Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder – And by “Braised,” We Probably Mean Stewed

If you watched our recent spaetzle video, you saw me serve up a nice hunk of cider braised pork shoulder, during which I wondered out loud if we’d done that video yet. Turns out that we hadn’t, so as promised, here you go.

As the title may indicate, this isn’t technically a braised dish, since the meat is pretty much covered with cooking liquid, but whenever I have to choose between alliteration, and accuracy, I predominantly pick the former.

I kept things very simple here, so feel free to add extras like carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and other fall veggies, if you like. There’s really no way to screw up a dish like this. Unless, of course, you stop cooking it before it’s done. I’ll never understand recipe reviewers complaining that the meat in a dish like this, never got tender.

Tough meat always gets tender, if you cook it long enough. Always. The problem is, people go by the times given, which may or may not be long enough. No matter what a recipe says, always continue cooking until it’s fork tender, and can be easily broken apart.  So, with that in mind, whether you’re topping spaetzle or not, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for four portions:
3 to 3 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut in 3 to 4-inch chunks
Enough Kosher salt to season pork generously
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly torn sage leaves
1 bottle (750 mil) hard cider, or regular cider, or apple juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup crème fraiche, or heavy cream
pinch cayenne
crème fraiche and chives to garnish

37 comments:

Kevin Tjipto said...

If I do not have hard cider or apple cider on hand, can I substitute it with a mixture of half apple juice and half white wine or red wine? Or is it better to just use apple juice and increase the amount of apple cider vinegar to balance the sweetness?

Nick said...

Chef John, what substitution can I make if I can't use dairy? Is there anything else I can use other than crème fraiche or sour cream? Can I get away with not including either?

Greek S said...

Looks great! Can't wait to make this. Is there a certain internal temperature to aim for for optimum pork texture? Thanks!

Bethany said...

Do you think this recipe would suffer too much if I used my slow cooker?

Jessica Barcomb said...

Yes, please on the squash demonstration:)

Mary W said...

Going to the store tonight - this looks so good!

Kennapop3 said...

I wish you would show us how to use beef tongue.

Donna Walker said...

YUM!!

Mike Rempel said...

Would you recommend a pressure cooker to cut on time?

Mike Rempel said...

Would you reccomend using a pressure cooker to cut on time?

Raymond Keeler said...

glad you're all healed up after the wisdom tooth situation!!

TheLastKaldowski said...

What's the garnish? Rehydrated dried apple slices?

00101 said...

I would say that if you're looking for much body in the sauce you need to start with quite a bit more liquid. Also his one bottle is more like 2 12oz bottles/cans, something to definitely keep in mind. All that said this was pretty damn tasty.

Adam Brown said...

Chef John, big fan here! And first time commenting. When I have slow cooked meats for shredding, I remove it from the braising liquid and immediately shred the meat hot however during that process, I will lightly spoon the braising liquid over the meat and it always turns out flavorful and juicy once served. Is that at all similar to what happens to meats when rested?

Mer said...

Be still my beating heart, Chef John. This looks autumnal delicious and will be on this weekends menu. Thank you for this, and for the spaetzle recipe too. Very much looking forward to the delicata squash recipe next.

Matthew Culler said...

hello wonderful food blogger and vlogger. I love your stuff. How would you alter this dish to make it dairy-free? Just not add the cream? or sub something for it? Thx

Phil Maine said...

Looks great, but am I missing the step-by-step instructions somewhere?

Aidann said...

I made this last night. It really was to die for! So good. Great recipe

dalila hernandez said...

Could you please tell me what type of cider did you use? I am a little confused, the only ones that I found are similar to a beer bottle, I couldn't find any 750 ml bottle...Can I use that type?

Nancy Wisseman said...

Will this be on allrecipes.com? I couldn't find it there. I really like the ability to print the recipe out. Love your videos and explanations. Thanks..

Vancouverite said...

My food wish is a savoury puff pastry appetizer. I keep making your sausage rolls for my guy, as he LOVES them. Unfortunately I have never been a huge fan of sausage rolls, so I would love a little puff pastry appetizer I could make at the same time for myself!

Eric & Michele said...

This was incredibly delicious. Made this pork along with the spaetzle. Your recipes never disappoint!! "And as always", love your sense of humor.... that doesn't rhyme or sound very sing songy, but, I do mean it!!

Mike Morse said...

I just made this with Spätzle. Yum. Fork tender pork, Spätzleis perfect. Thank you. I would post my Octoberfest meal but I can’t add a photo

Mike Morse said...

What an amazing way to start OctoberFest. The family loved it with the Spaetzle. Yum. My wife said it was one of her favorite meals.

Thank you Chef John

Mike

PennyKay said...

Trying this on Wednesday. Can't wait to pair it with the spaetzle.

Dolly Sundstrom said...

This was delicious, and so easy to make. As in: "so easy" I felt kind of guilty serving it to company that night.

Changes:

I didn't salt the meat ahead of time because my ceramic pan doesn't brown that well. It was fine salted later.

I left the meat and sauce to simmer in my crock pot 6 hours. It was almost tender enough when we got back, so I drained most of the sauce to reduce on the stovetop and kept the meat cooking another hour. Even though I totally forgot the creme fraiche/sour cream it was still delightful. (Must try next time...)

I served the sticky, succulent pork over polenta with a side of roasted fall vegetables (beets, carrot, onion; had no squash.)

Jeff Wilson said...

Chef John,

I saw this post last week and the thought of cider-braising pork shoulder really got my fall juices flowing. This week it started getting a little cooler so I tried it out yesterday and was really pleased with the result!

The only glitch was finding a boneless pork shoulder at my local Ralph's. I had to settle for an 8.3 pound bone-in shoulder, resulting in some raised eyebrows from my better half. She indulged in some speculation about just how long it was going to take me to use it all up. I ended up portioning it into chunks and freezing about five pounds of them.

Luckily, this was good enough that I'll likely be making it again, plus I think the pork shoulder will make good chili. Yeah, that should work... ;-)

Anyway, I've come to depend on your blog for no-fail recipes and techniques. Just wanted to let you know you are heard out here!

Oh, and I also picked up a Delicata squash. Time to expand my horizons!

Thanks,
Jeff Wilson

dandelion said...

This braised pork looks delicious. On my list to try for sure.

I do have a food wish though. My sister used to make an Italian Beef Stew served over a rich soft polenta for her Italian husband. She claims she hasn’t made it in so long she forgets how. Her mother in law passed years ago so the recipe is lost. Do you have anything like that in your vast repertoire? THX chef

Matt Wernecke said...

This is a great recipe.
I would make a few changes, but what a great presentation! Thanks!

Sherri said...

I love your recipes but I really wish the steps would be included. It is not usually practical to watch the video while I am making the recipe.

Greg Miranda said...

Chef John: this dish was absolutely fantastic! It was the best part of an already great day.

I made it with the Spaetzle, and unlike everyone else on that thread I don't care how you say or spell it, it could not have been more enjoyable.

Bravo and thanks for the amazing dinner!

Thomas Bernecky said...

looks great, when should I add the aforementioned possible vegetables?

R M Denney said...

You mentioned subbing heavy cream for creme fraiche. Can you substitute sour cream also?

Pat Doughty said...

I just made this,and it is amazing. I forgot the creme fresh,but it was still amazing.

John Muir said...

If you've got an electric stove top like me, braising can be difficult because the heat isn't constant. Try the oven at 250

Danny Shepherd said...

I'm making this for a party tonight (making it with Angry Orchard and sour cream, because I'm plebian), serving it with roasted butternut squash and rice. My kitchen smells amazing, and soon this smell will spread far and wide, and somewhere someone will ask, "Woah, did it just turn Fall?," and his friend will answer, wistfully, "Yeah, you can smell it on the air."

Unknown said...

This was amazing! I followed everything except I used regular apple cider instead of hard cider because I enjoy drinking hard cider too much to use it for cooking. I didn’t get as nice of a dark color in my sauce as chef John but that was probably due to my lackluster browning of the meat since I’m constantly afraid of over cooking. Tasted wonderful and the pork was perfectly tender per my preference after about 2 and 1/2 hours. Thanks Chef John!