I’ma just say this right upfront: I can take no credit for this recipe. I’m merely sharing what was a delicious baby born of the combination of this recipe’s flavors and Melissa Joulwan’s pork shoulder carnitas technique.
See, I was looking for something new for my pork shoulder, and I had played around with that carnitas technique before, and the results were awesome. So I thought, “Hmm…what if instead of water, I used apple cider?” It was so crazy, it just might work!
I live in the valley where Harry and David, those purveyors of fine fruit and gift baskets, are headquartered. This area is known for its pears and apples, so every fall, I get all excited about picking up some locally grown and made apple cider. I happened to have a half gallon of that good stuff sitting in the fridge, so in it went!
And boy howdy! I think you’ll like it. Just as that first recipe suggested, I roasted some sweet potato, fennel, onion, and apples to go alongside, so click on it if you’re interested. Oh alright—here’s the link again for you lazy folks!
1 2-3 lb. pork shoulder, boneless
1 qt. apple cider or juice, no sugar added
2 Tbsp. grainy mustard (I like Eden Brand’s organic brown mustard)
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2) Put pork in a large pot. Pour apple cider over just to cover meat. If cider doesn’t cover meat, add some more if you have it or just top it off with some water. Add the mustard and vinegar, and crank the heat to high under the pot to get it boiling. When it starts with the big bubbles, turn heat down to a good simmer, medium-lowish.
3) After about 2 hours, check on the progress. The liquid should have reduced quite a bit by this point. Continue to keep an eye on it until the sauce thickens and the meat begins to brown. Turn the pieces so they brown evenly, taking care not to let the sauce burn or disappear. It should get thick and cling to the meat.
4) At this point, you can shred it if you’d like, but I just served it up in big hunks because the meat is so tender, it falls apart under a fork. Either way, serve alongside those roasted veggies, and if you’re looking for a good beverage accompaniment, I suggest a good, high-quality hard cider or Riesling.