Chipotle-Spiced Braised Pork Shoulder

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There’s no denying that I am a fan of pork. A HUGE fan of pork. I’m one of those that believe bacon is its own food group and that the pork shoulder is perhaps one of the most flavorful, forgiving and fun cuts of a pig to work with in the kitchen. My first introduction to this masterful piece of meat was very early in my childhood during the holidays when my grandmother would make her signature pernil (spanish roast pork). It is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine, and it is a dish she has now entrusted me to make every time I’m home.

Since learning how to work with the pork shoulder, I’ve taken liberties in how I prepare it. And because it is so welcoming, I’ve had nothing but fun putting together an array of spice combos and marinades, giving the shoulder the early love it deserves before hitting the heat.

Today, I’m sharing with you one of my basic go-to ways of preparing a pork shoulder that yields an endless array of usages. This recipe for Chipotle-Spiced Braised Pork Shoulder gives you a taste of Mexico while leaving enough room for you to add what you need to create a number of fantastic fusion dishes.

No fancy smokers needed for this dish. Just a large pot and a little patience will give you something you’ll want to share with everyone you know! Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

Chipotle-Spiced Braised Pork Shoulder

For the pork:

1 Pork Shoulder (4-5 lbs)

1 tb kosher salt

1 tb granulated garlic

1 tb chipotle chili powder

1 tb ground cumin

1 tb smoked paprika

1 tb dried oregano

1 tb dried thyme

1 tsp ground achiote

Coat pork with all but 1-2 tb of the rub and set aside for 1 hour or marinate in the fridge overnight.

For the braise:

32 oz chicken stock

1 small can of diced tomatoes

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, coarsely chopped

2 tb honey

Place the pork into a large pot. Add the remaining ingredients along with the reserved rub. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Braise with the lid on for 2-3 hours, turning the pork over every hour, until the pork is fork tender.

Bringing it all together:

Remove the pork shoulder carefully from the pot and raise the heat. Boil the braise until it is reduced by 1/3. Meanwhile, tear the pork with two forks into pieces. Return the torn pork to the pot and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until you notice a reduction in the braising liquid. Serve any way you want it!

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