Pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat. It’s flavorful and inexpensive, and you’d be hard pressed to mess it up. You can cook it all day with little or no attention required, and it’s always delicious no matter the seasonings because of all the flavorful natural fat and juices rendered while cooking.
Pork is a rather sweet meat so it pairs well with autumn flavors like apple cider, onions and nutmeg, which I’ve used to braise many a shoulder roast. But today I decided to temper that natural sweetness and go for a spicy Chinese-inspired flavor family.
Please don’t be shocked by my use of Dijon mustard. I highly recommend the unmistakeable, blow-your-socks-off hot Chinese mustard, which I thought I had in my fridge when I decided to make this. Sadly it was nowhere to be found, so I used dijon, the next best thing. It’s good to be flexible in the kitchen, right?
I was a little apprehensive about the dijon, but the result was so delicious I decided to serve it up as a tasty alternative in this recipe. You can either make this in a crock pot or (like me) in the oven. The oven gives you the option of lightly browning the meat before turning it down to low for slow braising.
I use Kikkoman Soy Sauce because it’s naturally brewed, which means it was produced by the traditional fermentation process, which makes traditional soy products so good for you. Avoid all soy sauces (and tofu, for that matter) that don’t say “naturally brewed.”
You can find fresh chili paste in most grocery stores these days, usually on the Asian Foods isle. If not, Amazon has everything! Chili paste is very versatile and useful to have in your kitchen. Plus, it lasts forever.
1 bone-in (preferable) pork shoulder roast, 4-5lbs
1/4 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Fresh Chili Paste
1 Tbsp Chinese or dijon mustard
2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
salt (if needed)
Heat your oven to 400. Thickly slice the onions and use them to line the bottom of a heavy pot (mine is cast iron).
Mix the soy sauce, mustard and chili paste together and thickly coat the pork shoulder. Any extra sauce can be tipped in to the pot.
I haven’t included any cooking oil because the pork shoulder will render quite a lot of fat, but if you’d like to use a little to coat the bottom of your pot, I’d suggest a little cold-pressed peanut or coconut oil.
Set the pork shoulder on top of the onions and slide into the hot oven uncovered for 30 minutes to brown. After 30 minutes (or when it’s browned enough for your taste), cover with a fitted lid, turn the temperature down to 300 and leave for a couple hours.
The cooking time is pretty relaxed because it’s simply done when it’s pulling-apart tender. You can serve it with the obvious side of rice (cooked in bone broth for added nutrition), but I decided to roll a few sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and stick them in the oven for a couple hours alongside the roast. The sweet potatoes added that extra sweetness which accompanies pork so well and helped to balance the spicy chili sauce.
Pile your plate high then serve with my new favorite, affordable white wine, Cosmia Chardonnay from Sonoma County, CA (of course). It’s delicious and pairs well with pork… or beef… or chicken… or vegetables… Mmmmm…