It was around this time last year when I decided to splurge and prepare a huge seven-pound crown of pork for a holiday party hosted at a friend’s house. With the exception of a turkey, it was the largest (and most expensive) hunk of meat I have ever prepared. I was about as nervous to see what would happen as a nine-year-old boy passing a note to his first crush on the playground.
The end result was so moist and flavorful, my friends and I devoured it well before I could even think about photographing the beauty.
This year, I opted for a more economical slab of pork shoulder, with the bone in. The rub is the same mixture I used for the crown of pork, with a couple of minor tweaks to its preparation. Since a pork shoulder has a bit more fat, I found the meat to be even tenderer than a crown of pork. At only a fraction of the cost, this recipe is definitely a keeper.
- 1 ½ tsp. fennel seeds, toasted
- Rosemary leaves from 2 bushy sprigs
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. dry ground sage
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 Tbl. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. ground pepper
- 5 Tbl. olive oil
- 3-5 lbs. pork should with exterior fat intact
- To prepare the rub, place the fennel seeds, rosemary, garlic, sage, lemon zest salt and pepper into a small food processer. Pulse briefly to chop everything evenly. Add the olive oil, scraping down the sides. Pulse until the mixture forms a paste.
- Place the pork shoulder fat side up in a large roasting pan. Pat the top dry with paper towels. Score the fat in a crisscross pattern. Spread the rub across the top of the pork, and then rub the mixture into all sides. Cover the pan in foil and allow the pork to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the pork for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to roast for 2-3 hours. When the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, it’s ready.
- Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.