Things I like to make in my Dutch Oven(s): Volume 2

Another of my favorite things to make in a Dutch Oven is Pulled Pork.  This is one of the easiest recipes I make, but it always tastes amazing.  I found this recipe in the April 2010 issue of Everyday Food magazine – and it’s the recipe that had me hooked enough to subscribe.  They have FANTASTIC weekly dinner suggestions complete with shopping list.  They also plan for leftovers to be used another way later in the week.  This recipe was the basis for using pulled pork in at least 3 different ways – we tried, and loved, the recipes for tacos, sandwiches, and ragu.

{Easy Pork Shoulder} via Everyday Food, April 2010

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, plus cooling
  • Yield: Makes 8 to 10 cups


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (7 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper (I use a fine ground Celtic Sea salt from France, and it works great, too)
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a sharp knife, score the fat (but not the meat) on 1 boneless pork shoulder (7 pounds) in a diamond pattern. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Place pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven with 1/2 cup water.Roast until some fat has rendered, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

    Tightly cover pan with foil or a lid. Cook until meat is very tender, about 4 hours.

    When cool enough to handle, remove fat from top of roast. Using two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. (Or you can fight over who gets to nibble on the crispy bits, like Matt and I do.)


How to store: Refrigerate shredded meat in airtight containers, up to 3 days, or freeze in 2- or 3-cup portions, up to 3 months. If desired, reserve fat and render by cooking over low heat until mostly liquid. Strain and refrigerate; use in place of oil.

Want smaller portions? Don’t have 5 hours to cook?

My fiancé and I rarely splash out for a whole 7 lbs of meat, especially if it’s not on sale or in the BOGO meat bin at our favorite local grocery store.  That kind of cut rarely makes it into that category, so when we do find pork shoulder roasts on sale, we buy them, even if they’re only 2-3 lbs.  The beauty of this recipe is that it still works for smaller roasts, with some minor tweaking.  Through trial and error on about 6 of these smaller roasts over the last year, I’ve been able to adjust the time to get the same results.  Here are the changes:

  1. Season your roast exactly like it says above, but use less water.  If your roast is 3 lbs or under, I’d use 1/4 cup, to be sure you keep the moisture level up inside the Dutch Oven.  If your roast is over 3 lbs but under 6 lbs, you can add a little more water, but keep under 1/2 cup unless you like your pulled pork a bit soggy.
  2. For the initial roast at 450˚ cut the roasting time in half.  A 2-3 lb roast should render fat and gain a nice crispiness at 20-25 minutes.  3-6 lbs, you should leave it longer, but don’t let it go the full 45 minutes.
  3. The lid of your Dutch Oven is better to use than foil, since it traps the moisture better and creates the “oven within an oven” effect that you want. Leave the lid on while cooling, or it may dry out.
  4. Final covered roasting of a 2-3 lb roast will only take 1.5 – 2 hours.  Check it with your meat thermometer after 1.5 hours and check again every 15 minutes to estimate how much longer it will take to be done.  Pork is considered well done with an internal temp at 165˚ but since you’re leaving it to cool within the pan, 150-160˚ is more ideal, since the meat’s juices will redistribute and the temp will rise by itself.  Be sure to check the internal temp before you start shredding, just to be sure of it for safety, as conditions will vary in each kitchen (room temp, elevation, etc).
  5. A 2-3 lb roast should feed two people for two meals each.
The next recipe I’d like to try with this pulled pork is one from a local Seattle pub, Smith (which is one of my favorite places to go for weekend brunch!).  They haven’t served these in a few years, but I’d love for them to put them back on the menu.  In the meantime, I’ll have to make them myself with a recipe I made up based on my memory of these amazing little morsels.  Amounts of ingredients will vary depending on how ambitious you want to be.
{Stuffed Olives}
  • Extra large green olives in a jar (without pimiento if you can find them, otherwise remove pimientos)
  • Pulled Pork
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Panko
  • Oil for deep frying (You should use an oil with a high smoke point, so olive oil is out.  I like safflower oil, because of its neutral flavor and 509˚ smoke point.
Drain olives and remove any stuffing (pimientos, almonds, olives, etc).  Let them air on a layer of paper towels for a few minutes until mostly dry.
Stuff small amounts of pulled pork into the pit hole (this amount will vary based on the size of the olive).
When all of the olives have been stuffed, you’ll begin the breading process. (This part was taken from
The standard breading procedure includes three steps: dredging in flour, moistening in egg wash (beaten egg plus a tablespoon or two of water or milk), then coating in breadcrumbs like Panko. Doing it this way ensures the breading actually sticks to the food instead of falling off in the hot oil.
Figure out what direction you’re most comfortable working in, whether that’s right-to-left or left-to-right. Then arrange three dishes in that order: the flour first, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. My preference is left-to-right, but any number of variables, including how your kitchen is configured, might make the other way preferable for you.

Dredge the Item in Flour, Transfer to the Egg Wash, Toss in Seasoned Bread Crumbs

With your left hand (assuming you’re working left-to-right), dredge or roll the item in flour and shake off any excess. Your left hand is going to be your “dry hand,” while your right hand is going to be your “wet hand.” So when you transfer the item to the egg wash dish, try not to get your left hand wet. Otherwise, when you go to dredge the next item in flour, you’ll make a big mess.
Now, when you go to remove the item from the egg wash, switch hands. Use your wet hand (your right hand) to take the item out of the egg wash, let any excess egg drip off, and then transfer it to the dish with the bread crumbs. Toss it in the bread crumbs until it is thoroughly coated. Now repeat the steps for all the items to be breaded.I like to season the Panko with salt as well as herbs and spices appropriate for whatever I’m cooking.

Chill for 15 Minutes
Chilling helps the breading really take hold. What happens is that the flour sticks to the food, and the egg wash sticks to the flour. Finally, the bread crumbs stick to the egg wash.When you’re done, make sure you discard any leftover breading ingredients, especially the breadcrumbs that have had raw egg in them.

Fry in Hot Oil Until Golden Brown

Fill a heavy-bottomed sauté pan {or a Dutch Oven!}with enough oil to come about halfway up the side of the thing you’re frying. Use safflower oil or another high-heat oil. Heat the oil until a few breadcrumbs sizzle when tossed in. If your pan is small, fry in batches rather than overcrowd the pan.

Fry for a minute or two, until golden brown on the bottom. Then flip and repeat. Drain on paper towels and serve. Yum.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ginger on April 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

    The sea salt I use sounds fancy, but totally isn’t. It’s by Eden Foods and costs about $5 for a big 14 oz jar of it, which lasts about 3-4 months for us. I use it almost exclusively, save for a few fancy salt splurges like Malden, but those are for finishing only.


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