Feed a crowd or plan Sunday dinner around this tender and juicy Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder. Cooked low and slow over several hours, you can slice it up to serve next to your favorite sides or shred the fall-apart meat for barbecue sauce-slathered pulled pork.
Nothing is quite as comforting as a slowly roasted cut of meat—particularly Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder! This flavorful, tender cut of meat is slathered in a spicy garlic paste and drizzled with tangy balsamic vinegar before being slowly roasted for hours. The smell alone will have your mouth watering long before you pull this delicious pork roast from the oven!
Pork roast doesn’t only have to be enjoyed for Sunday dinners or fancy dinner parties! With only a few extra minutes in the oven, the pork shoulder becomes so tender and shreddable. Slather the pulled pork in your favorite barbeque sauce to enjoy in a pulled pork sandwich, on Sheet Pan Nachos, or in Enchiladas.
Why cook pork shoulder low and slow?
Low and slow doesn’t only mean you get to step away and relax for a few hours! Roasting pork shoulder at a low temperature for several hours gives it time to tenderize, caramelize, and seal in those delicious juices. Use the extra time to whip up a few sides, like Honey Roasted Carrots or mashed potatoes, or sit back and wait.
How long does it take to roast a pork shoulder?
A 3 to 4 pound pork shoulder can be slow roasted in roughly 4 or 5 hours. For this recipe, I recommend cooking your pork until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roast reads 165°F for sliced pork roast or 180°F for pulled pork.
How to make a crisp slow roasted pork shoulder
To make a deliciously tender and crisp slow roasted pork shoulder, begin by using a paper towel to pat the meat dry. Next, cut several deep slits all over the pork shoulder.
Crush the garlic, salt, and peppercorns together. Use your hands to cover the pork with the garlic paste, including the slits. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some sprigs of fresh thyme.
Roast the pork at 450ºF for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 280°F for 3 to 4 hours. This will lock in the moisture and create a crispy, caramelized skin.
The pork roast is done when the internal temperature reads 165ºF. Slice the finished roast to serve with hearty sides or continue roasting to make pulled pork.
Can pork shoulder be used for pulled pork?
Yes! This slow roasted pork shoulder makes the most wonderful pulled pork. To turn your roast into pulled pork, simply:
- Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches between 180°F to 190ºF.
- First slice the pork, then shred the slices using two forks.
- Finally, transfer the pulled pork to a sheet pan, drizzle it with some barbeque sauce, and broil it for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Garnish it with fresh parsley, use it in sandwiches, in chili, or put it in a taco with fresh slaw!
Tips to cook the best pork shoulder
- Choose your cut of meat carefully. For the juiciest, most flavorful roasted pork, choose a cut that’s red or pink with plenty of marbling.
- You can trim some of the fat if you want. Fat adds lots of great flavor and moisture to the meat but it isn’t necessary for a delicious pork shoulder.
- Roasted pork shoulder is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165ºF. The meat will be tender and juicy but won’t shred as easily.
- Pulled pork needs to register between 180ºF to 190ºF internally. Giving it this extra time in the oven makes the meat extra tender and easier to shred.
- It’s ok if your pork is a little pink! Similar to cuts of beef, pork may still look a bit pink inside even if it has reached the desired internal temperature.
- Don’t stress about bone-in or boneless. Either variety works in this recipe. If you do pick up a bone-in pork shoulder, cook it with the fat side down for the crispiest possible crust.
What to serve with roast pork shoulder
Slow roasted pork shoulder is a rich, delicious, and comforting cut of meat that pairs well with any of your classic Sunday dinner sides. I particularly love serving it next to crispy roasted potatoes, roasted garlic vegetable salad, green beans, and sweet potatoes.
Alternatively, if you’re using this cooking method to create tangy and sweet barbeque pulled pork, I recommend serving it alongside some of my more summery side dishes. My grilled potato salad with sweet mustard dressing, sea salt sweet potato steak fries, cantaloupe peach salad, and tropical summer fruit salad all pair very nicely.
Looking for more hearty and delicious roasts to try?
- Classic Pot Roast
- Perfect Roast Chicken
- Eye of Round Roast with Gravy
- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Peppercorn or ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- fresh thyme
(Optional) Pulled Pork
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- fresh parsley
- Pat dry pork shoulder to remove all moisture. Trim some of the fat if you like (though the fat will add flavor and moisture to the meat). Using a chef's knife or sharp pointy knife make several slits (small cuts) about 1 - 2 inches deep, all around the meat. Set aside
- Using a mortar and pestle add cloves of garlic and beat until paste-like. Add salt and peppercorn and continue to beat until you have a garlichy paste-like seasoning. If you don't own a mortar and pestle you can use a food processor.
- Spread garlic paste evenly all over the pork using your fingers. Be sure to push the seasoning into the small cuts.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar on to the pork and top with fresh thyme.
- Bake at 450F degrees for 25 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 280F degrees and roast the pork for about 3-4 hours depending on the size of the pork. The internal temperature of the thickness part of the pork should register 180F - 190F degrees for pulled pork*. Reserve pork juices if making pulled pork.
(Optional) Pulled Pork Recipe
- First slice the pork, then using two large (serving)forks pull the meat apart. This should be very easy since the meat is so tender.
- Transfer pulled pork to a sheet pan. Pour half cup of pork juices over the pulled pork and also about ¾ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. Toss to coat evenly.
- Broil for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!