Dr. Tina's Blog

Christmas Menu: Braised Pork Shoulder

I have been making braised pork shoulder for Christmas Day for over 20 years. I vary the recipes, but this is my all-time fave. It’s so simple to make, and everyone enjoys it. The leftovers are the best part as the shredded pork can be used in soups, tacos, or with a creamy polenta. I usually buy my pork products from Niman Ranch at the local Whole Foods, as the Farmers markets in my area are closed during the winter months.

  • 8 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder (8 pounds), skin on, room temperature
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 cups gluten-free ale–(My fave is Celia Saison by Ipswich Ale Brewing Co. so flavorful and orangy spicy)
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought organic low-sodium chicken stock

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Crisp pancetta in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, until fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  2. Add onions to Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Transfer to plate using slotted spoon.
  3. Score the fat on the pork. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add oil to Dutch oven, and sear pork, fat side down, until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip, and repeat.
  4. Add garlic and spices to pot. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add ale, stock, pancetta, and onions; bring to a simmer.

  6. Transfer to oven, and braise pork, covered, basting every hour, until meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours.

  7. Shred meat (just what you’re using) using 2 forks, and drizzle with warm skimmed jus.

    Serving suggestion: Pile shredded pork on plate alongside risotto. Drizzle with jus.