This recipe is for the Momofuku pork shoulder for ramen noodles taken from the Momofuku cookbook I got for christmas this past season. The recipe is as follows:
3lb boneless pork shoulder
1/4c kosher salt
Mix the salt and sugar together and rub all over pork shoulder, wrap in plastic, and leave in fridge for at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 250F
Put pork shoulder into oven for 6 hours, basting it with the rendered fat every hour.
Take out of oven and let it rest for 30 minutes prior to shredding meat.
Shred meat using 2 forks and enjoy!
So for those who have not worked with a pork shoulder before, the pork shoulder is divided into two parts: the butt and the picnic. The butt is the upper part of the shoulder, and the picnic is what is typically used for the spiral sliced hams you get from Honey Baked Ham. The butt is full of all kinds of connective tissue that takes a long time to break down, which is why the recipe calls for low heat for a long time. The butt I bought from Safeway was some smithfield ham that was bone-in. Each shoulder ended up being between 6-7 lbs.
Oh, and I was making 4 shoulders at once.
I followed the recipe as best I could, but instead of using some bowls to let the shoulders sit in, I used the baking pans I was planning on cooking them on. This was a large roasting pan and 2x 10″ lodge cast iron pans (which I love). I heated up the ovens, and threw in the shoulders – may the slow-cooking begin!
At 1 hour, there was some browning going on, very little of the juices have been released, and the blood from inside the bone started to come out a bit.
At hour 2, a lot more blood had come out of the bone, and there was a little more of that freshly cooked pork color. Still a lot of connective tissue visible.
At hour 3, there was some distinct coloring of the bone, and the connective tissue appeared to dissolve around the bone. the color of the shoulder was just started to get a nice red-ness to it.
At hour 4, there was not much difference from hour 3 except some more color and a little more juice accumulating at the bottom of the pan
At hour 5, there was a lot more liquid accumulating at the bottom of the pan. all the connective tissue appeared very glossy – maybe almost about to melt.
At hour 6, the color really becomes nice and vibrant. There are tons of juices at the bottom of the pan, and there seems to be some separation of the muscles due to the connective tissue breaking down. looking really tasty!
By hour 7, the whole house smelled like pork and it was time to pull out the finished product (also, all the guests were arriving and were hungry!). The coloring looked great, there were tons of juices. It looked great!
So, according to recipe, you let the meat sit out for a half hour (also, gives it time to cool down)
Then we hand picked the meat and laid it out for everyone to eat! This is kind of where the point of getting a bone-in shoulder may have messed things up. Because the bone takes a lot longer to heat up, I should have kept the shoulder in the oven a lot longer in order for all the connective tissue to break down properly. When we were breaking apart the meat, there were still some pretty well-connected chunks we couldn’t work around. The meat cooked in the cast iron pans appeared to break down easier possible due to the better conductance and retaining of heat. So if you’re going to buy a bone-in, you may need a couple extra hours than the original recipe. The boneless appears to only need about 6 hours of oven-time. Also, I left the skin on in the oven, cooking skin-side down. This probably added to the amount of heating time and the quantity of connective tissue that needed to be broken down – the cookbook did not say if the pork shoulders were supposed to be trimmed.
So here was the spread! (we had at least two half-sized chaffing pans of meat, only one is pictured)
great recipe! next time I make this, hopefully I won’t be on a deadline so I can see how long it takes to cook with bone-in. or I could also go and get a trimmed, boneless pork butt – may be better for next time.