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20 Pork Shoulder Recipes That Will Make Your Mouth Water

There’s something magical about this versatile cut.

<p>Victor Protasio</p>

Victor Protasio

When it comes to cooking pork, pork tenderloin may be a more popular choice, but pork shoulder is worthy of your love and attention as well. The cut, which comes from the narrower, triangle-shaped end of the pig's shoulder, is relatively inexpensive. Also known as picnic roast or picnic shoulder, pork shoulder is a tougher cut, which means it requires (and benefits from) a low and slow cook. In other words, you can totally dust off your slow cooker. And since pork shoulder is at its best when it’s cooked for a longer period of time at a lower temperature, it’s ideal for dishes like chili, pulled pork, stew, and a hearty pork roast. Ready to experiment with pork shoulder? Keep reading for a roundup of worthwhile pork shoulder recipes, such as Mississippi Pork Roast Rice Bowls and Pork Tacos With Orange Slaw. Yum!

Related: 10 Common Pork Cuts and How to Use Them: An Illustrated Guide

Hearty and Flavorful Pork and Kabocha Squash Curry

<p>CHRISTOPHER TESTANI</p>

CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

Curry typically calls for at least a dozen ingredients, but you can whip up this hearty meal using just 10, including a few you likely already have on hand. However, it’s best to get the pork shoulder and kabocha squash a day or two in advance. While this dish has a mild kick thanks to yellow curry powder, you can take the spice level up a few notches by using Madras curry powder instead.

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Slow-Cooker Mississippi Pork Roast Rice Bowls

<p>Fred Hardy</p>

Fred Hardy

In this set-it-and-forget-it recipe, a boneless pork shoulder cooks with shallots, beef broth, and butter, while pepperoncini and a packet of ranch dressing mix deliver some serious flavor. The roast is served in bowls with rice, shredded romaine lettuce, and cilantro for an easy meal that’s great for a group.

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Ginger-Coconut Pork With Butternut Squash

Victor Protasio
Victor Protasio

Believe it or not, this flavorful recipe consists of just two steps. First, you’ll pop the pork shoulder and butternut squash in a slow cooker alongside onion, coconut water, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, after a five-hour cooking time, you’ll drain the pork and squash mixture, shred the pork, and serve it over cooked rice. If you want even more flavor, garnish with scallions and Fresno chile slices.

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Cuban Pork Tacos With Orange Slaw

Caitlin Bensel
Caitlin Bensel

Tacos are an easy weeknight staple, and this recipe utilizes the slow cooker by calling on it to cook the pork. The meat, which is flavored with orange juice, lemon juice, and cilantro, cooks in the appliance before getting shredded and broiled. The only thing you need to do is prepare the orange slaw, which pairs well with the rich meat and includes juicy orange segments, green cabbage, and a dash of zesty white wine vinegar.

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Tomato-Braised Pork

Alison Miksch
Alison Miksch

Pork shoulder is the tastiest when it’s cooked over low heat for a long period of time. Here, the meat is braised for hours until it morphs into tangy, tender shreds, which you can then pile onto a toasted roll and enjoy. The meat is flavored with plenty of ketchup and red wine vinegar, which makes it ideal for a barbecue.

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Slow-Cooker Pork With Peppers and Olives

Greg DuPree
Greg DuPree

Cuban ropa vieja meets irresistibly tender pork shoulder in this easy slow-cooker recipe that calls for just 20 minutes of your time. The dish also includes a tomato-y bell pepper and onion sauce, along with pimiento-stuffed olives, and generous amounts of oregano, cumin, and garlic. The result is a deeply satisfying and flavorful meal that you can ​​serve with black beans and white rice to soak up every last bit of the delicious sauce.

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Slow Cooker Chinese Pork Shoulder

Jonny Valiant
Jonny Valiant

The secret to this tasty pork shoulder recipe is Chinese five-spice powder, which is a combination of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seed, and Szechuan peppercorns. Serve the tender meat over white rice and sprinkle it with scallions for an extra flavorful touch.

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Slow-Cooker Open-Face Pulled-Pork Sandwiches With Tangy Broccoli Slaw

Marcus Nilsson
Marcus Nilsson

Pork shoulder is often used to make pulled pork. Here, the backyard BBQ favorite is coated with a mixture of tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and Cajun seasoning, and served alongside a perfectly tangy broccoli slaw. Pile the pork on thick, toasted sandwich bread for maximum enjoyment.

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Easy Coca-Cola Carnitas

Jennifer Causey
Jennifer Causey

Carnitas is a Mexican pork dish that has been braised or simmered. In this recipe, pork shoulder is tenderized with some help from Coca-Cola, and flavored with spices such as chili powder, cumin, and oregano for balance. Once the pork is done cooking in the slow cooker, you’ll transfer it to a saucepan and simmer until the liquid reduces and coats the meat. Serve the pork in warm tortillas with avocado, lime wedges, pico de gallo, pickled red onions, and more.

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Related: 20 Scrumptious Quesadillas That Are Calling Your Name

Slow-Cooker Pork Ditalini Stew

Gentl & Hyers
Gentl & Hyers

Pork shoulder—the star of this stew—thrives in the slow cooker and gets incredibly tender after being cooked low and slow. This cozy soup also includes baby spinach, bite-size ditalini, and a rich tomato broth. Top each bowl off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving to tie everything together.

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Slow-Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Greg DuPree
Greg DuPree

For this satisfying recipe, briny pork shoulder, salty ham, tangy pickles, and bright mustard fill crusty bread. Your slow cooker cooks the meat, which is flavored with orange zest, orange juice, and stock. This gives you plenty of time to get all of the other sandwich components together. Serve each sandwich with an ice-cold beer and a side of baked chips for a fast and delicious dinner.

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Sandwiches With Crunchy Coleslaw

Romulo Yanes
Romulo Yanes

If you don’t feel like firing up the grill for your next BBQ, just make these barbecue pork sandwiches instead. In this recipe, pork shoulder flavored with brown sugar, chili powder, vinegar, and more cooks until it’s tender enough to shred with a fork. The coleslaw served alongside provides the perfect crisp and creamy balance, while the sandwich rolls hold everything together.

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Crockpot Pulled-Pork Tacos

Kan Kanbayashi
Kan Kanbayashi

Put your Crockpot to work and whip up these pulled-pork tacos. The pork shoulder cooks for hours with a combination of salsa, chili powder, oregano, and cocoa, yielding tender meat that's destined to be tucked into a warm tortilla. Top each one with cilantro, sour cream, and extra salsa, and you’re good to go.

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Thai-Inspired Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Feast

Feed a crowd with this Thai-inspired feast that centers around bone-in pork shoulder. The meat is cooked on a low heat in the oven to start, but finished under high heat to rapidly crisp up the skin. For the full feast experience, serve the succulent pork shoulder with lettuce, an array of Thai herbs, fried shallots, and plenty of Thai sticky rice.

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Pork Steaks with Pickled Peppers

<p>Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Shell Royster</p>

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

This pork steak recipe uses meat from the pork shoulder instead of the rib. That meat is then brined in salt and pepper for several hours and served with pickled peppers in a bright, tangy, and sweet sauce. To complete the meal, serve the pork with a side of roasted potatoes.

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Jamaican Oven Jerk Pork Shoulder

<p>The Spruce </p>

The Spruce

Pork shoulder can handle plenty of flavor, which is why this recipe shines. Here, the pork is heavily flavored with a spice mix and oven-cooked until tender, and coated in a delicious blackened crust. The bold spice mix isn’t for the faint of heart, as it includes several Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice berries, ground cinnamon, and more.

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Pork Ragù

<p>Jennifer Perillo </p>

Jennifer Perillo

Pork shoulder is the backbone of this comforting, satiating pork ragù. In this hearty meat sauce you’ll also find whole peeled tomatoes, plenty of red wine, aromatics, and the ​​Italian culinary holy trinity of onions, celery, and carrots. Use this ragù to top cooked pasta, and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an umami boost.

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Braised Stuffed Pork Shoulder

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

This recipe calls for a pork shoulder roast, which is stuffed with a delicious combination of breadcrumbs, garlic, and herbs, such as dried rosemary and parsley. The meat is then braised in white wine with garlic, rosemary, and even more herbs until wonderfully tender. Serve this cozy main dish with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

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Related: How to Make a Marinade For Lamb Chops That Nails It Every Time

Crispy Pork Shoulder Hash With Charred Asparagus and Serrano Chile

Yes, you can make a hash with pork shoulder, and yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. For the tastiest hash we recommend cooking all of the ingredients—potatoes, pork shoulder, and vegetables—separately. It takes a bit more time, but it helps ensure that each component of the dish is perfectly cooked, resulting in a drool-worthy final product.

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Pernil Asado (Garlicky Roast Pork Shoulder)

<p>Cara Cormack</p>

Cara Cormack

For those who may not know, pernil asado is a Puerto Rican-style roasted pork shoulder. This version marinates overnight in a blend of citrus juices, garlic, and herbs, and then cooks slowly in the oven until it's deeply caramelized. Once the meat is done cooking, go ahead and carve or shred it and serve. You won’t be disappointed!

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