How To Cook Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder is one of the most flavorful and versatile cuts of pork. When cooked correctly, it can be incredibly tender and juicy, making it an ideal choice for a variety of dishes. From pulled pork sandwiches to roast pork, cooking pork shoulder comes with a few techniques that every home cook should know. In this article, we will explore how to cook pork shoulder in different ways and share some tips and tricks to make sure you get it right every time.

Preparing Your Pork Shoulder

Before we dive into the different cooking methods, it’s essential to understand how to prepare your pork shoulder correctly. The first step is to trim any excess fat, keeping in mind that some fat is essential to keep the meat juicy and tender during cooking. Then, you want to season it generously with salt and pepper or any other spice blend of your choice. A dry rub that includes garlic, paprika, chili powder, and brown sugar is an excellent choice for pork shoulder.

Once seasoned, you can let your pork shoulder rest for a few hours, or even overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. However, it’s not necessary, and you can cook it immediately.

Next, you need to decide which method of cooking you want to use. Below are four popular ways to cook pork shoulder.

Cooking Pork Shoulder in the Oven

Roasting pork shoulder in the oven is a classic method that results in delicious, flavorful meat. The key to oven-roasted pork shoulder is slow cooking at a low temperature, so the meat melts in your mouth. Here’s how to do it:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Place the pork shoulder on a rack in a roasting pan.

3. Cook for about two and a half hours or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

4. Take the pork shoulder out of the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving or pulling the meat from the bone.

Cooking Pork Shoulder in a Slow Cooker

Slow cooking in a crockpot or slow cooker is another popular way to cook pork shoulder, and it’s incredibly easy. The low and slow heat allows the meat to become tender and fall apart so that it’s perfect for pulled pork sandwiches.

1. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and season it.

2. Add any liquids or vegetables you want to cook with the pork shoulder, such as onions or garlic, and soy sauce or barbecue sauce for flavor.

3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

4. Shred the meat with a fork and enjoy!

Cooking Pork Shoulder on the Grill

Grilling is another excellent way to cook pork shoulder, especially during the summertime when you want to avoid turning on the oven. For this method, you’ll need to use indirect heat to cook the meat evenly. You can also add wood chips to the grill for smoky flavor.

1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

2. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides and move it to the cooler part of the grill.

3. Close the lid and cook the pork shoulder for about 2-3 hours, maintaining an internal temperature of 145-160°F.

4. Let the pork shoulder rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing or pulling the meat.

Cooking Pork Shoulder in a Pressure Cooker

Using a pressure cooker is a quick and easy way to cook pork shoulder. It allows you to achieve the same tender and juicy results as slow cooking, but in less time.

1. Season the pork shoulder and place it in the pressure cooker.

2. Add any liquids or vegetables you prefer and ensure that the liquid covers at least one-third of the meat.

3. Set the pressure cooker to high pressure and cook for 60-90 minutes.

4. Let the pressure release naturally before opening the pot and checking the internal temperature.


1. Can I cook pork shoulder from frozen?

No, it’s not recommended to cook pork shoulder from frozen, as it increases the cooking time and can result in uneven cooking and dry meat. It’s best to thaw your pork shoulder in the fridge overnight before cooking it.

2. How long does it take to cook a pork shoulder?

The cooking time for pork shoulder depends on the cooking method and the weight of the meat. A rule of thumb is to cook at a low temperature for a long time, allowing the meat to become tender and juicy. For oven roasting, plan for about 2.5 -3 hours at 325°F, while slow cooking may take up to 8-10 hours.

3. How do I know when my pork shoulder is cooked?

The most reliable way to know when your pork shoulder is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be at 145°F. However, you can also check for doneness by inserting a fork; if it comes out quickly and easily, the meat is cooked.

4. How do I store leftover pork shoulder?

Store leftover pork shoulder in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. Ensure it’s cooled down to room temperature before storing it in the fridge or freezer. Reheat the leftovers in the oven, microwave, or on the stovetop until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

In conclusion, pork shoulder is a delicious and versatile cut of meat that’s perfect for many dishes. By following the above guidelines, you can cook it correctly and achieve juicy, tender, and flavorful meat every time. So, whether you prefer oven-roasting, slow cooking, grilling, or using a pressure cooker, pork shoulder is a great option that’s easy to prepare and sure to satisfy your taste buds.

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