Best way to ensure porky goodness?
July 18, 2014 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I am planning to cook Hugh Fearfuller-Whittingstall's Donnie Brasco pork shoulder to be served tomorrow evening.

It calls for a bone-in, skin-on shoulder of 10-16 pounds. I wanted 12 pounds. When I went to my local butcher, I was told they didn't come that big, so instead I ordered two 6 pound shoulders. I now realize that the reason the butcher said so was that he wasn't accounting for the weight of the bone, and neither was I.

Following a short period at high heat to crisp things up, the recipe calls for cooking at 225F for 16-24 hours. But I'm concerned that this will dry out my meat since I'm using two smaller roasts. What would be a good amount of time? And suppose it finishes early, how can I best keep it warm before serving?
posted by gabrielsamoza to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Since there are 10 hours of flex between the possible times, basically around 30-40% of the cooking time, you can completely wing this.

The reheat instructions (About 45 minutes before you want to eat, whack up the heat to 230C/gas mark 8 again to crisp up the crackling) will be good for roasts that've been sitting in an (off, cooling) oven for a couple hours. You'll have sterilized everything outside the roasts from heating over the hours, so just turn off the oven when the meat's cooked like you want (I would start checking it at 12 hours) and then apply heat at full whack (I love that angloism) for the crisping period.

Also, it's a little vague as written, so let me add some clarity: I strongly suspect you're not going to need 45 minutes to crisp things. (Don't add any water in the reheat period either-- the time for steam has passed.) Rather, crisp for about 5-10 minutes, flip and crips again, and then get them out of the oven and tent it with foil. You can put your broiler on for crisping to really speed things up. Overcrisp in one spot? Add foil while in the oven to protect that spot while you continue crisping elsewhere.

Let it rest for 20-25 minutes, and then pull the pork.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:37 PM on July 18, 2014

Good news! Pork shoulder is remarkably forgiving. There's so much connective tissue and fat that you can cook the living hell out of that thing and be fine. Now, I usually cook 3-5 lb. half-shoulders (I'm only one man!), and I always end up having to cook them longer than I thought. The last one I did a few weeks ago was about 10-11 hours at 225-250 (ovens cycle, so at that many hours, it's hard to say what temperature it was actually cooking at). For a 6 lb shoulder, you should be fine with 16-20 hours.

Hopefully you have a thermometer. Look to cook it until it's 190 degrees interior.
posted by General Malaise at 3:52 PM on July 18, 2014

I've only cooked whole shoulders and only outside over charcoal, but it looks like that recipe is using close to the same 1.5 hours per pound rule of thumb that works for smoking them. (Depending on size and temperature, you see estimates from one to two hours per pound. This is not an exact science.)

If you are planning to pull the pork, go by internal temperature more than time anyway, but with a six pound piece I'll be surprised if you are done under ten hours at 225.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:08 PM on July 18, 2014

Thanks, all. Pork is cooking away quite nicely now.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 10:55 AM on July 19, 2014

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