Our 21 Best Pork Shoulder Recipes

Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

Whether you grill it, roast it, or braise it, tender pork shoulder can be transformed into all kinds of delicious meals. You can whip up pulled pork sandwiches for a summer barbecue or grilled pork skewers — in the chillier months, hearty Corsican bean soup studded with pork shoulder will hit the spot. If you're looking for a new favorite taco, we've got pork shoulder recipes for that, too. Here are some of our favorite ways to cook a pork shoulder.

01 of 21

Garlicky Roast Pork Shoulder

Garlicky Roast Pork Shoulder
© Con Poulos

Chef Jose Enrique's version of the Puerto Rican classic pernil asado is extra-flavorful because he marinates the pork in lime and orange juices, as well as plenty of garlic, before roasting until the meat is caramelized and crispy. It can be carved, shredded, or pulled into large pieces for serving.

02 of 21

Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes

Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes
© Christina Holmes

Legendary chef Jacques Pépin sears pork shoulder to make a terrific crust, then braises it slowly with stock, wine, chestnuts, and sweet potatoes until it's meltingly tender.

03 of 21

Philadelphia Roast Pork Sandwiches

Philadelphia Roast Pork and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

These sandwiches combine roasted pork with melty provolone cheese and broccoli rabe for a seriously satisfying bite. The vegetable's bitter, bright flavor balances the fattiness of the pork, which is incredibly tender and buttery with a flavorful crust. The provolone brings sharpness and helps keep the bottom of the roll from getting too soggy, and the mayo — which has a punch of acidity from pickled peperoncini and its brine — is the finishing touch. 

04 of 21

Frijoles con Puerco

Frijoles Con Puerco
Christopher Testani

Chef Jorge Guzman's Yucatecan-influenced black beans with pork get an extra depth of flavor from charred onion and garlic as well as dried epazote, a Mexican herb with notes of camphor, mint, and citrus.

05 of 21

Pork Braised in Milk

Pork Braised in Milk
Christopher Testani

Slow-cooking pork shoulder in milk creates succulent meat and a silky, caramelized sauce.

06 of 21

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder
© Robert Fisher

Chef Roy Choi slathers his pork shoulder with a powerful marinade of garlic, citrus, and herbs, then lets it sit overnight before roasting the meat until crispy. If you're using the roasted meat for sandwiches, Choi recommends refrigerating it first, which makes it easier to slice.

07 of 21

Pork and Apple Bedfordshire Clangers

Pork-and-Apple Bedfordshire Clangers
John Kernick

Sam Jacobson of the Stargazy bakeshop in Philadelphia delivers both sausage roll and fruit pie in these traditional spiced half-and-half pastries from eastern England. Fun fact: Bedfordshire residents are nicknamed "Clangers" after this sweet and savory specialty.

08 of 21

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Barbecue Sauce

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Barbecue Sauce
© Con Poulos

Roasted garlic seasons this pork shoulder, which slow-cooks until tender and deeply flavorful. Shred it and top with barbecue sauce, coleslaw, and a spicy habanero vinaigrette for the perfect sandwich.

09 of 21

Tatemado de Colima (Spicy Coconut Vinegar–Braised Pork)

Spicy Coconut Vinegar-Braised Pork
Victor Protasio

Tuba, a beverage made from the sap of the coconut palm tree, is commonly served in the muggy, tropical heat of Colima, Mexico's city of palms. Locals ferment tuba to make fruity coconut vinegar, which they use to braise pork. Enter the state's famous tatemado de Colima, which is so good that it just might dethrone your love for carnitas. The vinegar, chiles, and garlic cut through the richness of the pork for a super-tender result.

10 of 21

Mtsvadi (Grilled Pork Skewers with Pomegranate and Onions)

Mtsvadi (Grilled Pork Skewers with Pomegranate and Onions)
Cedric Angeles

These Georgian mtsvadi, or grilled meat skewers, are made from well-marbled pork shoulder tossed with raw onions and finished with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Leave the fat intact for sizzling, juicy meat with plenty of crispy bits. In Georgia, the skewers are often grilled over the embers of grape vines. They're traditionally served with tkemali, a fantastically sour plum sauce.

11 of 21

Soba Bukkake with Chashu Pork and Sesame Vinaigrette

Soba Bukkake with Chashu Pork and Sesame Vinaigrette
Greg DuPree

This recipe from 2019 F&W Best New Chef Mutsuko Soma features chilled soba noodles with just a splash of rich broth, called mentsuyu, in the bottom of the bowl. Topped with pork chashu and marinated eggs (steeped in the flavorful pork braising liquid), the dish comes together quickly using dried soba (with Soma's blessing; look for Shirakiku Hana Tororo Soba), and easily scales up for a crowd.

12 of 21

Porco à Alentejana (Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams)

Portugese Braised Pork and Clams
Greg DuPree

This simple braise is a mainstay along the coast of Portugal. With clams from the sea and pork from the nearby mountains, it speaks to the landscape and diet of Portugal. Its garlicky broth pairs well with crusty bread and dry Portuguese wine.

13 of 21

Corsican Bean Soup with Greens and Pork

Corsican Bean Soup Recipe
Greg DuPree

Full of hearty winter vegetables, this comforting soup is filling without being heavy. Dried beans are key to the satisfying richness of the broth; if you want to use canned beans to save time, stir them in at the end of cooking. Boneless pork shoulder or pork cheek would work well for this recipe.

14 of 21

Spicy Cumin-Braised Pork

Spicy Cumin-Braised Pork Recipe
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

Just a tablespoon of Onwuachi's Pepper Sauce brings plenty of heat, and tenderizing flavor, to this reverse-braised pork shoulder.

15 of 21

Schweinebraten (German Roast Pork Shoulder)

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

This classic German dish is all about the contrast between savory, fork-tender meat and a crispy, tender crust of pork crackling flavored with cumin, caraway, and mustard seeds. It's worth your time to seek out a boneless pork shoulder with a nice, even fat cap, which is key to the dish.

16 of 21

Babi Panggang Karo (North Sumatran Grilled Pork)

Babi Panggang Karo (North Sumatran Grilled Pork) and Sambal Andaliman
Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns / Prop Styling by Natasha Kolenko

Batak chef and adventurer Rahung Nasution shared this recipe for a fatty marinated pork dish beloved by the Batak tribes of North Sumatra, Indonesia. A simple but flavorful marinade of lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, and soy sauce holds up to high-heat grilling and helps the pork shoulder caramelize beautifully over the hot coals.

17 of 21

Crispy Pork Tacos with Red Chile Salsa

Winemakers Carnitas Tacos
David Malosh

These hearty tacos, piled high with braised pork and topped with a shower of thinly sliced cabbage and cilantro, are a love letter to the Mexican cooking traditions that shape California cuisine. Fried in pork fat after cooking low and slow, the pork gets extra crispy without being dry. Dried chiles bring a mild, sweet heat to the salsa; their slight bitterness cuts through rich, fatty pork.

18 of 21

Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Brunswick stew is a beloved comfort dish with roots in traditional Southern cuisine. Origin stories are murky because several regions throughout the South — all with name ties to Brunswick — claim to have made it first. The ingredients vary by region; this version from Marianne Williams uses pork shoulder, corn, potatoes, and lima beans.

19 of 21

Pork Steaks with Pickled Peppers

Pork Shoulder Chops with Pickled Peppers

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

These pork shoulder steaks are paired with a bright, tangy, and sweet pickled pepper sauce. The shoulder is less lean than a regular chop and more marbled, meaning you get a more rich, fatty flavor from the cut. At the butcher, you may find this roast under the name “picnic” roast. Buy a whole roast and slice it into steaks or ask your butcher to cut them for you. 

20 of 21

Cold Saimin Salad with Soy-Ginger Grilled Pork

Cold Saimin Salad with Soy Ginger Grilled Pork
Victor Protasio

This Hawaiian-style cold ramen noodle salad is topped with slices of mouthwatering savory, crispy pork shoulder, crunchy bean sprouts, tender ribbons of egg, shredded nori, and slices of Japanese pickled cucumber. A cooling dressing of dashi, rice wine vinegar, and sake brings it all together.

21 of 21

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

These Fried Boudin Balls boast pork, rice, liver, and seasonings that are shaped into balls and fried for a crispy exterior and a light, almost creamy interior. We use chicken livers instead of pork livers and panko breadcrumbs instead of crushed crackers, but swap in pork liver and crushed crackers if you prefer.  

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