Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

I was talking with my friend Chris about perfect meals for entertaining, and we went though the usual suspects: lasagnas, chili, tenderloins, and then he mentioned to me that his favorite  go-to entertaining dish was a pork butt or shoulder.  We talked about the best way to cook a pork shoulder roast: basically just letting it slow cook in the oven for ages at a very low temperature so  that it practically falls apart.

How to Cook Pork Shoulder Roast

Chris told me that long ago a chef has explained to him that meat likes to be cooked at around the temperature that it reached when it is done.

Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

While I don’t think that is always the case at all (flame kissed steaks and burgers anyone?), it made nice sense when I thought about it in terms of a big tough hunk of meat, like this boneless pork shoulder roast, which needs low and slow cooking to make it turn from impossibly tough to tender.  No amount of trying to rush the process will help, you’ve got to keep the heat low and the time long. 

Pork Butt Roast

You can also make this recipe and others like it with a pork butt roast or Boston Butt pork roast, which are actually also from the shoulder area, a little further up, but essentially a similar cut of meat.  

Slow Cooking Pork

When you slow cook pork shoulder in the oven, boneless or bone-in, you have a lot of flexibility, which is a delightful thing when entertaining.  In fact, the cooking time at this low temp could be stretched by an hour or two, and the roast wouldn’t be any worse for the wear.  So you can literally plunk it on the table whenever everyone is ready to eat.  And even though this recipes calls for boneless pork shoulder, which is a bit easier to cut, you can use bone-in pork shoulder which will cook in about the same amount of time.

Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

The best part?   This is free time you can spend reading, dancing, sleeping, cleaning a closet, saving kittens from trees.

A super tender slow cooked marinated pork shoulder roast recipe that is amazing on its own, and also can be used in so many ways.

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Low and Slow and Flexible

It bears repeating, because it’s one of the best things about this recipe: you can leave the roast in the very low oven for another hour or two or even three with no repercussions.  If you feel like it needs a bit more browning or caramelization at the end, turn the heat up to 450°F. for 15 minutes before pulling it out of the oven, and then do make sure to let it rest for a bit so that the fibers can relax a bit, and the juices re-group.

And do know that if all has gone as planned, the meat will be so tender that the slices won’t hold together.  That’s part of the appeal.

Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

What to Serve with Pork Shoulder Roast:

Leftovers are brilliant.  So endlessly useful to make amazing quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, soups, stews, sandwiches, and so on.

Serve Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic with:

Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

Other Pork Recipes:

Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard and Garlic

A super tender slow cooked marinated pork shoulder or butt roast recipe that is amazing on its own, and also can be used in so many ways. One of my go-to dishes for casual crowd entertaining.
Yield: 12 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 anchovies rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
  • 1 6-pound boneless pork shoulder trimmed of excess fat and tied


  • In a small food processor combine the garlic, anchovies, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and process until it forms a paste, scraping down the sides. Remove the blade and use a fork or spoon to stir in the mustard. Rub the paste all over the pork shoulder, loosely cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate from 2 to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and bring the pork to room temperature while the oven heats. Place the pork in a shallow roasting pan and roast, fat side down, for 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown a bit. Turn the heat down to 250°F and continue to cook for 6 to 8 hours until the middle of the roast registers 180°F. on an internal thermometer, and as you slide the thermometer in you can feel that the meat is very tender throughout. If there are juices in the pan (and I have found that sometimes there are and sometimes none) pour off the juices from the pan into a heatproof container, like a Pyrex measuring cup. Place this in the fridge, where the fat will rise to the top, while the meat rests.
  • When the meat is cooked, if you think that the outside of the roast could use a bit more crust/brownness, turn the heat back up to 450°F and let it cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, to give the outside a bit more of a crunchy texture.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for about 20 minutes. Spoon the fat off the reserved juices in the fridge and pour the cooking juices into a serving pitcher or bowl (warm it a bit in the microwave or in a small pot if you like). Slice the pork as thinly or thickly as you like, knowing the meat will fall apart at least slightly. Sprinkle the sliced meat with a bit of salt before serving, and pass the pan juices on the side to drizzle over.


Nutrition Information

Calories: 333.64kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.75g | Protein: 51.55g | Fat: 12.39g | Saturated Fat: 3.09g | Cholesterol: 136.68mg | Sodium: 539.9mg | Potassium: 869.92mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 9.75IU | Vitamin C: 0.49mg | Calcium: 22.27mg | Iron: 2.17mg

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  1. I saw the comment later about not covering it. I covered it and it was so tender. Although it was super oily. There was so much oil at the top of was almost too much. It’s that because I covered it?

    1. it was, partially ! you can cover it if you want, but take off the foil for the last hour or two of cooking. That will reduce the amount of oil, an dget it more crusty, though each piece of pork varies – some are much fattier than other.

  2. We made this today. Amazing flavor. I know you could do this in a crock pot, but I think the oven is better for this. The paste was just the cherry on top. We roasted sliced sweet potatoes, and zucchini to finish the meal. Tomorrow it will become Cuban sandwiches.

  3. I did a 6 pound pork butt(shoulder) roast. I get my meats from Butcher Box which is all organically raised and fed. I’m currently in Florida for the winter living in our RV, so I cooked the roast in my microwave/convention oven. I cooked it at 450 degrees for about 35 minutes, and for 7 hours on 250 degrees. Took it to my sisters place for a potluck dinner, and everyone loved it! I love this recipe and will definitely use it again and again!!! Thank you sooo much!

  4. A few comments – I preheated my roasting pan as the overn was preheating, so that the meat sizzled and caramelized when I put it in. I also flipped the meat so that the fat side was up after the first 30 minutes, and when I turned the temperature down, that way the fat permeates through the meat.

    1. you could absolutely do that. you could choose to sear it first, and then slow cook it for 6 to 8 hours on low depending opn size. I hjave a slow cooker fall apart pork recipe coming – stay tuned!

  5. After the first 30 minutes at 450, shouldn’t you turn it fat side up for the remainder of the roasting time? Marinated overnight and cooking this evening for the remainder of the week.

  6. Hello, I made this recipe but I brined the roast for 24 hours in a simple salt/sugar/smoked paprika/cayenne/rosemary mixture then covered it in your rosemary garlic glaze (substituted Thai fish sauce for anchovies as I didn’t have any) for another 24 hours. Cooked it to 181 degrees and it turned out perfect. I tried to brown it a bit more as per your recipe but it started to smoke a bit so had to stop it before the full 20 mins were up.

    I had to double check the cooked temp as some recipes say that pork is cooked at 140 degrees but apparently the collagen (not the fat) melts at 180-190 and it pulls apart easily. Lower cooked temps would have resulted in a tougher roast. Anyway, it was super flavourful and had a nice crust so thanks for the tips.

  7. I hadn’t bought a pork shoulder in years. This was delicious and made the house smell wonderful. My husband thought it was one of the best things I’ve ever made (in 45 years…). I was only able to marinate it for 2 hours and didn’t have the anchovies. I will definitely make this again—maybe for a crowd! I served it with roasted potatoes and vegetables.

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