I recently got an email from Tre Piani chef/owner Jim Weaver with his recipe for a 6-hour Berkshire Pork Roast. It sounded wonderful, so I post it below. If the Tuscan roast baby pig I enjoyed there at Thanksgiving is any indication, this, too will be delicious. (Update: be sure to visit their website to check out the Chef’s Secret dinner series that starts on March 14! Information will be uploaded soon.)
But I am reluctant to use 2 gallons of EVOO just like that, and I don’t think I could even lift that pot out of the oven, much less remove and store the used oil. That’s the difference between a home cook and a restaurant chef. And that’s why good restaurant food is not cheap, they are doing things in that kitchen that most of us will never try at home.
As a further incentive, about the same time my brother sent me a photo of an Asian-flavored slow-roasted pork shoulder he’d cooked, which was also mighty tempting. (“Score the top. In the fridge overnight with roasted garlic teriyaki then 7 to 8 hours at 250-275. Wegmans Asian barbeque sauce last hour.”)
So, for my Italian version, I bought a 3 1/2 pound tied boneless pork shoulder from local Simply Grazin’ Farm at the wonderful Whole Foods butcher counter (they had bone-in too). The night before roasting, I whirled a mixture of garlic, juniper berries, fennel seeds, sage, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper in my mini processor with maybe 1/4 cup of EVOO. I popped it all in a zipper freezer bag with the roast (I lightly scored the fat side), massaged it to spread the marinade around the meat, and let it sleep overnight in the fridge.
The next day, I put it in a 275 degree oven at 12:30pm. I had a large white onion and a large red onion to use up, so peeled and quartered them lengthwise, and used them as a “bed” for the roast, with a drizzle of olive oil. I’d checked out many recipes online, some use a bed of vegetables, or maybe a rack, and some don’t. (This story originally had a link to a nice example of a recipe on the La Cucina Italiana website, but now they are “closed” since that wonderful magazine is being discontinued in the U.S., thanks to Condé Nast Italy – Boo!!)
At 3:15pm, I lowered the temperature to 260 as it seemed like it was well along, and then removed it from the oven at 5:45pm, for a total of just over 5 hours. I didn’t even get out my meat thermometer, the deep, delicious crust and dark juices (lots of juice) told me all I needed to know.
It was delicious!
Next time I will try it with tied lamb shoulder, which they also sell at Whole Foods’ butcher counter.
That butcher counter is a real gem, and it always seems busy. Our local dedicated carnivores hang out there, and I love noticing what they buy for themselves. One day last summer a male customer carefully picked out a couple of those huge, dinosaur-sized ribeye steaks they sell, the really thick ones with the long bone sticking out, a real caveman affair. I’ll bet that went right on the grill at home and was fantastic!
Jim Weaver’s 6-hour Berkshire Pork Roast
1 bone-in pork shoulder (“butt”), about 6 pounds
3 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 gallons extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
2 teaspoons crushed juniper berries
4 bay leaves
zest of 2 lemons
Rub pork all over with salt and pepper, and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Place pork, skin side up, in a heavy, high-sided roasting pan or pot, and add all of the remaining ingredients.
Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a preheated 300° oven for at least six hours. Remove pan from oven, and let the roast cool in the oil for 30 minutes before transferring it to a carving board. Slice thin and serve warm.
The oil can be strained and kept in the refrigerator future use.