I’ve been mistaken as a vegetarian or vegan for years, and while I have no problem with someone partaking in these lifestyles, it didn’t feel good within my body. I was vegan for almost a year and at first, I felt great until I didn’t. Around the year mark, I was always bloated and was craving a pork chop like it was my job. I sat with the craving with a week, and when I finally ate a piece of chicken, I immediately felt better.
All of this said, when I do eat meat, I know where it’s being sourced and how it was raised. As I’ve continually learned about our food system and regenerative agriculture, I feel confident in the farming cycle and my part in it. I’m also extremely grateful to live in an area surrounded by farmers who are do the right thing and feed their communities extremely well. The honor is energetically nourishing as well as physically nourishing to the body.
This simple, low+slow braise is not only warm and cozy, but the leftovers are fabulous reheated in tacos, salads or bowls. Ask for your butcher for a bone-in, skin on pork shoulder if possible. The skin gets nice and crispy – yum – and the bone provides significant flavor. It will still be wonderful if one or both of these are missing.
Like any of the recipes I post, have fun with this! Switch the oregano for toasted fennel seeds or a more herbaceous feel. Add 1/2 cup of (apple or hard) cider to the maple mixture for a luscious fall feel. Maybe a cinnamon stick with that apple cider too. If you don’t have a liquid like stock available, but the pork shoulder has the skin on, it will still work beautifully because the fat will baste the meat itself. Trust me though, you want all of the garlic!
3# bone in, skin on pork shoulder
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
14 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock or cider
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Take the pork out of the refrigerator, and using a sharp knife, score the skin in 1/2″ diagonal lengths both ways to create a diamond pattern. Leave the pork out to come to room temperature while you prepare the rub. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
With a mortar and pestle, add the oregano, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Using the salt as an abrasive, crush the garlic into the spices to create a paste.
In a small bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, add your maple syrup, olive oil, stock, apple cider vinegar and chiptole pepper. Whisk in half of the herb paste and set aside.
Rub the other half of the paste all over the meat, getting in between the cuts you made in the skin. Place the meat skin side down into an oven safe, roasting pot like a Dutch oven. Cook for for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes has passed, turn the oven down to 200 degrees. Take the meat out of the oven and flip it over (carefully) so the skin is on top. Pour the liquid mixture over and around the meat, put the lid on the pot and return it to the oven.
Cook it for 12-18 hours – the longer the better – basting 3-4 times throughout. I put this in the oven the night before we’re planning to eat it, and let it cook through the night. When it’s ready, turn on the broiler for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the skin before letting it rest. You can serve it fully on a platter and let your guests pull off what they want, or if you’re making something like tacos, I like to shred it on a cutting board, chopping the skin into it and folding it back into the braising liquid. Yum, yum, yummy!