months ago StevenHB

Seems like this ought to serve a lot more than 4-8.

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8 months ago cookinalong

Malinda, there are some great pressure cooker recipes for this, and some are on the web. Try the website Dad Cooks Dinner or MissVicky's site. The first has some good recipes, the second lots of good advice about pressure cooking. And if you can get a copy of Lorna Sass's Cooking Under Pressure, you're on your way. Good luck. I love my pressure cooker!

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8 months ago StevenHB

How would a pressure cooker get the skin crisp? The shatteringly crisp skin is a key feature of pernil, of which this seems to be a variant.

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8 months ago cookinalong

It wouldn't. I think Malinda was just wondering if this cut could be prepared in a pressure cooker. It can, but obviously, since it's a radically different cooking method, the results are not going to be the same. It was off topic. Sorry if I colored outside the lines!

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7 months ago rob weaver

the long, low temp cooking melts away the connective tissues that makes the very tough piece of meat very tender. a pressure cooker will cook the meat but you'll still have a tough one to deal with.

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8 months ago Malinda Barrett

I know that this a low and slow recipe, but I just bought my first pressure cooker, and wonder if I could do this in the exact opposite way? Have saved some recipes for the pressure cooker already, but would really like to make this...

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8 months ago Sarah Hanson

I am making this for my husband's birthday, and there are just the two of us, so I got. 3-lb roast. Should I shorten the cooking time or still let it go the full 18 hours?

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8 months ago Angel

I would probably shorten it, but I unfortunately do not know what to shorten it to. you'll have to keep an eye on it.

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8 months ago cookinalong

I'm with Angel. You definitely have to shorten the time. I would think the safest thing would be to judge by internal temp. However, I am surprised you managed to find a bone-in roast that was only 3lbs. Sometimes the bone itself is about 2 lbs! I would not try this recipe with a boneless pork roast, so double check what kind of roast you have.

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4 months ago rhonda

why would a boneless not be good with this recipe? I could only find boneless...so I bought it..now have to cook it. It is also double the size...so suggestions?

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9 months ago jamie munal

Sad, I wouldn't have believed it until you said it. My experience was with brown outs. It's back to wood burning stoves.

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9 months ago cookinalong

Jamie, don't start chopping wood just yet! I think the problem I experienced is limited to the older gas stoves without electronic ignition. Other people who have used newer gas ovens seem to have had good results. The person who posted the recipe developed it using a gas oven. Bottom line, I suggest if you have doubts that you give yours a trial run as I did with mine. If the fire stays lit, you're OK.

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9 months ago jamie munal

I'm actually retrying this recipe this weekend... It will not defeat me.. LOL... I have a generator now.