To brine or not to brine? That was a question I have had stored in my "something to try" file for many years. I thought that one day I would take two identical pieces of pork and brine one and not the other. Cook them both the same way and answer that question. Every November I start thinking about brining. Will this be the year I brine a turkey? And every year I decide that next year will be the year that I will brine it.
Last week Sharon told me that she was brining a pork shoulder and cooking it the next day in the crock pot. I waited patiently for two days...( which seemed like eternity and is exactly why I have never done this) and then I asked her how it was. She said it was really good, so of course, I had to try it. Woo Hoo! Was it ever good. My question has now been answered. Brine? *ALWAYS* it makes a huge difference.
The pork is brined overnight in a mixture of robust herbs, salt, brown sugar and water.
Dried thoroughly and wrapped in foil. You can roast it in the oven or in the crock pot for about 10 hours.
The result is tender, juicy, flavorful pork that can be pulled apart and used in a myriad of recipes. Sharon made BBQ pulled pork one night and carnitas style tacos another night. So did I, I'm such a copy cat. :)
SLOW ROASTED PORK SHOULDER WITH HERB RUB
6 Tablespoons mixed finely chopped robust herbs (like thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
7 LB pork shoulder
5 bay leaves
Mix together herbs, garlic, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sea salt and crushed peppercorns
Untie the pork if rolled. In a large bowl, thoroughly dissolve ½ cup salt and ½ cup brown sugar in 2 quarts of cold water. Add bay leaves and 2 tablespoons of herb mixture. Place pork in a container or strong sealable bag and add this brine to completely cover. Cover or seal well and chill for from 8 hours to overnight.
Remove the pork from the brine (discard the brine) and dry thoroughly. Cover with the remaining herb mixture, patting it in all over , then use kitchen twine to roll up pork and secure it tightly.
Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Prepare a triple layer of aluminum foil large enough to comfortably enclose the pork. Put the rolled pork on the foil, skin/fatty side up . Gather the foil, scrunching it over to form a loose but well-sealed parcel. Place in a roasting pan in the oven. Take the first check for the internal temperature after 8 hours. For very tender meat that can be sliced it should be 160 degrees and will probably take 10 hours. Check more often if needed. For a “pulled pork” consistency, the internal temperature should be 200 degrees and it will take about 12 hours.
Rest the meat 20 minutes before unwrapping completely.
Note: I used a 3 lb. shoulder roast using the same amount of ingredients with same results.
Additionally I used a crock pot and cooked on low for 10 hours and it resulted in 200 degrees for pulled pork.
Recipe from New York Times