Cooking a picnic (pork) roast

Yesterday our neighbor presented us with a picnic (pork) roast. He’d been freaked out by the recent dog food recall and he’s got a friend who works for a local supermarket, so he loaded up some roasts to feed his dog.

Now that the problem with the dog food has been resolved, he’s a man with a lot of meat that has nowhere to go :), so he gave us one of these picnic roasts.

I can’t make up my mind what I want to do with it - should I slow cook it in the crockpot, or should I get a small smoker and do it that way? What seasonings should I use? The desired end result will be pulled pork sandwiches, but I’m not sure which way to go with it.

Recipes? Advice? Help?

IINM, picnic roast is the same as shoulder roast.

It has a bone, a ton of meat, and a large slab of “fat” that sort of encases it, mostly on one side.

If that’s what you’re talking about, it’s one of the most succulent, awesome cuts of meat out there. I think it has the perfect meat to fat ratio for keeping it moist, but not too fatty.

What I do is liberally apply salt & pepper, and some herbs to the outside of the meat.

I heat my charcoal grill using the “indirect” method. Coals on the outside. The roast goes in the middle over a drip pan. I’ll have the grill cranked for a while, but then I shut the valves a little, and cook it for 4+ hours until a thermometer gives about 160-180.

I add coals every hour.

Then, I shred the meat using two forks, and voila, pulled pork. It’s moist, flavorful, and a canvas for an enormous array of possibilities at this point.

Pork burritos, with mole sauce and black beans.

Pork sandwiches with a classic sweet/tomato sauce.

Pork sandwiches with a Carolina vinegar/mustard sauce.

Just a pile of pork that you can eat with a tangy cole slaw.

You can probably roast this in an oven. . .start it at 500, and roll it back to maybe 250? There are lots of recipes for this, probably mostly in barbeque books.

I’m not a big fan of smoking, but you can probably do that too. When you shred the meat, the crusty outside parts get mixed with the moist inside parts for a great melding of flavors/textures.

Awesome cut of meat.

That’s the cut I am talking about, but I can’t grill it. Which is why I was asking about smoking or cooking in the crockpot. Can’t decide.

So now that it’s no longer fit for his dogs, he gives it to you. :stuck_out_tongue:
Somebody would have posted it, if not I.

From your OP, I get the impression that you have a slowcooker but not a smoker. In that case, I’d go with the slow cooker. And you should invite me over, I love pork.

I’d probably lean towards oven-roasting it instead of crock pot. You have that option don’t you?

But, I never do anything in a crock pot. The ones I’ve done wouldn’t fit in most crock pots.

I do pork roasts on top of the stove. First I brown it, then I add an inch or so of water and put the top on. They come out sooooo yummy.

Yes! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

But we understand, we love our dogs too. And he’ll get some of the finished product (his wife died a couple years ago, so he’s on his own in the cooking department a good part of the time), so there is something in it for him. :slight_smile:

As for the cooking methods:

I do have a grill, but it would be a gaint pain in the ass to slow-cook on it - it’s not designed for that, so that’s out.

I have a crockpot and an oven and I’m not adverse to purchasing a small smoker because I can think other things I’d like to try with it. So it’s gotta be one of those methods, I just cannot decide which one is going to give me the more desirable end result.

I’ve heard of doing this, but I don’t have a Dutch oven and don’t want to buy one, so unless I can borrow one I’ll have to stick with one of the other methods.

Cut it into fist-sized chunks, cut off as much fat as you can, and stew it slowly in a can or two of Las Palmas green enchilada sauce. Maybe add a peeled clove or two of garlic. When it’s very tender, like in say 2-3 hours, serve it up with refried beans and corn tortillas.

This is lazy man’s chile verde, and it’s extremely good.

Wow, that’s completely new and different. And it sounds tasty.

I’ve done this super simple crock pot recipe a couple of times to great results. Caveat: I always make my own BBQ sauce to go with it - so that’s part of why it’s so good. But this is a decent easy recipe.

That cut is used to make pernil.

I make one a few times a year (holidays usually) and it’s always a huge hit with my husband’s family, who had never had Puerto Rican cuisine before I moved out here. It’s definitely one of my favorite meals.

The leftovers make a great Cuban sandwich.

Easiest and most delicious pork EVAH. Place it in the center of a sheet of alum. foil on a broiling pan or even a cookie sheet and dust with a pork rub. I use the McCormick type. Place the meat so the fat is on top and seal tightly in the foil by folding the top and ends very close to the meat (keeps the juices close to the meat)
Put it in the oven on 225 for about four hours (if I plan to eat at 6:00 I usually start at noon), a little more if you like. It will just be all the more tender. Then, just before you are ready to remove it, take it out, open the top (watch out for steam) and fold back enough to expose the top but not so much as to let the juice escape. Turn oven on BROIL at maybe 400 and put it back in for 15 or so minutes to kinda brown the top. Remove from oven, kinda pinch top closed to keep in the juices and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to cool and reabsorb the juices.
Oh.My.God. The best tasting, most tender ever and minutes to prepare and minutes to clean up.
A MUST try!

My most recent attempt was this:

Combine maybe 1/4 cup cooking sherry, 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, maybe 1/8 cup olive oil, and a crapload of garlic. Simmer these a bit and pour out into a crockpot or Dutch oven, leaving a bit of oil-and-goo still in the pan. Brown the roast on this, cook with a bit of water (another half-cup; I know this sounds like a lot of liquid but you can make gravy out of it later) slowly until it reaches the proper temperature in the center. I think you can stop at 155 and let it rest.

Personally I like my pork in chops form, but this is acceptable too. :smiley:

Those were on sale at my local grocery store a while back, so I bought a couple. Not having any clue about the specific cuts, but knowing I wanted pulled pork, I just trimmed most of the fat off the meat and most of the meat off the bone, and then put the meat in my slowcooker along with a few peeled cloves of garlic. When it was done, I just tore it up with some forks, and it’s pretty decent. Nothing spectacular, but didn’t take much work either.

Very similiar to what I do except the broiler bit and I may try that. You don’t have to do much, just cook it like a regular roast and it’s great.

Make cochinita pibil, a Mexican slow cooked pork specialty from the Yucatan.

Get some achiote paste (usually sold under brands like El Yucateco). Use half a 3.5 oz package, and mix with 1/4 cup of bitter orange (naranja agria) juice or lime juice to form a thickish paste. Line a Dutch oven with plantain/banana leaves (usually found in the frozen section of the supermarket. If you don’t have a significant Mexican or Puerto Rican or Cuban population in your neighborhood, it may be hard to find.) Place the pork in the the Dutch oven, pour over the marinade and rub all over. Cut up a large onion in 1/4 inch slices, place over the pork, fold over the plantain leaves (add more if necessary) to completely encase the meat. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the Dutch oven.

Cook at 325-350 for 3-5 hours. Shred. Toss with juices in bottom of Dutch oven. Serve with pickled red onions (thinly slice onions, pour over with lime juice and dash of salt), habanero sauce, and warm tortillas.

Oh, I should add, my absolute favorite way of preparing a picnic shoulder is by smoking it and making Carolina-style pulled pork. However, if you don’t have a smoker you’re comfortable using, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you know what you’re doing, keep the smoker at 225-275F, cook for about 6-12 hours (depending on how big the piece is). If you like your pork pulled, cook until you reach an internal temp of 195 (I know that seems extremely high, but that’s correct). If you prefer chopped pork, you’re fine at 170-ish (you need to give the pork time to let its collagen and fat to render.)

I use a simple rub of equal parts salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin. Sometimes I add half part of celery seed and garlic powder. (No sugar in my rub, although a lot of people do like to use brown sugar.) I don’t use a “mop,” but some folks like to baste the meat every so often.

I smoke over hickory and white oak. Occassionally I will use some cherry or apple wood in the mix. I do not use mesquite for pork, as it’s too assertive. About four fist-sized chunks of wood (along with hardwood lump charcoal) in a vertical water smoker is enough for flavor.

Ideally, this is what I’d like to do, but since I don’t currently have a smoker, I’d have to invest in one first to get exactly the right flavor. That’s why I am debating other methods, and the Mexican/Puerto Rican recipes in this thread are quite intriguing too, though I am not interested in buying a Dutch oven, so I’m probably looking at their oven roasting or smoking.