Preparing a perfect pork shoulder blade roast, sometimes called the "Boston butt," requires intelligent use of well-established cooking techniques. The roast is tenderest and juiciest when it's slow-roasted at low temperatures, but has its best flavor when the surfaces are browned rapidly at high temperatures. The solution is to brown it at the beginning of your cooking time, then finish your blade roast in a low-temperature oven.
Things You'll Need
- Paper towels
- Large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven
- Salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste
- Roasting pan
- Instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer
- Cutting board
- Aluminum foil
Pat the roast dry with clean paper towels, and wipe the cut ends of the bone to remove any fragments left by the butcher's saw. Trim away any excess fat, leaving at least 1/4 inch on the outside of the roast to protect it from drying in the oven.
Heat a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Place the pork roast in the pan, fat side down, and sear it until it's well-browned. Turn the roast from side to side until all of its surfaces are well seared and deeply golden.
Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper, and any other spices or seasoning mixtures you wish. Transfer it to the rack of your roasting pan.
Slow-roast the pork at 275 degrees Fahrenheit until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F when tested with an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size of your roast.
Transfer the roast to a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Tips & Warnings
- For easier carving, slide a boning knife along the blade bone to cut it away from the roast. Grip the large end of the bone with a clean kitchen towel and pull it out of the roast.
- For pulled pork or shredded pork, continue cooking the blade roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 F to 200 F. At that temperature the pork is fork-tender and can easily be shredded for sandwiches, tacos and other uses.
- Some cooks prefer to brown the roast by starting it at a temperature of 450 F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature for the balance of the cooking time. This also works well, though the finished roast will not be quite as tender.
- On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen; Harold McGee
- Pork -- Be Inspired: Pork Shoulder
- Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images