Espresso-Braised Pork Shoulder

By • June 15, 2010 0 Comments

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Espresso-Braised Pork Shoulder

Author Notes: I developed this recipe for want of a good way to combine pork with a coffee braise when the closest thing I could find called for beef, a meat with much more presence than a good pork shoulder. Exact measurements aren't essential here; even though every time I've made this it's been well-received, substitutions and adjustments are constantly improving its flavors. Enjoy!Bows+Arrows


Serves five (or so).

Pork & Rub

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons espresso grounds or instant espresso granules
  • 1 teaspoon ground chile pepper or chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Braising Liquid

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso dissolved in 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground chile pepper or chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  1. Dry pork shoulder and cover with rub mixture. Let sit, covered, in refrigerator for ~8 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325.
  3. Place a 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 T. oil. When the oil's hot, throw in the shoulder and brown on all sides (a total of 10-12 minutes). The meat will get extra-dark due to the espresso; don't worry if it looks almost blackened.
  4. Remove pork and reduce heat to medium. Add in the rest of the oil if necessary and saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute, stirring, for another minute. Slowly stir in espresso, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in brown sugar, ground chili, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer and add pork shoulder.
  5. After boiling for a minute, put the lid on and transfer to oven. Let braise for at least 2-1/2 hours, turning shoulder at least once.
  6. Take the shoulder out of the oven and set on a plate. At this point the meat should nearly fall off the bone. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir in butter and flour to the liquid in the Dutch oven and simmer for 5 minutes to make a sauce.
  7. That's it! There's plenty of time to drink some wine and make a side dish or two while the meat braises. I haven't mastered the art of serving this yet, but putting the pork on some good crusty bread to make sandwiches is always an option.

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