This meltingly tender Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder is flavored with fennel, lemon and rosemary. You will not believe how incredibly easy and hands-off it is to make. Just marinate in a simple Italian-inspired seasoning combination of herb, lemon and garlic mixture. Then cook it slowly in the oven to make the meat absolutely succulent!

Slow roasted pork shoulder on a metal baking sheet with a hex pattern

Why We Love This Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Recipe

I know Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder sounds complicated or intimidating, but honestly, there is really not much to it!

This Italian pork shoulder is the perfect recipe for a cozy Sunday dinner or a festive holiday feast. It requires little effort and is truly so rewardingly delicious.

One of the reasons I love it so much is that it is hands off. Once the marinated meat goes into the oven, you can go about your day preparing the rest of the holiday meal.

Roasted pork shoulder tastes great with a wide variety of side dishes. It is absolutely delicious served with these Simple Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Vegetable Mash or roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I like to contrast it with a slightly tangy veggie like this Kale with Cider Vinegar or my Holiday Slaw. Another option for a make ahead fall meal is this Brown Rice and Sweet Potato Salad. You can’t go wrong!

the whole roasted pork on a sheet pan before it has been cut with scissors and butcher's twine

Key Ingredients for This Recipe

Boneless pork butt

You’ll need 4.5 pound to 5.5 boneless pork butt for this recipe. If you have never bought one before, just know that it’s a really flavorful cut of meat that’s perfect for low and slow cooking.

Pork butt is not really the rear-end of the pig but rather the upper part of the shoulder. The actual rear-end is the ham. The pig is broken down into large sections or primals.

pork primals diagram

The shoulder primal has two parts, the picnic shoulder on bottom and the shoulder butt. This Shoulder Butt or Boston Butt is the part of the pork that we’re going to use today. I chose the butt because you can get a nicer boneless roast out of it.

You’ll probably have to go to a good meat counter to get the right cut. Ask for a 4 ½ to 5 ½ pound boneless pork butt. If possible order in advance.

Fennel

Fennel seeds have a sweet and slightly licorice taste to them. Although they’re a main ingredient here you can leave them out if you don’t like them.

Lemon

Freshly squeezed lemon juice is used in the pork rub. If you’re in a pinch you can use pre-squeezed juice, but fresh is much better.

Rosemary

You can find fresh rosemary in the produce section of any large grocery store. Try and use fresh rosemary over dried, if you can.

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
chunks of slow roasted pork with sauteed mustard greens and gravy drizzled on it on a white oval platter

Step-by-Step Instructions to Make This Italian Pork Shoulder

Step 1: Make rub for pork

Mix together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, fennel seed, thyme, salt, pepper and rosemary in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork and inside where the bone was removed.

Tie the roast together with butcher twine. Place the pork in a 2 gallon x-large re-sealable bag or in a baking dish. Seal the bag or cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.

Marinating the meat for 12 to 24 hours before slow roasting the pork will make the meat taste very savory and reminiscent of Italian Porchetta.

Step 2: Preheat oven

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Step 3: Roast pork

Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Coat the rack with cooking spray. Remove the pork from the bag or baking dish and set on the rack, skin side up.

The key is roast it at a low temperature for a long time so that the meat does not seize and thus squeezes out the moisture. In a home kitchen, a 300-degree oven is just right.

Roast until the pork is very tender when tested with a fork, if the meat gives away very easily then it is tender. Furthermore, the roast will reach an internal temperature of 180-185 degrees, 5 to 7 hours.

We have more tips on how to check if it is done in our Expert Tips section.

Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest 15 to 30 minutes. Or rest longer wrapped in foil and swaddled in a cooler.

Step 4: Make gravy

While the pork rests, remove the rack from the roasting pan. Pour the excess pork fat off into a dish or can to discard. Add the wine to the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over medium-high heat, then bring to a simmer while scraping up browned pieces from the pan. Add 1 cup broth and return to a simmer. Whisk together the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup broth and drizzle into the simmering broth mixture in the pan. Bring the gravy to a boil while whisking and simmer until desired consistency, 2 to 4 minutes. Strain into a gravy boat.

Step 5: Shred or slice pork & serve

Remove the twine. Shred or slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

pork on a baking sheet and a skillet of sauteed mustard greens

FAQs and Expert Tips

Why slow roast pork shoulder?

Pork butt is naturally very tough, but if it is cooked slowly it will become very tender. The meat comes from a part of the animal that does a lot of work and has a lot of connective tissue, so that means that the roast needs time.
What happens is the natural collagen in the meat will break down into gelatin. In other words, pork will get tender after cooking slowly at a low temperature for a long time.
The key is to not do it so fast that the meat seizes and thus squeezes out the moisture. In a home kitchen, a 300 degree oven is just right. Depending on your roast the meat can take any where from 5 to 7 hours.

How can you tell when it is done?

To test for doneness it’s all about feel. Start checking if the meat is done at 5 hours. The way I do this is with a fork. I just push the fork down into the meat as far as it will go, then pull it out. If it meets any resistance, the pork roast can probably cook a little longer.

How to make this slow roasted pork shoulder ahead

Since the pork already requires a decently long marinating time, it already is kind of a make-ahead recipe. However, you could place the pork in the marinade up to 2 days ahead.

How to store leftovers

Store the shredded or sliced pork in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven.

Resting: The Perfect Way To Time A Holiday Meal?\

I found that there was a really broad range of how long the shoulder roast took to cook, and there was no rhyme or reason to when it would take 5 ½ hours and when it would take 7 hours.

If you are worried about planning out your holiday meal to start at a specific time, the good news is that this slow-roasted pork shoulder will rest really well for as long as you need it to. If you happen to have a cooler, that’s a great place to keep it nice and warm.

Wrap it in foil, then place it into the cooler, and swaddle it with clean kitchen towels or bath towels for more insulation. I know this sounds strange, but this is actually really effective. At a minimum rest the meat 15 to 30 minutes tented with foil.

Slow roasted pork shoulder on a metal baking sheet with a hex pattern

Additional Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Slow roasted pork shoulder on a metal baking sheet with a hex pattern

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Fennel, Lemon and Rosemary


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

This meltingly tender Pork Roast is full of flavor! And you will not believe how incredibly easy it is to roast a pork shoulder! This festive Italian inspired version makes a perfect celebratory dinner for the Holiday Season!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cloves garlic finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4.5 pound to 5.5 boneless pork butt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Mix garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, fennel seed, thyme, salt, pepper and rosemary in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over the pork and inside where the bone was removed. Tie the roast together with butcher twine. Place pork in a 2 gallon x-large re-sealable bag or in a baking dish. Seal bag or cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Coat the rack with cooking spray. Remove the pork from the bag or baking dish and set on the rack, skin side up. Roast until the pork is very tender when tested with a fork, if the meat gives away very eaily then it is tender. Furthermore the roast will reach an internal temperature of 180-185 degrees, 5 to 7 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest 15 to 30 minutes. Or rest longer wrapped in foil and swaddled in a cooler.
  4. While pork rests, remove rack from the roasting pan. Pour excess pork fat off into a dish or can to discard. Add wine to the roasting pan. Set roasting pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer while scraping up browned pieces from the pan. Add 1 cup broth and return to a simmer. Whisk cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup broth and drizzle into the simmering broth mixture in the pan. Bring to a boil while whisking and simmer until desired consistency, 2 to 4 minutes. Strain into a gravy boat.
  5. Remove twine. Shred or slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

Notes

Cooking Tip:

For any and all slow-roasting tips, check out the tips section above! 

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Calories: 345
  • Fat: 27 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 24 g

Keywords: roasted pork shoulder,slow roasted pork shoulder,slow roasted pork butt,pork butt recipe