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Ask your butcher for pork shoulder with an untrimmed fat cap (about 3/4 inch thick) for this recipe; the fat renders as the pork roasts, simultaneously getting crispy while basting the meat with its flavorful juices. The fennel cooks down into a rich and jammy condiment that complements every bite. Chef Timothy Wastell often makes this centerpiece roast for the harvest dinner at Big Table Farm, a winery in Gaston, Oregon.

October 2020


Credit: Erin Kunkel

Recipe Summary

9 hrs 45 mins
30 mins
10 to 12


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together salt, sugar, fennel, black peppercorns, and red pepper in a medium bowl until blended. Using a sharp knife, deeply score fat cap of pork in a ¾-inch diamond pattern, cutting through the fat but not into the meat. Rub pork shoulder with salt mixture, avoiding rubbing mixture into scored fat. Place pork shoulder on a rimmed baking sheet, scored side up. Loosely cover with plastic wrap; chill 24 hours. 

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a roasting pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Remove pork from refrigerator, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain any juices from bottom of baking sheet, and thoroughly pat pork dry. Brush off any excess salt mixture with a paper towel. Place pork, fat side up, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork, uncovered, in preheated oven 7 hours and 30 minutes. Scatter onions and fennel around pork, and, using tongs, toss in pork drippings. Roast at 300°F until a paring knife slides easily through meat and vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let pork rest 15 minutes before pulling apart with tongs or 2 forks.

Suggested Pairing

Generously fruity Pinot Noir: 2018 Big Table Farm Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir