This roast pork is amazingly flavorful, easy, and fall-apart tender. The pork shoulder is slowly cooked in the oven until it beautifully falls apart. You will enjoy the flavors of garlic and rosemary, that are only enhanced by a little extra spices like dry mustard, onion powder, and simple salt and pepper.
Pork is always a delicious alternative to your usual dinner routine, especially when it’s made this deliciously! When I feel like making a more elegant dinner for parties and such, I usually turn to my favorite Garlic Pork Loin recipe. Every other time, this simple Roast Pork is my go-to!
The seasoning mix I use to make this pork is a combination of garlic cloves, coarse salt, fresh cracked peppercorns, ground mustard, onion powder, and fresh minced rosemary. While all of these ingredients add an incredible flavor, it’s the garlic halves inserted directly into the meat that really infuse it with so much more flavor.
It’s my little not so secret ingredient to always having the best Roast Pork!
I really love making this pork shoulder in the oven because it’s as simple as seasoning and slow roasting it for a few hours. You can even salt it the night before, which I prefer, then season and pop it in the oven in the morning. That way you’ll have dinner ready by the evening time with no stress at all!
Oh, and the intoxicating aroma that fills your kitchen while the meat cooks is pretty drool-worthy. Trust me, your family will be lining up at dinner time just from that smell alone.
How to Make Roast Pork
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Pork Butt – For this recipe, you’ll need a bone-in Boston pork butt. Of all the cuts of pork, this one yields the most tender and juicy meat.
- Salt – You’ll need coarse salt both to season the pork overnight and before it cooks. Make sure you’re using actual coarse salt, not table salt!
- Garlic – you will need fresh garlic cloves for this meat recipe.
- Peppercorns – Freshly cracked peppercorns help to create the best flavor.
- Ground Mustard – Most pork recipes call for some form of mustard, and that’s because the natural flavor of the pork pairs so perfectly with the sharp, tangy flavor of mustard.
- Onion Powder
- Rosemary – it’s best to use fresh rosemary here.
Salt the pork.
The night before, simply rub the pork butt with coarse salt all over, tie it, wrap it airtight, place it on a sheet pan or a roasting dish, and refrigerate it overnight.
Remember to let your pork sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Season the pork.
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line the bottom of a roasting pan with foil. This helps immensely with clean up!
Slice the garlic cloves in half, then push them into slits in the meat. To create the slits, use a small knife to poke holes in the meat that are about 1/2 inch deep.
Mix the seasonings together. Spread the mix in a small rimmed baking sheet.
Dip the meat into the seasoning mix and pat it into the meat on all sides.
Place the seasoned pork onto the roasting rack in the pan.
Roasting the pork.
To track the meat temperature: Insert a meat thermometer towards the middle of the thickest part of the meat. The probe should be near the bone, but not touching it.
Place the pan in the oven. Roast the pork for 15 minutes at 450°F. Lower the heat to 275°F and let it cook until your digital thermometer reads 200°F. (Expect your 4-5lb pork shoulder to take about 5-8 hours to cook.)
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I serve Roast Pork?
It’s so versatile! You can use it as the main course for dinner or save it for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, add it to Mac and Cheese (my personal favorite), and so much more!
What cut of pork should I use?
Use bone-in Boston butt! It has less fat on the outside and the fat is more evenly spread throughout the muscle. This will result in a more tender and juicy meat, which is exactly what you want in your pull-apart tender pork. Bonus – you don’t have to trim the fat off the meat before cooking it, making this recipe even easier.
Will bone-in pork take longer to cook than boneless?
Actually, it will take about the same amount of time to cook bone-in pork roast. It may even cook a little faster than boneless. Your main indicator will be the size, and of course tracking the temperature rather than time.
What is the difference between pork butt and pork shoulder?
Did you know that pork shoulder and pork butt are actually both from the shoulder part of the pig? Yep! The name “pork butt” is a little confusing because it does not actually come from the rear of the animal. Both cuts are from the shoulder, but one is the top part and the other is the bottom part.
Pork butt is the top part of the shoulder and it sits higher on the foreleg, while pork shoulder is the lower cut that is closer to the leg. Both cuts are tough and fatty, so it’s best to cook them in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, and of course the smoker. Pork butt is often labeled as “Boston butt” and pork shoulder is labeled as “picnic shoulder” or “picnic roast.”
Tips for the Best Tender Roast Pork Shoulder:
- Season it the night before, cover and refrigerate. It will give more time for the seasoning to flavor the meat and take no time to pop it in the oven in the morning.
- If the pork is cold, let it sit on the counter for about 30 minute before placing in the oven. You never want to cook cold meat!
- Use a leave-in meat thermometer to track the temperature! This is your most accurate way to make sure your meat is cooked perfectly.
- When inserting the thermometer probe, get it close to the bone but NOT touching the bone.
- Slow, slow, slow! Don’t be tempted to raise the temperature to try and cook the meat faster. This is a tough meat and it needs time to cook at a lower temperature to give you the best tasting results.
- Cook the pork shoulder fat-cap up! Melting fat will slowly seep into the meat and produce much more tender and juicy results.
- Expect your 4-5lb pork shoulder to take about 5-8 hours to cook. Remember that each cut of meat is different, so each will take slightly different amount to cook. Track the temperature, not the time!
- For a nice and tender pull-apart pork, you’ll want to cook it to 200°F-203°F internal temperature.
- Note that if you want to cook a boneless pork shoulder and slice it rather than pull it, it’s totally fine, just pull it out of the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 190°F-195°F.
Roast Pork Recipe
Tender Roast Pork
- Leave-in Meat Thermometer
- Roasting pan
- 4-5 lb bone-in Boston pork butt
- 2 tbsp coarse salt to season overnight
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tbsp ground mustard
- 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 2-3 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- Season the pork with salt in the evening and refrigerate it. It's easy to pop the pork into the oven first thing in the morning and let it slow cook.
- Rub pork shoulder with coarse salt all over, tie it, wrap it air-tight, place it in a sheet pan or a roasting dish, and refrigerate overnight.
- Pull the pork out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to let it warm up.
- Preheat the oven to 450°, line the bottom of a roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up later, and fit a roasting rack inside the pan.
- Cut each garlic clove in half lengthwise. Use a small knife to poke holes in the pork that are about 1/2 deep (or the length of the garlic clove) to create slits throughout and sides. Push in a garlic clove half into each slit.
- Mix the seasoning together and spread it in a small rimmed baking sheet to make it easy to coat the meat with seasoning.
- Dip and pat the meat in seasoning on all the sides.
- Place the seasoned pork onto the roasting rack in roasting pan.
- Insert a digital thermometer probe towards the middle of the thickest part of meat. Make sure the probe is near but not touching the bone.
- Place the roasting pan into the oven and let it roast for 15 minutes at 450°. Lower the heat to 275° and let it slowly cook until it reaches the tender internal temperature of 200°-203°.* (Expect your 4-5lb pork shoulder to take about 5-8 hours to cook.)