When I heard that my local butcher had procured two local, pastured Berkshire hogs, all I could think about was getting my hands on a shoulder to braise. While braising is often associated with wintertime, there is no reason to limit its magic to the colder months. Why should we go half of the year without relying on one of the most simple, delicious, and high-yield cooking techniques?
This effortless pork shoulder is simmered in a sauce of spring onions, fresh squeezed OJ, coriander seeds, and a summery beer, and it will serve as a major component of several dinners at my house over the next few months.
We enjoyed it in all its naked glory tonight with baked sweet potatoes and a nice beet salad, and I plan to use another hunk in a simple fried rice dish with ginger and scallions later in the week. In addition, I mixed another nice chunk of the pork with some guajillo salsa and put together several tamales which I froze for a busy weeknight, and I am already envisioning tostadas heaped high with the delightfully citrusy meat and topped with pickled onions and crumbled cheese for an upcoming summer dinner party.
Four delightful meals from one nice hunk of shoulder? This dish is definitely worth making ASAP before it gets way too hot to turn on the oven.
Citrus and Beer Braised Pork Shoulder:
about 5# of pork shoulder (I used boneless, but bone-in has its benefits)
2 bunches spring onions, tender white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
juice and pulp of 2 oranges
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 summery beer (I used Spotted Cow). 12 oz. of dry white wine or cider are fine substitutes.
1 C. bone broth or boxed chicken broth
Preheat your grill over medium-high heat and your oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt all over the surface. When the grill is hot, brown the pork on all sides just to give it some nice color. 5 minutes per side should be ample. In the meantime, chop your onions and squeeze as much of the juice and pulp from your oranges as you can muster.
When the pork is nicely browned, transfer it to a heavy pot with a lid, fattiest side up, and place over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the onions, orange juice, beer, broth, and coriander seeds and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
Cook the pork for 4 hours total, checking on it once an hour to be sure the liquid is bubbling and to baste the shoulder with plenty of the simmering liquid. Alternatively, you can flip the pork over at each hour mark, but be careful if doing this, as splashing hot pork fat is a real sonofabitch.
After 4 hours, remove the pork from the oven, uncover, and allow to hang out for about 30 minutes. Pull off whatever hunk of pork you will be using that night along with a nice scoop of sauce, and then allow the rest to cool until safe to break into big chunks. Transfer to smaller containers along with all of the fat and liquid for cooling and eventually freezing, if desired.