I wanted to attend my own party – surely, you will not begrudge me that? – so this is the only picture of pork I took.

I’m tired from a long day of cooking, Scrabbling and eating, but didn’t want to leave those of you eagerly awaiting the second installment of Cliffhanger: Pork on the edges of your respective seats any longer than necessary.

So: see above. It was really fucking good. I give this pork an A+, and would gladly do business with it again.

And now, to sleep, perchance to dream…of pork. May we all dream of pork this night!

{sleep interlude}

It’s now Sunday, and I’d really like to be eating a leftover pork taco. But I can’t, because there is NO LEFTOVER PORK from the 4+ pound shoulder. Not a single shred. Granted, there were 16 people in my apartment playing Scrabble (best word of the day: WHORE) and eating said pork, but there were four other plentiful plates of taco filling from which to choose (all of which will be blogged, so keep your panties on). So we can conclude one of two things:

(1) Drunken Scrabble players do not have high senses of gastronomic refinement and will eat anything you put in front of them, or

(2) The pork was really fucking good.

I say we’re talking a 20/80 split here.

The spice rub I used is far less important than the roasting method itself. In fact, next time – for mark my words, there WILL BE A NEXT TIME – I will forego a rub entirely and just salt and pepper, so the juicy porkitude will not be obscured by outside influences. Roasted sans rub, the pork could then be used as a base for a myriad of purposes and flavorings – tacos, pulled pork, more tacos, etc.

Although smoking is still my favorite pork shoulder preparation, this is a great method for non-smoker-appropriate times of the year or non-smoker-conducive weather (I recognize that some people think that these times of year / weather conditions do not exist, but I am not one of those people. I’m not from Texas, and my devotion to barbecue only extends so far). And unlike a smoker, oven-roasting requires zero tending, which is a big plus for the lazy,

Close-Roasted Pork Shoulder
adapted from Sally Schneider’s The Improvisational Cook

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, tied with butchers’ twine at 1-inch intervals
batch of spice rub (optional, see below)
1 head garlic

Begin the pork the day/night before you plan to serve it.

Pre-heat your oven to 275. Rub the pork liberally with salt and pepper, and with the spice rub, if you’re using it. (If you do use the rub, try to let it sit on the pork for at least an hour or two, and preferably overnight in the fridge. If you do this, you’ll need to start 2 days in advance).

Place the pork in a heavy pot or dutch oven not much larger than the meat; break up the head of garlic and scatter the cloves in the bottom of the pot, unpeeled. If the only oven-worthy pot you have is substantially larger than the pork, as mine was, take a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and tuck it over and around the pork to give it a little cozy house.

Roast the pork in the oven for 4 hours. After 4 hours, turn the oven off but leave the pork in until it’s room temperature (I left it in overnight). Stash it in the fridge in its pot.

An hour before you’re ready to eat, heat your oven to 300. Take the pot out of the fridge, scoop off and discard all the pork fat and reheat in the oven for 1 hour. After an hour, remove it to a large platter, cut the twine, and pull it apart with your fingers or 2 forks; it will fall apart easily. Mix some of the remaining pan juices into the shredded pork. Now eat it.

For the Rub:
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. new mexico chili powder
2 tsp. mexican oregano
1 tsp. garlic power
1 tsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. brown sugar