Old-Fashioned Roast Pork

(from 226-2tone’s recipe box)

Serves 6 to 8
A heavy, deep-sided (3-inch) roasting pan is the best choice for this recipe, but a shallow broiler pan also works well. If you plan to make the Cuban sandwiches (see related recipe), slice off and reserve a half-pound piece of the roast at the beginning of step 4; if wrapped tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

For our Old-Fashioned Roast Pork recipe, we skipped lean loins and opted for deep-flavored and inexpensive pork shoulder or Boston butt, which we flavored with a classic roast pork spice rub. Cooking the roast in a low oven for seven hours rendered the fat and softened our roast pork’s tough connective tissue. And for easy slicing, we refrigerated the cooked roast overnight until firm.

Source: Cook's Country April​/May 2006 (from RecipeThing user Bethany)

Categories: Meat


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt, about 6 pounds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roughly chopped
  • 2 large red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if necessary)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Trim outer fat from pork, leaving 1/8-inch-thick layer. Combine garlic, pepper, salt, rosemary, sage, and fennel seeds in small bowl. Tie pork roast tightly into uniform shape. Rub with herb mixture.

  2. Transfer to roasting pan and cook 3 hours. Scatter onion wedges around meat, tossing onions in pan drippings to coat. (If roast has not produced any juices, toss onions with oil.) Continue roasting until meat is extremely tender and skewer inserted into center meets no resistance, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. (Check pan juices every hour to make sure they have not evaporated. If necessary, add 2 cups water to pan and stir browned bits into water.)

  3. Transfer roast to large baking dish, place onions in medium bowl, and pour pan drippings into liquid measuring cup, adding enough water to measure 1 1/2 cups. Allow all to cool 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

  4. One hour before serving, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Cut cold meat into 1/4-inch slices and overlap in large baking dish. Spoon fat layer off drippings (discard fat) and transfer drippings and reserved onions to medium saucepan. Add cider, jelly, and vinegar and bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer. Spoon 1/2 cup simmering sauce over pork slices and cover baking dish with foil. Place in oven and heat until very hot, 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, continue reducing sauce until dark and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes (reheat mixture just before serving pork). Serve pork, spooning onion mixture over meat or passing at table.

  5. SECRETS TO OLD-FASHIONED FLAVOR Boneless pork shoulder, or Boston butt, costs as little as $1.50 per pound, but it takes some work to transform this cheap cut into a memorable meal. This roast is usually sold in netting. Once you remove the netting at home, the roast will open up and you can start its transformation. 1. TRIM AND TIE: Trim any excess fat, leaving behind an 1/8-inch-thick layer. Tie the trimmed roast tightly into a uniform shape, with 3 pieces of butcher’s twine running around the width of the roast and one piece running around its length. 2. RUB WITH HERBS: Rub a mixture of rosemary, sage, fennel seeds, garlic, salt, and pepper over the roast. 3. COOK FOR A LONG TIME: Roast the pork for 3 hours, add onion wedges, and continue to roast until the meat is extremely tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours more.

  6. CHILL, THEN SLICE Shredded pork shoulder is great off the barbecue, but we wanted intact, company-friendly slices of pork that could be served for a Sunday or holiday dinner. We found that if we cut into the pork immediately after roasting, it fell apart into shreds. To avoid this problem, we chilled the cooked pork roast overnight in the refrigerator, making the job of cutting thin slices the next day incredibly easy.

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