Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Fennel and Orange

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

This pork shoulder recipe takes a lot of time in the oven, but little time from the cook. It’s a bit like pulled pork dressed up for company and is perfect for winter gatherings.–Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli

LC Some Love For Leftovers Note

We can’t imagine much, if any, of this supple, subtly aromatic pork roast being left over. But the authors note that, should this happen, you can warm whatever’s left of the recipe in covered dish. While you’re at it, wrap some tortillas in foil and toss ‘em in the oven as well. Then shred the pork and serve it with julienned green cabbage tossed with a quick sauce of sour cream thinned with a little orange juice and seasoned with ground cumin, coriander, and salt to taste. That’s what they suggest, anyways. We’re not going to argue.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 4 H, 55 M
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) roast, tied*
  • 1 large orange, preferably navel or other seedless variety
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 1 pound with stalks), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and then each half cut crosswise into 3 pieces

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • 2. Pat the pork roast dry. If your pork roast comes with a netting to hold it together, cut the netting off and tie the roast a couple times around with some kitchen twine. (There’s nothing worse than cutting off the netting after the roast is done and seeing the entire mouthwatering crust go with it.) Also, check your label to see if you have bought “enhanced” pork, which is injected with a salty brine. If so, cut the salt in the rub by half.
  • 3. Zest enough of the orange to yield 2 teaspoons finely grated zest, making sure to avoid the bitter white pith beneath. Cut the orange into 8 wedges, discarding any seeds.
  • 4. Finely grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add the salt, pepper, orange zest, and garlic and grind them together into a rough paste. Rub the paste all over the roast and place it in a roasting pan. Roast the pork for about 3 hours.
  • 5. Add the fennel and orange wedges to the pan, tossing to coat them in the juices, and roast for another 30 minutes. Turn the fennel and orange wedges and continue to roast the pork. After 4 to 4 1/2 hours total roasting time, the meat should be completely tender and shred easily when you pull it with a fork, the fennel should be soft and caramelized, and the orange wedges should also be caramelized.
  • 6. Let the roast sit for a few minutes before carving. Serve with the fennel and orange wedges.
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Testers Choice

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Testers Choice
Rachel Seow

Jan 19, 2011

I loved how fuss-free this dish was: pop the meat in the oven, ignore it for a few hours, and then when you take it out, it’s all gorgeously dark brown and crusty on the outside, and pink and juicy inside. The fresh flavors of the orange and fennel were perfect together with the pork — though I might add more fennel bulbs next time, simply because they were so delicious (caramelized, with a juicy crunch) and I wanted more.

Testers Choice
Juli Seaman

Jan 19, 2011

This dish was fantastic. I’m a big fan of pork shoulder/butt anyway, but this recipe will definitely be made again. I would not change a thing in the recipe — it came out perfectly!

Testers Choice
Amy Ragsdale

Jan 19, 2011

The dish was easy to make and the results were outstanding. A perfect counterpoint to the dreariness of inclement fall weather. We followed the recipe to the “T” but the orange slices never created the caramelized effect noted in the recipe.

Testers Choice
John Velek

Jan 19, 2011

This turned out great. I would not have thought of pairing fennel with pork but it was great. The orange was also nice. The pork did exactly what it said and just fell apart, was tender, moist, juicy, and tasty. I let the roast rest (tented under foil) for 15 minutes and it held the juices very well. My children said, “Daddy, this is really good. What is it ?” It was easy to make and excellent. I did need to wash the fennel bulb well, but it turned out much better than I expected. I served it with spaetzle and acorn squash.

Testers Choice
Germaine Stafford

Jan 19, 2011

Oh my, how I love dishes that cook themselves, dishes that you start hours in advance, then ignore until they’re ready. When I made the paste with the orange peel and fennel seeds, I was surprised by how much it reminded me of some Indian pastes I’ve used in the past — it must have been the fennel seeds smelling like fenugreek. The whole house smelled wonderful as the pork roasted and we were pretty hungry by the time we sat down to eat. The recipe turned out exactly as was written, the meat deliciously tender, the caramelized oranges and fennel providing the perfect foil to the pork. It actually smelled so good and had been so easy to cook that we were expecting to be let down by the taste, but it was a very well- balanced dish, the meat succulent, with enough juices to serve as an orangey, fennel-y sauce. (More Arabic than Indian at the end.) My guests were silent and fast-fingered, nods and glances silent approval of what was on their plates. We’ll be making this again. Very soon.

Comments
Comments
  1. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    This pork shoulder with fennel and orange looks amazing and must taste like heaven. I can’t wait to try this recipe with some wild hog.

  2. I found this incredibly easy to make, the hardest thing about it was just waiting all that time for it to cook because the smells wafting from the oven are far too tempting. I’m usually not a huge fan of pork and it’s definitely not my first choice on the menu when eating out, but the classic flavor combination of fennel and orange comes together with the pork belly and sweetens it in a hugely delectable way. This is well worth a try!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      So lovely to hear you like this as much as we do, Hayley. Many thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  3. Bijouxs says:

    Funny, I just featured my favorite Fennel and Garlic Roast Pork recipe. Incredible to use for sandwiches on Super Sunday. Can you ever have enough pork recipes? This one looks great too.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Yeah, Bijouxs, it’s funny how sometimes cravings for a particularly thing just sorta seems to get in the air and suddenly you find it everywhere. And nope, don’t think one can ever have too many pork recipes…

  4. Mel says:

    I’ve invited my colleagues over for dinner next week and i’m thinking of preparing this. Any ideas as to side dishes?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I think rice or couscous would be a natural, Mel. You could also do a nice mashed potato (we have a few on the site, whether you want something simple and lovely like Fork-Mashed Potatoes from David Tanis or an uber velvety puree that’s almost as much butter as it is root vegetable. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  5. Absolutely divine! Used a probe thermometer and baked the shoulder in the oven for 4.5 hours until 190 degrees. Followed the recipe to the “T” and it was delicious!!
    We tore into it and shredded it as soon as it was cool enough to touch. Shoving bits into our mouths and oohing and ahhing…once we could restrain ourselves from just standing at the counter and eating – we toasted some hawaiian sweet bread buns and piled the pork on w/ a little tangy BBQ sauce and some coleslaw with poppyseed dressing….oh my!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      “Oh my” is right, Lisa! You have me positively salivating thinking about that dinner. So glad that you enjoyed it.
      Beth

  6. Corey says:

    Sounds delish. Will be making this with wild boar.

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