Make Ahead

Chinese-American Pork Roast

April  1, 2010
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Though my parents are immigrants, my brother and I were born and raised in the good ole’ U.S.A. Even so, we grew up eating a wide range of Chinese dishes. My mother proved infinitely adaptable, using whatever ingredients were on hand but always remaining true to what a ‘true chinese’ would find acceptable. When I told her that I was planning my pork shoulder entry, she couldn’t help but tell me how she would do it. As an adult, I have grown to do things my way….so I told her to buy her own pork shoulder and cook it herself! (The added side benefit of this plan was that I would get to eat it.) My mom would typically use a really fatty piece of shoulder, which I find to be too rich. Divine intervention favored my point of view when our butcher mistakenly gave her a skinless roast. My mom and I thus combined forces: she picked and combined the ingredients, and I used my method of roasting it. Hence the name “chinese-american.” My brother’s family came over to share in the feast. Amidst all the grandkids happily eating the juicy meat, my brother turned to me and said “We were really lucky growing up.” I couldn’t agree more. —monkeymom

Test Kitchen Notes

This pork shoulder has lots of layers: earthy mushrooms, salty soy sauce, sweetness from the sugar. The sauce at the end is a great combination of flavors. The technique of browning meat and then marinating it overnight seems a little strange, but it does let you cook the onions and ginger for the marinade in the pork fat and it gives you the option to take it slow or speed the recipe up if you are short on time. The meat came apart easily, but it wasn't quite as juicy as I would have liked. For an even more tender roast, I'd try with an untrimmed piece of shoulder. - Stephanie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 ginger slices
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (boneless, trimmed of skin and fat)
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms (other types can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice wine (shao-xing wine, dry sherry or sake can be substituted)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  1. An important first step is to tie the pork shoulder roast. This will help keep the meat from falling apart. You can ask your butcher to do this for you. Using a long knife, insert knife into pork shoulder in several places all around roast. This will help the marinade penetrate the meat.
  2. In a large Dutch oven (or heavy oven-proof pot with a lid) heat the cooking oil. Add ginger and brown sugar and sauté for 1-2 minutes. This flavors the oil and melts the sugar. Add the pork shoulder and brown it on all sides. Remove pork from pot.
  3. Add onion and mushrooms to pot. Saute until onions are soft and slightly browned. Add garlic and sauté briefly, then wine and soy sauce. Heat and stir to mix.
  4. Return the browned pork shoulder to the pot. Turn pork over to coat well with marinade. Pile mushrooms and onions on top.
  5. You can continue straight to roasting here, but letting the pork sit in the refrigerator 3 hours to overnight will help the flavors penetrate the meant. Turn occasionally if you can. Let refrigerated pork roast sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Cover top of pot with foil and cover with lid. Roast for 3-3 ½ hours. Check the roast once every hour and turn it over. Baste the roast with juices that accumulate in pot.
  7. For a crustier outside layer, remove pot from oven and turn up the oven to 400 degrees. Transfer roast fat side up to sheet pan lined with foil. Take 3 Tbsp of juices from pot and combine with 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Spread all over top of roast and return to oven for 15 minutes until sugar has caramelized, but not burned.
  8. Let roast rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before serving. Decant sauce to fat separator or smaller bowl to remove fat, if desired. Remove roast to serving platter, cut and remove strings, then cut meat into thick slices across the grain of the meat. Drizzle roast pork with sauce and serve extra sauce along side. Serve with white rice.

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Recipe by: monkeymom

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

17 Reviews

Ellie C. January 9, 2024
Have you tried using 5 spice in this recipe? Curious how you think it would turn out and when to add it!
Rey C. September 7, 2021
Do you think I could switch out the pork shoulder for Brisket here? I have some semi kosher friends that will be coming for the holiday and this could be a winner.
Jen September 4, 2018
Truly a delectable pork roast! I used an untrimmed pork shoulder which resulted in a moist and flavorful entrée. Next time, I will use a low sodium soy sauce. Thanks!
Chrissie G. January 11, 2016
I made this on the weekend. I cut back to soy sauce to 3/4 cup and for me, it was just way too salty.
Ursi M. August 17, 2015
Delicious! Everyone liked it... from 8 year-olds to Great Grandma!!!
Thank you for sharing.
Ben R. March 28, 2015
Never mentions when to add the soy sauce, rice wine or shallots. Assume it's when you add the other liquids and aromatics. About to find out!
j2301 December 4, 2012
I do not have an oven at home :( YOu think I can still do this recipe on the stovetop??
mrslarkin September 14, 2012
Yum, monkeymom! made this, with some substitutions, the other night for dinner. Subbed 2 pluots for the mushrooms, threw in a few star anise, and used a little dry vermouth and madeira for the rice wine. It was a super tasty plum-sauced pork roast. Impressed the heck out of my family that I actually had a complete dinner on the table, so thank you!
AntoniaJames September 14, 2012
mrslarkin, these variations sound so delicious! I'm not a big fan of shiitake, but have been thinking of plums + pork lately, while plums are still in season. (And I'm out of rice wine, so your sub there is so helpful.) The pluots here are generally more tart than our local plums, which to my mind make the pluots a better choice. Thanks so much for posting this. You've totally inspired me! ;o)
Katinagal October 4, 2011
I made this for our Sunday supper--it was amazing, awesome leftovers, too.
SallyCan September 30, 2010
I made this the other day, and it was outrageously delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
monkeymom October 18, 2010
Thanks Sallycan for the positive feedback! I'm so glad that you liked it!
AntoniaJames April 8, 2010
Mmmm. I want some of this! Great recipe, MonkeyMom!!
mrslarkin April 1, 2010
Sounds amazing! thanks for this one.
monkeymom April 2, 2010
Thanks mrslarkin! I'm still smiling from that flying squirrel picture by the way!
thirschfeld April 1, 2010
It is funny, I tend to cook in phases. At any one point during the year I may only cook Chinese food, or be obsessed with Mexican, or French. This makes me want to start on an Asian food obsession. Looks really tasty.
monkeymom April 2, 2010
Thanks thirschfeld! I hate to say it, but mom know best. Don't tell her I said so.