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Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

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A spicy rub coats this slow-roasted pork shoulder giving it a rich, deep color and an incredible flavor.  The long, slow roasting process of several hours works its magic on this tough pork shoulder transforming it into pure tenderness.  Reserved drippings are the makings of a savory, smokey sauce and poured over the pork.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

This big, meaty, slow-roasted pork shoulder will feed a crowd of hungry guests. It is seriously easy to prepare with the oven doing most of the work.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Easy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

This huge chunk of spicy-rubbed pork roasted low and slow for several hours in a liquid made of chicken broth, cider vinegar and a store-bought smoky BBQ sauce.  All those flavors mingled together producing a rich, savory sauce.

The spicy rub is a made-from-scratch mix and we mixed up a double batch to store in a jar for another day. This savory rub is spicy, sweet and salty:

  • Ancho chili
  • ground coriander
  • smoked paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • brown sugar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

There are many excellent pork rubs in the grocery store which you could easily substitute for our mix.    

Is it a Pork Shoulder or a Pork Butt?

Boston butt is an American term that originated back in the colonial days. This was a cut of pork that the butchers in Boston specialized in. A butt was a large storage barrel and the butchers would pack the pork shoulder chunks in them for transport. Eventually, the cut acquired the term Boston butt.

You can buy a pork shoulder as a bone-in cut or a boneless cut which is sometimes tied with string.  Both cuts are from the front shoulder, upper and lower portions. If the selection has the bone left in then it is considered a Boston butt. 

The shoulder of the pig has a lot of tough connective tissue that needs a long, slow cooking process to tenderize. The result is a tasty, super-tender, flavorful roast that can be sliced, shredded or chopped. 

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Shredding the Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Serving Ideas for Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder:

One of the most popular uses of a slow-roasted pork shoulder is to make pulled pork sandwiches. The shredded pork also freezes well.  Just package it up into sealed portions and it is readily available for a quick meal.   Here are a few suggestions for shredded pork:

We sliced up part of that hunk of slow-roasted pork shoulder and served it with caramelized onions and grilled red and yellow peppers.  The rest of the pork was shredded and ready for more good eating.

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Grilled red and yellow pepper with caramelized onions.

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Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

A spicy rub coats this slow-roasted pork shoulder giving it a rich, deep color and an incredible flavor.  The long, slow roasting process of several hours works its magic on this tough pork shoulder transforming it into pure tenderness.  Reserved drippings are the makings of a savory, smokey sauce and are poured over the pork.
4.93 from 13 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 544kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


For the Spicy Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground Ancho chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

For The Pork Shoulder:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 5 to 7 pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


For the Spicy Rub:

  • Combine the brown sugar, salt, Ancho chili, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin and cayenne in a small dish. 

For the Pork Shoulder:

  • Brush olive oil over the surface of the pork shoulder, then sprinkle liberally with the spice rub, massaging it into any cracks and crevices. Allow the pork shoulder to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 275°F
  • Transfer the pork to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Add the chicken broth, apple cider vinegar and BBQ sauce. The liquid should reach to 2/3 up the sides of the pork. Do not cover the pork with liquid. 
  • Roast for 4 to 4-1/2 hours until a fork pierces easily and the bone appears to be loose. Remove from the oven, transfer the pork to a platter and let rest for ten minutes. Then, either slice and serve or, using 2 forks, shred the meat from the bone and place on another platter.
  • Spoon off as much of the accumulated fat from the fop of the cooking liquid and discard. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Allow to boil to reduce the liquid to 1/2 and to thicken up slightly. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl or pitcher.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce over the shredded pork and toss to moisten. Add additional sauce if needed.


  1. If time is not an issue, consider refrigerating the dry rubbed pork shoulder overnight before roasting for a more intense flavor.
  2. The pork shoulder can be sliced and served with side dishes, or shredded for a number of applications.
  3. A thicker sauce can be made by adding a slurry of cornstarch to the sauce.


Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 625mg | Sugar: 3.5g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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