Normally one of the most reasonably priced roasts in the meat case of any super market is a pork shoulder roast. This roast is cut from a pig’s front legs above the feet and up to the shoulders. The top part of this roast is called the Boston blade roast or Boston shoulder roast and below this cut is the picnic shoulder roast. Both of these roasts are good examples of how delicious and succulent a tougher piece of meat can be if cooked correctly.
A high priced roast like Prime Ribs of beef or a Chateaubriand can and should be cooked rare or medium rare as they are cut from the section of an animal that doesn’t get much movement and this is why they are so tender. However, a shoulder needs to be active to allow the animal to move, this muscle becomes strong and tougher and needs special skills to make it palatable. The key is slow, very slow and very long and moist cooking methods. In this case, a long time means at least six hours or more and the moist heat method means cooked in a slow cooker, braised or baked covered with foil to maintain the juices from its rendered fat. Depending on the style of cooking you chose, the meat can be seasoned with a dry rub made with some of the many herbs that complement it or brushed with a mixture of olive oil and Worcestershire sauce before being covered with foil or put into a braising liquid. Garlic cloves and fennel make a good bed on which to lay the roast for cooking. After the initial six hours cooking time, a bouquet of vegetables should be added to the pan and allowed to cook in the juices of the roast.
Some of the meat can be carved from this roast in the traditional way, the balance is difficult to do because of the way the bones are located. That is one reason why it should be cooked long enough to just pull the meat away from the bones. This meat is then called pulled pork, which makes a popular sandwich when barbecue sauce is added to the meat.
Like any pork roast, red cabbage, sauerkraut, baked apples, applesauce and caraway seeds enhance its flavor. Leftover meat can be used for pork pot pies or pork chow mein and even the bones can be used for a flavorful stock for split pea soup.
When plated with braised or baked vegetables, this roasts is an attractive meal to grace any table.