Tender and full of Asian flavor, the oven does the magic with this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork after your 10 minutes of hands-on time. Serve it in tacos, wraps, sandwiches, rice bowls…
I’ve been making this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork whenever I want a super easy, super delicious dinner for a few months now. We’ve enjoyed discovering lots of ways to use it. I started out making rice bowls with cucumber salad, pickled red onions, lime wedges, sesame seeds and lots of fresh herbs (as pictured below) but I’ve also used this tender, succulent pork in a myriad of other ways.
It’s fabulous served on brioche buns and paired with a fresh slaw or salad for an easy lunch or casual dinner. We also love this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork in tacos, lettuce wraps, quesadillas, and on pizza. Sometimes I spread out the shredded, glazed pork on a sheet pan and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes for Asian-style carnitas, delish!
The recipe is beyond easy and produces amazingly delicious results with no browning or searing of the pork. You do need to make it on a morning or afternoon when you’re hanging around the house though, as the pork needs to be flipped once or twice while braising in the oven. You could also make it on the weekend for quick and easy weeknight meals.
How does it work? Simply preheat the oven to 300˚F. Combine honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh lime juice, finely minced ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a large Dutch oven. Whisk everything together, then add a 3½-4-pound pork shoulder (butt) roast. Flip the roast to coat it with the flavorful sauce, cover and let the oven do its wonderful magic.
Within an hour your kitchen will be permeated with the most wonderful aroma of pork, honey, soy and ginger. (You might want to close your windows so the neighbors aren’t lined up outside your door, waiting for dinner to be served.) Once the pork is fork-tender, it’s ready to be removed from the fragrant sauce and shredded with a fork. The leftover sauce is simmered until thick and syrupy, then reunited with the pork for a succulent Asian glazed delight.
Great for entertaining!
This is a great entree to serve for a family get together or for entertaining friends as it can be made ahead without any last-minute fuss. The double bonus is that you get to enjoy your guests instead of being busy in the kitchen.
A fun and delicious idea: set up a buffet with homemade flour tortillas (keep them soft and tender in a tortilla warmer) and bowls with shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, pickled red onions, diced avocado, lime wedges and sesame seeds. Let everyone serve themselves and create their own Asian tacos.
What’s the difference between pork shoulder and pork butt?
Buying pork for a dish like this can be confusing. This recipe calls for a pork butt but, in a pinch, a pork shoulder can also be used. What’s the difference?
According to Cook’s Illustrated, pork butt and pork shoulder both come from the shoulder muscle of the pig. The difference?
- Pork butt is also sometimes called Boston Butt. Pork shoulder is sometimes also referred to as picnic shoulder or picnic roast.
- Pork butt is generally well marbled with fat where pork shoulder tends to be less marbled.
- Pork butt has a uniform rectangular shape, Pork shoulder has a tapered triangular shape.
- Pork butt is often sold with the fat cap intact whereas pork shoulder is frequently sold with skin also on.
- Pork butt is available as bone-in and/or boneless. Pork shoulder is most often available as bone-in. If it’s sold as boneless, it’s typically wrapped in netting and when netting is removed, meat “unfolds” into an uneven layer.
So which one is better for this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork? You can actually use either, but if you have a choice, I highly recommend choosing a boneless pork butt. If only bone-in is available, go for it. But purchase a little larger roast to compensate for the bone.
So put “pork butt” on your shopping list and check the recipe to see if there are any other ingredients you’re missing. You’ll be so happy you tried out this recipe and I have a feeling you’ll be putting it on your frequent flyer recipe rotation!
Café Tips for making this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork
- Look for a boneless pork shoulder, preferably without a lot of fat. If all of the shoulders you find have a considerable amount of fat, purchase a larger one as you’ll lose some of the weight as you trim off the fat.
- Check the label to make sure it says “boneless”. If it doesn’t, there’s probably a large bone even if you don’t see it. If you can only find a bone-in shoulder roast, again purchase a larger one (4-4½ pounds) as you’ll lose some of the weight to the bone.
- I have to admit that I’m a bit of a cheat when it comes to ginger. I like to keep a tube of this Ginger Paste in my refrigerator or freezer. It’s basically just fresh ginger that’s been minced and ground into a paste. The minute you open the tube, you’ll be greeted with the wonderful aroma of fresh ginger. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks and can be frozen for months. If you don’t use ginger very often, just keep it in the freezer. Whenever you want to use it, just let it thaw for 10-15 minutes then squeeze out the amount you need and pop it back in the freezer. (This is not a sponsored post. I just really like it and find it super convenient.) Ginger paste can be found at many larger grocery stores in the produce section, often times near the fresh herbs.
- Every oven is different and, although pork shoulder becomes very tender when slow-roasted, you don’t want to roast it too long. Check it every 15-20 minutes after it’s been in the oven for 2 hours. With my oven, about 2½ hours is perfect.
- If I have time, I like to make this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork a day in advance. I cook as directed, remove the meat and shred it. Then I transfer the honey soy sauce from the Dutch oven to a storage container and refrigerate both the meat and the sauce (separately) overnight. The next day, the fat will have risen to the top and hardened. I use a large spoon to skim that fat off and discard it. Then I reduce the sauce as directed in the recipe, combine it with the meat in a baking dish, cover the whole thing with foil and pop it in the oven (325˚F.) for 15-20 minutes or until warmed throughly.
- This can also be made in a slow cooker, although I think the flavor is better when slow roasted. To make it in a slow cooker, trim the pork as directed and place in a slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the top and flip the meat over to coat both sides. Cook on low until the pork is very tender and shreds easily with a fork, 7 to 9 hours, depending on your slow cooker. Flip the pork to the opposite side about halfway through. Then proceed with the directions for shredding the pork and reducing the sauce.
- As mentioned above, this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork can be used so many ways – in sandwiches, wraps and tacos, on pizza and in rice bowls as pictured in this post. When I use it in rice bowls, I love to serve it with quick pickled red onions and cucumbers.
- To make the pickled onions and cucumbers for 4 rice bowls, simply slice half of a red onion into thin wedges and slice 3-4 mini seedless cucumbers into thin slices. Place them in separate storage containers with lids. Combine ¼ cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Divide the rice vinegar mixture between the two containers and cover each one. Allow each of the containers to sit for 30 minutes, shaking occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, divide the onions and cucumbers among bowls with rice, Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork, fresh herbs, sesame seeds and lime wedges. Enjoy!
Thought for the day:
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:9 & 10
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
Tender and full of Asian flavor, the oven does the magic with this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork after your 10 minutes of hands-on time. Serve it in tacos, wraps, sandwiches, rice bowls...
- 3 ½-4 pounds boneless pork butt see notes in post
- 6 medium garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more to taste
- ¾ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¾ cup honey
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- finely grated zest from one lime
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- lime wedges for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- fresh cilantro and/or basil leaves for garnish
Heat the oven to 300˚F. degrees. Remove any large areas of fat from the pork and discard. Cut the roast into two halves.
Combine all sauce ingredients in a large Dutch oven that has a lid. Stir well to combine. Taste, and if you’d like more heat, add another ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
Add the two pieces of pork to the pan. Using tongs, turn to coat all sides of the pork in the sauce, and spoon some over the top. Cover, transfer to the oven and roast for 2½- 3 hours. Turn the meat to the opposite side after one hour. Repeat, turning after the second hour.
Check the meat after 2½ hours. It should shred easily with a fork. If it’s not super tender, return to the oven for another 15-30 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the pork to a serving platter or a large shallow serving bowl. Use a ladle or large serving spoon to skim off (and discard) the excess fat on the surface of the cooking liquid remaining in the Dutch oven,
Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and let it simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 6-8 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, coarsely shred the pork using two forks. Sprinkle the lime juice over the top of the meat. Drizzle about half the sauce over the top of the shredded meat, then toss to combine.
Serve over rice or noodles. Top with sesame seeds, fresh herbs, lime wedges and quick pickled red onions and cucumbers (see Café Tips above in the post on how to make quick pickled red onions and cucumbers). Pass the remaining sauce at the table, You can also use this pork in sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, tacos, lettuce cups and on pizza.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Adapted from New York Times Cooking
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