Pork Shoulder Braised with Apples

February 26, 2013

Another braise to share with you! I cooked this dish (from the January 2013 issue of Bon Appetit) on New Year’s Day since it’s a tradition in my husband’s family to eat pork on New Years. My mom was visiting her sister out of state, so we invited my dad over to share the meal with us, and we had a wonderful evening! I don’t eat pork very often (well, chops or roasts – I do eat small amounts of bacon and ham fairly frequently), and I almost never cook it at home, so this was something quite different for me to try. I was surprised at how cheap pork shoulder is at the grocery store: less than $2 per pound, and the butcher at the meat counter was happy to remove the bone for me. Now that I know how inexpensive a cut it is, I’ll have to find some other recipes to practice with! I’m always a bit hesitant to try experimenting with large pieces of meat because of the cost… even a 4 to 5 pound package of “cheap” beef chuck roast can cost upwards of $20. And then not to mention premium cuts like rib-eye steak: pretty expensive if you mess it up!

The sauce/braising liquid in this recipe was amazing – the flavor of pork and apples pairs perfectly together. The apple flavor comes from several different sources: apple cider, apple brandy, apple cider vinegar, and of course the apples themselves. I served the pork along with mashed root vegetables and roasted savoy cabbage, two of my favorite vegetable sides. Overall a fantastic start for what I hope will be a fantastic year of cooking!

Braised pork shoulder with apples

The bacon and pork shoulder can be cooked through step 5 up to 2 days ahead. Let pork cool in braising liquid, uncovered. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing with step 6.

Serves 6


  • 1  tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4  ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1  tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5  pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 6 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3  medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3  cup Calvados or other apple-flavored brandy
  • 1¼  cups apple cider, preferably fresh
  • 2  tablespoons (or more) apple cider vinegar
  • 3  tart, firm apples (such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp), peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2  teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Chopped fresh chives


  1. Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325 degrees F. Heat oil in a large heavy oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add butter to pot with drippings. Season pork shoulder with kosher salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook pork shoulder, reducing heat as needed to prevent overbrowning, until brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer pork shoulder to a plate.
  3. Add shallots to put and cook, stirring often, until shallots begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat; add Calvados and stir, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Return to heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add apple cider and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then return pork shoulder to pot, placing in a single layer on bottom of pot (the meat should not be completely submerged).
  5. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork shoulder, turning after 1 hour, until for tender, about 2 hours total. Stir in reserved bacon.
  6. Using tongs, transfer pork to a deep platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Place pot over medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Add apples and cook until apples are just tender and sauce is slightly reduced, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Stir Dijon mustard into sauce; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar to taste. Pour sauce with apples over pork on platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on rocktonrealtor and commented:
    mmmm Bacon!!!

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