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4.41 from 5 votes
Slow Roasted Italian Pork
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 20 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 50 mins
Make-ahead, super tender and succulent pork in a thick, rich Italian tomato sauce. And who doesn't love Italian?
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Chris Scheuer
  • 6 pounds pork shoulder or boneless country style ribs*
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 28 ounce San Marzano tomatoes***
  • 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablepoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 14 ½- ounce can diced tomatoes**** well-drained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. Combine garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. On a large cutting board, cut pork into 4-5-inch pieces and trim as much of the visible fat as possible. It’s fine if some of the pieces end up a bit smaller. You definitely won’t be able to remove all of the fat and you don’t want to at this point. (I started with 6 pounds of pork shoulder ribs and ended up trimming a little over a pound of fat.) Later you’ll be able to remove more of it. Lay pork pieces out on the cutting board* and sprinkle with half of the garlic salt mixture. Flip pieces to opposite side and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
  3. In a large Dutch oven or large heavy duty soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add enough of the pork to cover the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and brown pork on both sides (a tongs work great for this) then remove to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the pork. Depending on the size of the pot, you may need to do this in 2-3 batches. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to the pot before adding another batch of pork.
  4. When all the pork is browned and removed from pot, reduce heat to medium low and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pot. (Don’t wash the pot. The “frond” or brown stuff on the bottom of the pot, will add lots of delicious flavor to the sauce.) Add the chopped onions and cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. After a couple minutes of cooking, the frond (or brown stuff) on the bottom of the pot, will begin to release into the onions. When onions are soft and translucent and most of the frond has been release, add the garlic. Cook for one more minute, then return the pork to the pot.
  5. Pour the San Marzano tomatoes into the bowl which held the pork and break tomatoes apart with your fingers. Add tomatoes tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil and the salt to the pot with the pork/onions. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover pot and place in preheated oven. Roast for 3 hours covered, then remove cover, add well-drained diced tomatoes and roast for another hour, uncovered. Stir halfway through the last hour.
  7. With a slotted spoon, remove pork from sauce to a clean bowl and allow to cool about 20 minutes. Add chopped, fresh basil to sauce in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes while pork is cooling. (This will thicken the sauce a bit more.)
  8. With two forks or your fingers, shred pork into large pieces. I just break the pieces apart a bit and leave the smaller ones intact. Return pork to pot and stir gently to combine. Serve or allow to cool slightly, then transfer to airtight storage containers. Pork can be frozen for several months. To use, remove from freezer and allow to thaw completely, then warm in the microwave or gently on the stovetop. Don’t stir the pork a lot or the nice large pieces will fall apart. Serve over pasta or polenta, in sandwiches, in lasagna, a topping for pizza, in manicotti... ENJOY!
  9. Makes 3 ½-4 quarts.
Recipe Notes

*Pork shoulder usually comes as a large piece of meat. It’s the shoulder of the pig. It can be cumbersome and difficult to work with, not only because of the size, but also because it’s very fatty. “Country style pork ribs” are often pork shoulder that’s been trimmed and cut into thick slices. I love this because some of the fat has already been removed and the pieces are much easier to handle. You just have to be careful though as sometimes pork loin is used for country style pork ribs. It will usually say on the package but if it doesn’t, just check with your butcher. He will know whether it’s loin or shoulder. Loin is not as fatty but won’t produce as tender, melt in your mouth results either. You want the shoulder.
If you can’t find country style pork ribs, you could ask your butcher to slice a pork shoulder for you or you can do it yourself.
If you can’t find a boneless shoulder, or boneless country style ribs, allow a pound and half extra to compensate for the bones.
**If you don’t have a large cutting board, just lay a large piece of plastic wrap out on a work surface and lay pork on plastic wrap.
*** San Marzano tomatoes can be found in most larger grocery stores. They are Italian plum tomatoes grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius near the small Italian town of San Marzano. They are wonderful with a sweet flavor, low acidity, firm pulp, deep red color and a low seed count. Try to find them if you can. They more expensive but worth it! If you can’t find them, try to use canned plum tomatoes, if possible.
**** For the diced tomatoes in this recipe, I like to use rire-roasted diced tomatoes. Most major tomato canning companies produce fire-roasted tomatoes these days. Look for them along side the regular diced tomatoes. They have a depth of color and flavor that’s delicious. If you can’t find them, regular diced tomatoes will work.