For my first ever recipe from my first ever joint from my first ever meat box, I went straight for the good stuff: the noble pork shoulder joint. With a joint quality this good, it was screaming out for a slow roasting. As part of the experiment, I also defrosted a rolled shoulder joint from Sainsbury’s that I had previously bought and whacked in the freezer. I decided to compare the difference between the two by roasting them side by side.
The question you should ask yourself when slow roasting pork is ‘how slow can you go?’ Because the slower and lower you go, the more tender the meat at the other end. I used this Jamie Oliver recipe as my guide. Jamie’s recipe calls for a 2 kg joint, but mine was 1.1 kg. So I did some guess work with the time and reduced the roasting time by an hour and a half to 4.5 hours – which as it turns out, was just right.
But first let’s have a photo break and admire the astounding beauty of this joint – all marbled with fat, and perfect for slow roasting.
The hardest bit was scoring the crackling – pig’s skin is much tougher than I thought it would be! A very sharp knife is required and it might be an idea to ask your supplier to pre-score the crackling for you. The Man was called in to do his bit, but let’s be honest, his effort wasn’t all that great ;-).
A good pork shoulder doesn’t need much seasoning – I just rubbed salt and pepper into the scored lines and all over the joint crevices. Then it was into the oven at 220C for 30 minutes, until the crackling had turned a caramel brown. And just look at the difference between organic piggy and control supermarket piggy already!
The joints were covered with a double layer of foil – when you do this make sure it covers everything snugly or you’ll get areas of overcooked meat at the side – and then it was back to the oven at 170C for 4 hours.
The result? Honestly speaking, it was some of the best pork and crackling I’ve ever had. The meat fell away from the joint in soft shreds as I had hoped, and the hearty flavour stood its own without the need for much seasoning. I served it up for Sunday lunch with some parsnips, carrots and whole garlic cloves, which happily roasted away, basted in pork fat underneath the joints. The joint was ample for four, and we didn’t touch supermarket piggy – oh no.
Next time I must try a larger joint slow roasted overnight!
A 1 kg pork shoulder joint from the Well Hung Meat Company costs £10.69, but is discounted when ordered in a meat box. The total cost of a meal for four was around £11.