Extra-Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

updated Jun 2, 2023
Extra-Crispy Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

Flavor explodes when you treat whole pork shoulder in the style of bo ssam, the Korean dish of pork slow-cooked in spices then carved into delicate slivers.

Serves6 to 8

Prep20 minutes

Cook6 hours to 7 hours

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Credit: Kristina Vanni

For the holidays, what is more impressive than a whole roasted anything? Whole roasted crown of pork? I’m there for it! Whole roasted prime rib? Sign me up! Whole roasted leg of lamb? Yup, that works too. But for me, nothing says the holidays like a ham. My grandmother would prepare it every Christmas Eve. She would simply stud the ham with slivers of garlic, warm it up, and serve it with a horseradish cream sauce alongside fluffy dinner rolls. I was never mad at this dinner idea and enjoyed the leftovers in sandwiches for days to come.

As I’ve grown up, pork has possibly become one of my favorite proteins for its versatility and flavor. Shredded pork is my happy place, so when I first experienced bo ssam and my palate exploded with joy, I thought to myself, Wouldn’t this make a delightful “ham” for the holidays? To combine all of the flavors that occur with a Christmas ham and pack it into a fabulous shreddable pork shoulder became my mission in life. After all, a ham is just a pork shoulder in disguise. And so the whole roasted holiday pork shoulder was born. 

Credit: Kristina Vanni

Serving Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

This dish, although it takes a good amount of time, is surprisingly easy to make and surprisingly difficult to mess up. I prefer to serve it with store-bought spicy mustard instead of horseradish cream, although I would not be upset if you opted for the latter option.

Feel free to have your butcher score the skin for you to save you a step. When it is complete, be sure to coat all of that tender pork in the velvety pan juices that collect in the bottom of the pan. That reinforces all of the sweet hammy flavors that have been massaged all over the meat.

Whatever you decide to serve alongside this beauty, get ready for all the oohs and aahs when you serve this puppy for the holidays. It is sure to surprise and delight!

Extra-Crispy Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

Flavor explodes when you treat whole pork shoulder in the style of bo ssam, the Korean dish of pork slow-cooked in spices then carved into delicate slivers.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 6 hours to 7 hours

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1

    (7 to 8-pound) whole bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder

  • 3 tablespoons

    maple syrup

  • Spicy mustard, horseradish cream, spicy ketchup, or your favorite condiments, for serving


  1. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons dried mustard, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  2. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of 1 whole bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder into a 2-inch diamond pattern. Place the pork shoulder in large bowl. Sprinkle and rub the spice mixture evenly all over the pork. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

  3. Let the pork sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300ºF.

  4. Wipe off any excess rub on the pork with a paper towel. Place the pork in a roasting pan and discard any remaining spice rub or juices in the bowl. Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan.

  5. Roast the pork, basting with the juices in the roasting pan every hour, until the pork is tender and yields to the tines of a fork, 6 to 7 hours total. Add more water to the roasting pan 1/2 cup at a time as needed to help create the pan juices if the pan is dry.

  6. Remove the pork from the oven. Heat the broiler to high. Add 3 tablespoons maple syrup to the pan juices and stir to combine. Baste the pork with the juices. Broil until the skin is blistered and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Let the pork rest in the roasting pan for 30 minutes. Slice or pull the pork apart. Mix the meat into the juices. Serve with spicy mustard or your favorite condiments.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The meat itself will stay hot for a good hour if left to rest whole on the bone. Broil it just before serving to crisp up the skin.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It’s delicious fried up until crispy and then tossed with any extra juices.