Oh my is this pork roast ever delicious! It's a recipe I saw being prepared on a PBS show called Cook's Country by America's Test Kitchen (from Cook's Illustrated Magazine). I knew immediately that I had to try it when Christopher Kimball declared it to be the best recipe Bridget Lancaster had ever developed.
Only one hitch to this recipe, you have to plan ahead because it takes 2 days to make**. Most of the cooking is actually done on day 1, then the roast rests in the fridge overnight, and finally the roast is sliced and briefly reheated on day 2. Great if you are expecting a large crowd and want to get a lot of the work done ahead of time.
**Technically speaking, you can serve this roast on day one, but it will shred apart when you try to carve it. The overnight stay in the fridge does something magical to the roast that enables you to carve the most beautiful slices.
Either way, I promise this recipe is worth every minute it takes to make!
Start with a 6 pound boneless Boston Butt (also known as a Pork Shoulder Butt). I could only find one with a bone (6.5 pounds before boning). Removing the bone was much easier than I thought it would be. Click here for directions and how-to photos.
Once you have your boneless roast, tie it well with cotton kitchen twine (I use this). The idea is to make the roast compact and give it a nice roast like shape (otherwise it's kind of flat and it has a hole from removing the bone). Place in a lightly oiled roasting pan - use a good quality, heavy-bottomed roasting pan, big enough to roast a turkey in (I love this one).
Time to cover with a rub made from a mix of herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mmmm, the smell is fabulous!!! Now it goes into a 300F oven for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, the roasting pan is removed from the oven and the onions are added. Toss them with the rendered fat from the pan. If there isn't enough fat in the pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss to coat. Now we go back into the oven for an additional 4 hours (still at 300F).
Yes, that's a total of 7 hours in the oven. This is a long, slow braise... resulting in the most tender pork imaginable (my hubby said it was as tender as prime rib - obviously it won't taste like prime rib, but you get the point).
Caution - make sure you have lots of yummy food prepared to feed your family while this is roasting because the smell is going to drive them bonkers all day long!
Here's what it will look like after 7 hours. Oh how I wish you could get a whiff - the onions are uber caramelized and the smell is utterly amazing!!
Remove the roast to a glass baking dish and allow it to cool before you wrap the dish well with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight.
By the way, removing a searing hot roast from a hot roasting pan can be difficult and dangerous so I like to use heavy duty turkey lifters (like these).
You want to reserve the onions and pan drippings separately in the fridge overnight too. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of drippings (maybe 1 1/4 after you remove the fat). Add water to the drippings if you don't have enough.
About an hour before you want to serve this yummy roast, preheat your oven to 300F, remove the twine from your roast and start slicing it into 1/4-inch slices. This took no time using an electric knife.
"Shingle" the slices in a large casserole dish. Pour about 1/2 cup of the reserved pan drippings over the slices and cover with foil. Reheat for about 45 minutes. CI suggested preparing a gravy from the leftover drippings (recipe below), but I preferred the pan drippings straight from the pan.
Season individual servings with salt and pepper and enjoy!
I served this roast with mashed potatoes and oven roasted Brussels sprouts.
Old Fashioned Pork Roast
Makes enough to feed 10-12 hungry guests
6 pound boneless Boston Butt (aka pork shoulder)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 large red onions, sliced into 1-inch thick wedges
Olive oil (for roasting pan and possibly needed to coat onions)
1/2 cup reserved pan drippings
One day before you plan to serve the roast:
Preheat oven to 300F.
Tie roast well with kitchen twine and place it in a lightly oiled roasting pan.
Rub roast with mix of herbs and garlic and place in roasting pan.
Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 3 hours.
Remove roast from pan and add onions; toss with pan drippings (if there isn't enough fat in the pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss onions to coat).
Place roast on top of onions and return to oven, uncovered, for an additional 4 hours (check pan every hour to be sure the pan drippings don't evaporate - add 2 cups of water if necessary).
Remove the roast from the roasting pan and place it in a glass baking dish and allow it to cool before you wrap the dish well with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight.
Reserve the onions and pan drippings separately in the fridge overnight too. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of drippings (maybe 1 1/4 after you remove the fat). Add water to the drippings if you don't have enough.
The day you plan to serve the roast:
About an hour before you want to serve this yummy roast, preheat your oven to 300F,
Remove the twine from the roast and slice into 1/4-inch slices.
"Shingle" the slices in a large casserole dish.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the reserved pan drippings over the slices, cover with foil, and place in preheated oven for 45 minutes (CI suggested preparing a gravy from the leftover drippings (recipe below), but I preferred the pan drippings straight from the pan).
Season individual servings with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Sauce from the pan drippings
makes approximately 1 cup
remaining pan drippings (fat removed)
reserved roasted onions
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple jelly
1 cup apple cider
Heat in a saucepan over med-high heat for 15-20 minutes until reduced and thickened.
Strain onions and serve.
Note: this sauce recipe has a vinegary flavor that I wasn't very fond of. I much preferred the pan drippings straight from the roasting pan, but I might have liked it without the vinegar.
I also think that this recipe would be just fine without the sage and rosemary, so if you're in a hurry, or don't want to pay $6 for fresh herbs, feel free to make it using only garlic, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!
recipe adapted from Cook's Country Cookbook