Braised Pork Shoulder Roast

Chef's notes:

The pork shoulder blade roast is a very tasty little bit of pork. It comes from the front/top shoulder of the pig. This area is sometimes referred to as the Boston butt. The cut in the picture below looks like a thick-cut pork shoulder blade steak, which I guess is basically what it is. My brother and I used to buy discounted shoulder steaks when we were super poor college students. It was a treat compared to the ramen noodles and generic mac we usually ate. Thank god I am not poor anymore.

This pork shoulder came from my brother’s farm near Pipestone, MN. My brother and his wife, like most sensible humans, love pork, but they were sickened by the way commercial farms raised pigs. So they decided they had to raise pigs themselves if they wanted to continue to eat pork. They live on a small farm, so for them raising their own food is an option.


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp Vindaloo curry
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup tomato juice

Pork Shoulder Braised in Vindaloo Curry, Garlic, Red Wine, Beef Stock, and Tomato Juice

  1. Pick up a pork shoulder roast. This may also be called a pork blade roast or pork shoulder blade roast, or some combination of that. The whole pork shoulder is quite large, too large for a braising pan, in fact. Pork shoulder, also called Boston butt, is often used for pulled pork. This cut here is the perfect size for a braising pan, which is steadily becoming my favorite way to cook meat, especially meat with a bone in it, like this shoulder blade roast here.
  2. Season the pork shoulder with salt, pepper, and curry powder. I know that I usually stick to simple flavors and that curry is a mixture of a several different spices. And I also know that I am always talking about how too many flavors disguise the flavor of the meat. This is all still very true, and it should be treated as a general rule. But curry is one of a few exceptions. The array of spices that make up a curry all complement each other. Essentially, curry is many different flavors that build on each other.
  3. Pan fry the pork shoulder until it's nice and dark. Heat up the braising pan on the stove with a tablespoon of oil in it. I usually begin heating up the pan on high, and then lower it to medium-high once the oil begins to smoke. The oil will smoke just a little bit at first. That’s when you want to put the meat in the pan. Fry the meat on all sides, including the narrow sides, until it is almost entirely dark brown. Then remove the roast to a plate to rest while you make the braising liquid. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Make the braising liquid for the pork shoulder. The most crucial part of the braising liquid, apart from using good liquid, is the extraordinary large amount of onion and garlic in this dish. Although to be fair the garlic cloves were quite small. But that often means they’re more potent. Fry the onions and garlic over medium heat in the braising pan until they get soft, about 6 minutes. Then add the liquid: 1 cup red wine, 2 cups beef broth, and 1 cup tomato juice.
  5. Put the braising pan into the oven for an hour. Add the pork shoulder back to the pan and put the lid on. Use aluminum foil if the lid doesn’t fit tightly. Put the braising pan into the 350 F oven, and set the timer for an hour. When the timer goes off, flip the pork shoulder over. Re-cover the pan and put it back in the oven for another hour. Remove again and check to see of the pork shoulder is fork tender. If not, braise in 30 minute intervals until it is. It should take at most four hours, and add more liquid if needed.

Tips & Tricks

  • In the city the pork my brother raised would be highly sought after. It is clean, humane, and healthy. And therefore it would come at a higher “dollar cost.” But how can you assign a dollar amount to doing the right thing? If you saw the way the pigs at large commercial factory farms lived, smelled, reproduced, and died, you wouldn’t touch that kind of pork ever again. Don’t the animals we eat deserve better? We all know that happy animals make better products. Don’t we deserve the best that we can get from our food? Make this vow with me:”If my food isn’t the best it can be, it’s not for me.”
  • Add any vegetables that you want to the braising liquid. Carrots, celery, and leeks are good.
  • For the braising liquid, make sure the wine is good enough that you will want to drink it because you only need a cup and there is much more than that in a bottle. Plus, you don’t want to cook with bad wine.
  • The curry that I used for this recipe is Vindaloo curry, which is a curry mixture that is often used in combination with pork.
  • When I say fork tender what I mean is that it falls apart when a fork is scraped or stabbed into it.
  • The sauce will be a great complement to the meat. I served my sauce under the meat. It makes for a nice presentation.