Thursday, 20 August 2015

Simple Asian Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

Ahhh, there's definitely nothing better than the taste of pork! Growing up in Malaysia, pork made its mark as one of the staple ingredients in our meals (for us Chinese mostly? Definitely non-halal lol). I would say that my favourite cut is pork belly *drools*

Since my relocation, my partner decided that instead of bumming around at home all day, he'd ask me to walk all the way to the grocery store (and for the much needed "exercise"). 

Walked over to the meat section, and I was just about to pick up some pork chops, but, I looked over to the other fridge and noticed pork shoulder picnic cuts for cheaper! Me, being greedy and somewhat a cheap-skate at times, want the best value for more meat. So, pork shoulder it was. 

I've prepared large slabs of pork belly in the past, but that chunk of meat is probably one of the thickest (heaviest, largest??) portion I've worked with, besides a whole chicken. 

Since I was walking home, I only bought a few other ingredients wholly unrelated to this pork dish. I realised this as soon as I got home - upon some of my research, if I wanted a tender pork dish, I have to have like either (a) twenty other ingredients which I do not have, (b) slow roast the shit out of the pork overnight, but I don't want an alarming electricity bill, or (c) pop it in a slow-cooker, again, which I do not possess. AHHHHH...

So, I thought to myself, why the heck not. Let's try slow-cooking it at a relatively low temperature and for longer. Turns out, it was a darn heck of a tender roast with awesome, awesome flavours. 

Job well done, Mesha. Job well done. *gloats*

Anyways, decided to keep a record for self-use or for anyone who happens to tumble upon this post. Keep in mind, when I mentioned "simple", its based wholly on a few staple ingredients I have in my pantry. Also, I have a convection oven.

Before I forget as well, I remember that I don't really do measurements either. Mostly a gut feeling.

Simple Asian Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe
Cooking time: 5 hours

1 pork shoulder (picnic)
4 cloves of garlic (peeled, half-pressed, & halved)
1 Brown Onion (sliced)
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Chinese 5-spice 
Black Pepper
White Pepper (the one I am currently using is a white-pepper salt mixture. If it's plain white pepper, add salt)

For the homemade teriyaki sauce 
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin 
2 tsp white sugar 


1. Leave the pork out on a bench until room temperature (or slightly cold to touch if needed).
2. Preheat oven to 250F / 120C. ("Roast" setting)

3. With the pork, create little garlic "pockets", by making a deep slits in the pork. Depending on how big your piece is, you can try and evenly make slits. (I only made 5 slits, so the remaining garlic halves was stuffed into the slits which I had over cut). Stuff garlic halves into slits.

4. The first layer of dry rub is the 5-spice. Evenly, but thinly coat the meat with this spice. It is a very strong spice, so depending on your preference, use more or less. (I coated mine with more!)

5. The second layer of rub is the white pepper, black pepper (*and salt). The best ratio is 2:1. More white pepper than black. *If you are using salt, evenly season it on the entire meat.

6. Drizzle top of meat with sesame oil

7. Put the well-seasoned meat onto a non-stick baking tray and transfer to the second rack of the oven for 4.5 hours.

8. After time has elapsed, take meat out, transfer to a plate and set aside. Re-set oven to 450F /232C

On the baking tray, take a teaspoon of rendered pork fat and put aside. (I put mine straight onto the frying pan).  You can either keep the rendered pork fat/oil for other recipes or discard.

9. With the onions, layer it on the tray, focusing the amounts mostly on the middle. Take the pork and put it on top of the onions. Pop it back into the oven, middle rack, for another 30 minutes.

10. With the kept rendered pork fat, (if you decided to keep it), transfer to frying pan. Heat stove to medium - medium low. Pour in wet ingredients and mix.

11. Once the sauce is hot enough, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Leave it simmering until reduced, which should take about 30 minutes as well. 

12. Remove tray from oven. Let the meat rest. Carve to desired thickness and serve with the homemade teriyaki sauce.

Boyfriend-approved. He even dared to say that it was the best meal I've conjured up in a while @#$%! 

The 5-spice, white & black pepper rub is one that I am very fond of; I've tried this with osso bucco, pork belly, etc., Also, the smell of the spices fills the room. Win-win

In summary, this was a success: the meat was oh-so very tender and moist (dare I say, almost falling apart), whilst still maintaining that thin spiced-crust which had formed, which also provided a lot of flavor. The garlic was so soft, it almost became like a natural garlic butter paste. Additionally, I loved the teriyaki sauce with it as it added sweetness and further flavour depth to this dish. 

Lastly, I find this awesome as I am technically kitchen-ware impaired as I have yet to buy myself a slow-cooker and do not have many other spices or ingredient on hand!

** No photos cause we devoured it for dinner. Leftovers in fridge **

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