What Is Braised Pork Shoulder?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 06 May 2020
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A braised pork shoulder is a pork shoulder than has been first seared and then simmered in liquid. This searing then simmering process is known as braising. Various seasonings are often added to the simmering liquid, and seasonings are also placed on the meat itself. Although there are many different variations of this dish, the basic cooking process is the same.

Normally, just a portion of a pork shoulder is used since whole shoulders are often too large to fit properly in the braising or frying pan. A bone-in cut is usually recommended. The meat is often seasoned with salt and pepper, as well as other spices and herbs, such as curry powder and garlic.

The braising liquid is made from a combination of red or white wine and beef broth or chicken stock, and may also include other liquids, such as tomato juice. Alternatively, it can be made with a mild vinegar, such as cider vinegar, or water and spices. Onions are often included in the liquid and may be the only other ingredient or may be one of many flavorings. A multitude of spices can be added. For example, coriander and cumin seeds, bay leaves, garlic, and fresh ginger, as well as thyme and mustard seed, are just a handful of spices that could be used to flavor the liquid.

To prepare a braised pork shoulder, the meat is first seasoned with the chosen spices. The fat may also be scored and small pieces of garlic placed in the cuts. Then, the meat is browned. The braising liquid is made, usually by simply combining the ingredients over heat. Onions are generally cooked before being added and may even be caramelized.

Other vegetables may be cooked with the braised pork shoulder. They are included in the liquid once it is complete. Celery or leeks and carrots are popular choices. They may or may not be partially cooked before being added to the liquid.

The dish is then allowed to bake in the oven for approximately three hours. When removed, the braised pork shoulder should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork, and the liquid should be thick enough to use as a sauce. If the liquid is still too thin, it can be boiled and reduced. The shoulder is sliced and often served with the sauce as topping. For fancier presentations, the sauce can be drizzled over each plate, and a portion of the meat can then be placed on top.


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