Roasted Pork Shoulder with Winter Spices

Modified from The Splendid Table

Pork Shoulder Roast

The traditional menu for New Year’s Day here in the Southeastern United States is pork, black-eyed peas, and greens.  As the saying goes, “Eat poor on New Year’s and eat fat the rest of the year.”  These foods are supposed to bring you prosperity in the coming year  – the greens symbolize money and the peas symbolize coins.  I have no idea what the pork is supposed to bring – but there is another saying that might be relevant:  “Eating high on the hog.” This expression may have originated due to the belief that the cuts of meat “higher on the hog” were better or more extravagant, but it has come to exemplify that one is successful and living well.

The pork shoulder (aka Boston butt) is not a cut “high on the hog”, but I personally favor the richer tasting, less lean cuts of pork.  A pork loin roast is delicious, if you brine it and watch it carefully to keep it from being overdone, dry, and tough.  The pork shoulder, on the other hand, is nicely marbled with fat and you have to make a real effort to overcook it.

We usually make pulled pork from a pork shoulder – this is the first time I have made a roast with it.  You still need to slow cook it to at least 185F so that the intramuscular fat and collagen have a chance to break down, making the roast tender and moist.  I was going to cook it on the Big Green Egg, but there was a steady rain on New Year’s Day so into the oven it went.  On the plus side, the house smelled fabulous all day!

This roast does not have much hands-on time, but it does take some planning due to the 2-3 day marinade in the spices.  Also, if you can freshly grind your spices, please do so for the best taste.



  • 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 inch cinnamon stick, ground (or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup dry good-tasting red wine


  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup red wine

Marinate the meat:  2-3 days before cooking, spread the roast out (untie if it came tied together) and make deep cuts into the thick parts and through the fat cap.  (Do not even think about removing any of the fat.)  Mix the remainder of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then spread it all over the roast, stuffing it into the slits and massaging it into the pork on all sides.  Place the roast and all the marinade in a sealed plastic bag or a shallow glass dish (covered);  refrigerate until ready to roast, turning once or twice a day.

To roast:  Remove the meat and allow to come to room temperature (about an hour).  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Roll up the roast and tie with butcher’s twine.  Rub the roast all over with the rosemary and salt.

Oil a shallow roasting pan and scatter the sliced onions in the bottom.  Place the roast, fat side up, in the pan and scape all the remaining marinade over it.  Roast for 30 minutes at 400F.

Remove the roast and pour in the orange juice and red wine.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.  Continue to roast until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 185F.  This will take several hours (4-6 most likely) – check on the roast every hour or so to make sure the pan does not dry out (add water if necessary), check the temperature, and baste the roast with the juices.  If the temperature of the roast seems to plateau, cover the pan partially with foil to help concentrate the heat.

When the roast is done, let it rest on a cutting board, covered, for about 15 minutes.  Skim the fat from the pan juices.  To serve, roll the pork back into the pan juices to moisten, then slice.  Serve hot, with extra pan juices if desired.  Don’t forget the black-eyed peas and greens if it is New Year’s Day!

Pork shoulder roast (wide)

harlemWell, I felt high on the hog eating this! Yummy! Some yummy music this time too. Generally sons of famous artists are a pale copy of their fathers, but in the case of Steve Earle’s son Justin Townes Earle, there’s no fear of that. Justin is his own man indeed, as on Harlem River Blues. He’s taken folk, country and blues influences together and created something new and fresh, as on the title cut or “Working for the MTA”. Stellar stuff!

His second album, The Good Life, is more jukebox country, and Earle’s vocals goodliferemind you of classic country singers such as George Jones or Lefty Frizzell. Hard to believe a kid this young could be so assured and good, but the truth is in the grooves.


14 thoughts on “Roasted Pork Shoulder with Winter Spices

  1. Oh wow…this sounds absolutely fabulous!! Question: Do you think it would work with red wine for all of the liquid? Or maybe a combination of red wine and some sort of broth? Or would it need the extra acidity of the orange juice? Just asking because I loathe cooking with orange/orange flavour. lol Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. I think it would work fine either way – I’d probably try a combo of red wine and broth. It also may work well with apple cider or apple juice. I think the intent of the orange juice was to add some natural sugars, as well as more flavor, to the pan juices. (The original recipe I based this from used orange slices.) Let us know how it works out if you try it!

      1. Lovely! I’ll let you know for sure. We’ve got some lovely, pastured shoulder and fresh ham roasts in the freezer that would love this. 🙂 Thank you!

  2. I am from the south and all of the mentioned food traditions reign supreme in my family. I always heard that we ate pork because pigs “root forward” and that, somehow, is relevant to going forward into the new year.

  3. I’ve made this twice and it always turns out wonderfully. I think it’s easy to make and you can improvise on the spices if you don’t have all of them on hand. Thank you for the recipe; I’ve passed the link on to several people. Someone asked up top if you could exclude the orange juice and yes, I think it tastes great even if you do. I also have a person in my house that doesn’t like the citrus taste with the meat. We use horseradish, too, upon serving it, which adds a delicious flavor.

  4. This has to be the most amazing pork I have ever tasted. My husband has run out of words and delicious sounds. He’s already asking me to make this delectable roast again!! Happy New Years indeed!!

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