Crispy Pineapple Pork Shoulder

This is one of my favorite recipes for both parties and for prepping food for the week. My wife and I recently had a son and making this dish is a great time saver that helps us stay social with baby Max. Most of the cooking is hands-off, the recipe is dead simple, and you prepare the sauce along with the main dish. The skin ends up perfectly crisp, while the meat stays tender and juicy. Plus all of the leftovers are perfect for revisiting and reinventing throughout the week.

Shabazi N.38 – Recipe by Christian Leue

Makes one roast

Ingredients

For the Pork

One 6-8 pound bone-in skin-on pork shoulder (ask your butcher if your grocery store doesn’t offer this normally)
Salt

Chunky Pineapple Sauce

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1 inch rings
1 tablespoon Shabazi N.38 blend, or to taste
Cider vinegar, to taste
Dark rum, to taste
Brown sugar, to taste
Soy sauce, to taste

Equipment

One 13 x 18″ sheet pan with wire rack
Aluminum foil (the 18″ wide heavy duty style is easiest)
Saucepot
Ice chest (optional)

Instructions

• Preheat your oven to 200°F.

• Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom of your baking pan to catch any drips, place the wire rack on top of this. If your rack isn’t a fairly small mesh place another sheet of aluminum foil on top of it to help keep the roast from sinking through as it cooks. Perforate this sheet all over with a fork so the juices can run through.

• Score the shoulder with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern, cutting through the skin but not all the way through the fat into to meat (this step is the key to this recipe, without scoring the skin the crisping process takes too long, resulting in less tender meat). Rub the roast all over with a light coating of salt and place, skin side up, in the center of the rack. Place the pineapple slices on foil sheets, sprinkle with Shabazi N.38, and wrap them tightly. Arrange these foil packets around the pork shoulder.

• Cook for about 8-9 hours (overnight is easiest). Wait until the pork has cooled for 30 minutes and carefully transfer it to a sheet of clean foil. Wrap tightly, then wrap in kitchen towels and let the roast come down to eating temperature (about 2 hours). Alternatively place the foil wrapped roast in a small ice chest and hold until dinnertime. Clean the rack you used in the sheet pan you’ll be using it again later.

• Drain the fat from the aluminum foil that you lined the sheet pan with and place the foil in a small saucepan, add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and scrape the foil gently to dissolve all of the pan drippings and make a thin broth. Carefully unwrap the pineapple, adding the juices to the pot, and slice the rings into small pieces. Reduce the broth by 1/3 then add the chopped pineapple to the pot along with cider vinegar, dark rum, brown sugar, and soy sauce to taste. Chill and hold until you are ready to serve the roast.

• Before serving: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place a fresh sheet of aluminum foil on your baking sheet and the rack on top of that. Place the roast skin side up in the center of the rack and cook until the skin is puffy and crispy (generally 20-25 minutes depending on your oven’s actual temperature). Check frequently to make sure the skin does not burn (a spot or two is fine). Reheat the sauce and remove the roast to a cutting board.

• Serve with the roasted pineapple sauce on the side and make sure to eat the skin first while it is still crisp and airy. All you need is a fork to pull the meat apart, it’ll be that tender. The meat is great in lettuce cups or in warm flour tortillas.

Fun to try

• Shred leftovers and combine with barbecue sauce and Amber N.2 for easy pulled pork. Great in sandwiches and as an hors d’ouevre wrapped in a thin slice of dill pickle.

• Experiment with seasonal fruits and spices for the sauce. Some ideas: hard peaches and Mishmish N.33, quince and Ana N.36, green mango and Noga N.17, and play with other sweeteners, flavorful alcohols, and sources of acidity and salt. Softer fruits will yield more of a jammy consistency for the sauce and are worth trying too!

• Some ideas from my brother Patrick: add to macaroni and cheese (great with Swiss), or use as a base for pozole (try this with cooked polenta cubes and Shabazi broth).

Food image and recipe © Christian Leue. Questions? Contact christian@laboiteny.com