Slow Roast Shoulder of Pork with Caramelised Apples
By Martin Kirrane
The shoulder of pork has become a popular cut in recent years, and it's a fantastic flavoursome joint when cooked slowly, the slower the better preferably. Whether you cook it on the bone or boned and rolled is a matter of preference, some prefer the flavour cooking on the bone cooking provides, some prefer the ease of carving the boneless joint. Either way, the additional fat that the shoulder carries, helps keep the pork from drying out, and gives it that recognisable rich moist flavour.
If you want crackling, we recommend that you pre-heat the oven to the hottest setting, rub some olive oil, salt and pepper into the scored skin and roast the joint in the middle of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You will see the crackling browning and bubbling nicely, just be careful not to let it start burning (unless you like it that way of course!). I like it when the edges are just starting to blacken, it normally means the rest of the skin if ready. Once you’re happy with the crackling, turn the oven down to at least 150°C and leave for approximately 40 minutes per lb or 500grams. You can alter this to an hour per lb or 500grams if you reduce the temperature to 120–130°C. We can always help with the exact cooking times depending on the size of your joint, when you are in the shop.
If you want to go nuts and try the slow cook method, do the crackling the same but then open the oven door and allow the heat to escape. Then close the door and set the oven to 70-75°C. You can leave it then as you wont overcook it. half a shoulder will take about 3-4 hours to reach 70°C with a whole shoulder taking about 6-7 hours. My record is 27 hours for a piece weighing about 3kg, absolutely melt in the mouth!
Caramelised apples compliment this dish amazingly and are so easy to do. Simply peel and core a few braeburn apples, slice them into wedges, dip them into caster sugar (or normal sugar if you dont have caster) and gently simmer them in a knob of butter for about 15 minutes, until they are nice and sticky.
Also good with this meal are roast or mashed potatoes (or a little bit of both) and steamed broccoli, sugar snap peas, or sugar-glazed roasted carrots, if the apples don’t satisfy your sweet tooth. As always, if there's anything you're not sure about, please feel free to ask one of us for advice.