How to brine a pork shoulder

Written by tamara christine van hooser | 13/05/2017
How to brine a pork shoulder
The best pork shoulder cuts have a layer of fat on the bottom. (carving pork meat. meat in the market.smoked pork image by L. Shat from

If you are looking for a way to improve your pork shoulder's flavour, texture and moisture, you will want to try brining, the classic French method of curing and marinating pork. The simple process of creating the brine and soaking the meat means you can brine a pork shoulder without a lot of time and hassle.

Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the pork shoulder. Do not put the pork in the pot yet.

Stir the salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, clove, allspice berries, garlic and thyme into the water. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Let cool.

Pierce the pork in several places and place it in a deep basin. Pour the brine mixture over the pork, coating well on all sides. Weight it down if necessary and cover the pot with the lid or aluminium foil.

Refrigerate and soak pork in brine for three to five days depending on the amount you are preparing. Remove it from the pot and rinse in cold water. Pat dry.

Roast, boil, or braise the brined pork for 20 minutes per pound of meat or until the internal temperature reaches 73.9 to 76.7 degrees Celsius (165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit).

Things you need

  • 273 g (1 cup) salt
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.36 to 1.81 kg (3 to 4 lb) pork shoulder
  • water
  • 1 large pot with a lid
  • 1 large deep basin
  • Sharp knife or butcher's needle
  • Aluminium foil
  • Meat thermometer

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