Braised Pork Shoulder

4.78 from 50 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This braised pork shoulder recipe has it all. High flavor, low cost, and slow-cooked in the oven.

A pot of cooked meat in a red sauce.

What could be better? All of these factors make it one of our favorite pork recipes.

What is Braised Pork?

Braised Pork Shoulder is a dish that’s close to my heart. Delicious pork recipes are frequent flyers at our kitchen table. Things like the best smoked pork chops, roasted pork and fennel, and our popular harvest pork dinner.

When I talk about braising, I’m referring to a technique where you slowly cook a cut like pork shoulder or even a pork roast.

Braised” refers to a specific cooking method that involves two key steps:

  1. Searing: The food, typically meat or seared vegetables, is first browned at high heat in a pan with fat. This creates a flavorful crust through the Maillard reaction.
  2. Simmering in liquid: The seared food is then transferred to a covered pot and cooked slowly in a small amount of liquid, usually broth, wine, or beer. This helps tenderize the food and infuse it with flavor.
A plate of meat with a fork digging into it.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

This method turns tougher cuts, like a bone-in pork shoulder or picnic shoulder, into something extraordinarily tender. Think of it as the backbone of many comfort dishes, from pulled pork to hearty pork stews.

You’ll find the same technique in our braised beef, braised meatballs, braised stew, and even Julia Child’s recipe for beef bourguignon.

This savory Boston butt dinner will feed your family and guests for just a couple of dollars per serving. It is loaded with savory flavors and vegetables and perfect for Sunday dinner or weeknight meals.

What’s In Braised Pork?

For my go-to recipe for Boston Butt, I use a 2.5 lbs pork shoulder, often referred to as a Boston butt or pork butt. This cut, especially if it’s a bone-in shoulder, has a fat cap that adds incredible flavor.

A bunch of uncooked meat and other ingredients.

The supporting ingredients for making braised pork shoulder include household staples like:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Aromatic Vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, and garlic cloves). These make up a mirepoix, the base for many things like soup recipes.

Seasonings like kosher salt and black pepper are essential, and flour is used to thicken the sauce. We also show you other ways to thicken sauces for this braised pork and other recipes.

The braising liquid is a rich mix of red wine (Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon work wonderfully) and beef broth. For a twist, apple cider can be used for an apple cider braised pork shoulder.

Parsley and bay leaves are added for fresh herbs’ flavor.

A pot of chunks of meat with a bunch of parsley.

How to Braise Pork?

Before cooking, you should pat the pork dry with paper towels and trim any excess fat.

Braising pork starts with cutting the pork shoulder into chunks as shown in the above picture. I always recommend using a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board for this.

Cut the meat into about six large chunks. If you have a piece of butt with the bone it, even better! The bone will add flavor and texture throughout the braising process.

You then sear the meat chunks in a large skillet or Dutch oven like a Le Creuset Dutch oven at medium-high heat. Getting that golden brown crust is key – it’s all about the Maillard reaction!

Some raw chunks of meet sitting in a pot of melted butter.
Use a large Dutch oven and work in batches.
Some browned meat in a pot.
Sear the chunks of meat on all sides, over medium-high heat until a golden crust develops. This takes about 3 minutes. Then, set the seared meat aside.

Sweat the Aromatics

Sweat your aromatics next, adding the remaining ingredients to build layers of flavor.

A pot of diced carrots, onions and salary.
Reduce the heat and use the same Dutch oven to sweat a mirepoix of carrots, onion, and celery.
Stirring an uncooked mirepoix in a pot.
When sweating vegetables, the goal is to merely soften them without caramelizing them or making them turn brown.

Add Tomato Past and Flour

After the mirepoix softens, add some tomato paste to the skillet and stir it around until it cooks for a few minutes and turns darker.

Stirring some vegetables in a pot.
Browning tomato paste will add depth and flavor to it.
Adding flour to a pot of vegetables.
Cooking the flour for a minute or two takes away its raw taste.

Pro Cooking Tip

Browning and cooking tomato paste will add depth and flavor to any recipe that uses it.

Once your tomato paste is nicely caramelized, use a fine mesh strainer and sprinkle some flour into the bottom of the skillet and stir it around for a couple of minutes. This is a great way to add flour to any recipe if you don’t want it to clump.

This is a great way to thicken sauces for when you’re making a roux or delicious gravy recipe. The flour will help add body to the braised pork shoulder and slightly cooking it first will take away the raw taste of the flour.

Add the Braising Liquid

The crucial part is the braising liquid: too much liquid, and you boil the meat; too little, and it dries out.

Pouring red wine into a bot of vegetables.

I usually fill it just enough to come halfway up the meat. Then, the covered pot goes into the oven, where the meat cooks in this moist environment, a stark contrast to dry heat methods like roasting.

A pot of meat with a bunch of parsley on it.

For those who prefer a modern approach, an Instant Pot can also be a great way to braise pork.

Variations and Substitutions

This recipe for braised pork shoulder is incredibly versatile. You can switch the pork shoulder out for different cuts of pork, like pork loin or pork tenderloin, although these leaner cuts might not be as tender.

Some chunks of meat in a sauce.

If you’re on a medically restrictive diet or a specific calorie diet, adjustments can be made, like reducing the amount of oil or butter used. If you’re aiming for a lower temperature cooking method, consider a slow cooker or a crock pot.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

For pulled pork or pork sandwiches, cook until the meat is so tender it shreds easily with a fork. Add some bbq sauce for a classic American twist.

How do You Serve This?

There are countless ways to serve braised pork. Shred it for pulled pork tacos, a favorite for personal consumption and easy dinner parties. Serve it on a wooden board for a rustic feel, perfect for pork sandwiches.

Overhead view of a plate of meat, bread, and dumplings.

Pair this simple braised pork recipe with sides that complement its richness, like crusty bread, potato salad, or homemade potato dumplings. For a healthier twist, try it with fried cabbage or this delicious steamed kale.

And remember, if you’re using a bone-in pork shoulder, the internal temperature is key as this will take longer to cook; use an instant-read thermometer to ensure it’s cooked perfectly. According to Pork should be cooked to a minimum of 145° or 66° C.

Dipping some crusty bread. into a pot of braised beef.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I braise pork shoulder?

Braising pork shoulder in an oven typically takes about three hours at 350°F. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature for doneness.

Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes! A slow cooker is perfect for braising, especially if you’re busy. Just sear the meat beforehand for the best flavor.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Cool the pork to room temperature before wrapping it in plastic wrap or placing it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated and is even more flavorful the next day.

A pot of braised beef garnished with parsley.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Remember, every time you cook, it’s an opportunity to tweak and make a recipe your own. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned cook, each dish tells a story. I can’t tell you how many readers have reached out to say they love this braised pork shoulder recipe, and I know you will too.

Experiment with different herbs, spices, or even a splash of white wine. Enjoy the process and the delicious recipe you create!

Taking a forkful of meat.

👨‍🍳 Tried this Recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. We love hearing from our readers!
⏩ Stay in touch with us on social media by following us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!
📬Get our Recipes delivered to your inbox for FREE!

Braised Pork Shoulder

4.78 from 50 votes
This savory braised pork shoulder is inexpensive, easy, and delicious. Try this fall family meal for Sunday dinner or a weeknight supper.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 8


  • 2.5 lbs Pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 6 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 2 cups Beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 bunch Parsley, tied
  • 2 Bay leaves


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut pork shoulder into five or six large chunks. Heat olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven, over medium-high setting. Working in batches, sear the pork chunks on all sides until they have a light golden-brown crust. Remove pork and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add onion, celery, and carrot. Sweat the mirepoix for about five minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown slightly. Then, sprinkle the flour in the pan and cook it for a couple of minutes as well. Add the red wine and cook to reduce slightly.  Return the pork chunks to the Dutch oven.
  • Add enough beef broth until it reaches the top of the pork but does not cover it. Add parsley and bay leaves, cover the Dutch oven and place in oven for three hours or until fork tender. Allow the meat to rest for five minutes and then serve.



  • Discard parsley and bay leaves before serving.
  • If you’re not a fan of pork, try an inexpensive cut of beef in this recipe instead. Braising takes tough meat and tenderizes until it’s soft and delicious!


Calories: 495kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 1282mg, Potassium: 720mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2110IU, Vitamin C: 14.3mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 3.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

The photos and text of this recipe have been updated from the original post of October 12, 2018.

More Delicious Pork Recipes

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

Get new recipes sent to your inbox!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Is it ok to add extra items like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms or will it mess it up?

    1. Hi Lisa, no, it won’t mess it up. If you add these things, but that will make it more like a stew, which will still be delicious. You can also consider serving any one of those extra items as a side dish! I hope you enjoy this recipe 🙂

    1. Yes. Absolutely. But, one warning. It may taste even better after the flavors get more acquainted! Enjoy!!

    2. Oh my God, YES! It’s even better on day two. I usually increase the sauce by half so there is enough to serve over knödl the next day.

  2. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! Thank you for sharing! My husband told me 10 times how much he loved it! Definitely will make this again!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious. Printed out this recipe to keep in my binder (I only do that for the best and this definitely qualifies) – thank you for the recipe. I added a few more carrots and added 12 ounces of baby potatoes about an hour into the braising process.

    1. Tyler, it sounds like you took this recipe and made it your own, which is what I always encourage our readers to do. Well done!!! And thanks for the great feedback.