Smoky, earthy, and a little bit sweet, this smoked pork shoulder may time-consuming to prepare but your efforts are rewarded by its rich layers of flavour.
serves 4 to 6
- 8 pounds boneless pork butt, butterflied open
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp ground juniper berries
- Salt and pepper
- 3 Spanish onions, thinly sliced (divided)
- 3 cups wood chips
- 1 cup Dijon mustard
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup fancy molasses
- 2 Tbsp caraway seeds, toasted and ground
You’ll need a smoker or charcoal barbecue for this recipe, and leave yourself enough time to start a full 29 hours before you plan to eat.
- Season the pork butt with the garlic and juniper, and salt and pepper. Layer half the onions in the bottom of a non-reactive pan, place the pork on top, and cover with the remaining onions, ensuring the pork is completely covered. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- To make the sweet mustard, mix together the mustard, honey, molasses, and caraway seeds in a small bowl until well combined, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Fill your hot smoker with the wood chips. Traditionally, this recipe is made with dried beechwood, but I’ve never seen it in North America. Applewood is one of my go-tos. Preheat the smoker to 250°F. If you don’t have a smoker, you can use a charcoal barbecue for this dish. Arrange the charcoal on one side of the grill and preheat the barbecue to 250°F. Soak 3 cups of wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes, then scatter them on the hot coals to create the smoke. Close the lid of the barbecue and adjust the air vents so the temperature inside remains around 250°F. Smoke for 5 to 6 hours, adding more wood chips every couple of hours and checking the temperature and the smoke periodically. (The pork will become too dark and bitter if the heat is too high.) Make sure you have enough charcoal to get you through the 6 hours. To do this, heat up more charcoal in your starter chimney before adding it to the kettle, or use a propane grill and a smokebox instead. Heat one side of the grill to 250°F and place the smokebox full of wood chips beneath it. Place the pork on the cooler side of the grill, with a drip pan underneath to catch any fat.
- Transfer the pork from the pan to a cutting board, leaving the top layer of onions on the meat. Roll up the shoulder like a pinwheel, enclosing the onions within the meat, then tie up the roast (page 27).
- Hot-smoke the pork until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 165°F, 4 to 5 hours.
- Remove the rolls from the smoker and wrap them first in aluminum foil and then in a towel so they retain their moisture as they cool.
- Once the rolls reach room temperature, unwrap them and slice them thinly. Arrange slices on individual plates. Place the bowl of sweet mustard where everyone can help themselves.
Cooking Meat: $40; penguinrandomhouse.ca
Excerpted from Cooking Meat: A Butcher’s Guide to Choosing, Buying, Cutting, Cooking, and Eating Meat by Peter Sanagan. Copyright © 2020 Peter Sanagan. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.