Overnight Pork Roast


6 – 8 People

Ready In:

9 hours 35 min


If you’ve heard the term “pork butt” being thrown around, this (and not the pig’s behind) would be it. No, really, it is the shoulder.

How did it come to have the name of a rear end? Most likely from a wooden barrel of a particular size, known as a butt, in which butchers in New England put cuts such as ham and shoulder for storage and transport. But we digress.

Back to the more important business of this tasty and versatile cut. Technically, the shoulder and butt come from the same basic region of the pig but from opposite ends. The shoulder is cut from the thinner section, which means it has slightly less fat and is better for cooking and slicing whole. Pork butt, on the other hand, is cut from the thicker part of the shoulder. The fat content is usually around 20 percent, which results in a juicy roast, and it’s also excellent in stews, curries, pies and potjies. Pork shoulder can be bought whole (for pulled pork or potjie), with or without bones, or cut into smaller sections for roasts and chops. It can also be ground into mince.

This part of the pig tends to have slightly darker flesh than the leaner cuts as the muscles in the shoulder area do more work than those in the back.

1 large pork shoulder on the bone (about 2,5 kg)
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds,crushed
Large sprig rosemary, finely chopped
Large sprig thyme, finely chopped


Serve it with crushed, roasted baby potatoes with lots of sage, rosemary and thyme
Baby carrots and green beans



Place the pork, skin side down, in a roasting tray and fill a third of the way with water. Add the fennel seeds, salt and pepper and bring to the boil on the stovetop. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in a generous splash of oil until soft. Add all the other ingredients and fry for a minute. Cool slightly.

Remove the pork from the water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place it on a double sheet of heavy foil. Rub the meat all over with salt and pepper, and then spread the pan mixture over the meaty side. Wrap the pork tightly in foil by bringing the sides up and over the top, so no juices can leak out. Place it in a roasting tray.

Roast the pork at 130°C for 8-10 hours or overnight, until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Carefully remove the pork from the oven and from the foil parcel, taking care not to lose any juices. (The juices are perfect to make gravy or to drizzle over the meat.)

Place the pork on a low rack in the oven and grill, skin side up, for 20 minutes, or until the crackling is super-crisp and blistered.

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