Pork shoulder - skin on

This might sound a noob and silly question, but I have never ever cooked pork shoulder. I have only eaten it in US. However, it was on sale so I bought it, thinking about doing some pulled pork. The thing is: I don’t know if I should remove or not the skin and the fat layer below it. Should I remove it? Leave it?

Skin on is the way to go as you’ll end up with great cracklins’ However, sous vide is not the vehicle to get you there. SV is great for a lot of things, but some dishes really only shine with traditional ovens or, in the case of pork shoulder, a proper outdoor smoker or grill. Just my two cents!

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I don’t have a smoker or a grill. I live in a student accommodation, so only have an oven and hob (and of course, my anova). I don’t really care about cracklings though… And doing with an oven, means at least 4 hours, no? I don’t think I’ll be able to have the oven just for me for 4 hours…

I can only speak from personal experience, but I have had great luck with either boneless pork shoulder or boneless boston butt, trussed and skinless for sous vide, OR roasted in the oven for 2.5-3 hours skin on bone out.
The 2 issues I have run into have been specifically with the bone, choosing to remove it when present. The other being the fat as these are not lean pieces of meat.
Deboned, trimmed of skin but leaving a slight fat cap, rolled and trussed sous vide @165⁰ for 24 hours will leave the pork fork tender and juicy, finished by broiling in the oven to render most of the outside fat and put a slight crust on it. Oven time is then limited to about 15-20 minutes, depending on size. If the meat is chilled in the bag after the waterbath first before the oven, you get a better crust and reduce the amount of additional cooking of the meat.
If access to an oven is a problem, then I would suggest removing most of the fat and just sous viding the meat.
I know it might gall many of the purists here, but since I have limited access to a smoker, I have often used a smoke infused rub or a couple of splashes of liquid smoke in the bag with great success. (though the smoke does seem to leach out of the bag and into the water for some reason)

It may be 4 hours in the oven but close to 10 hours or more in SV.

The SV isn’t a problem because I only occupy a space on the table with my setup. I share the kitchen with other 5 people, and it’s rare to find the oven unused for more than 2 hours. That’s the problem. If I have to use the oven for like 40 minutes, it isn’t a problem. It becomes a problem when I need to use it for way longer.

Al, with your resources i’d follow Patre’s advice, except the boning. I would skip the added mess removing the bone makes along with the challenge of tying the meat together. Pack the meat in as small a bag you have that will accommodate it.

On a 24 hour cook cover your vessel to minimize evaporation. It may want to float so you should have a plan to keep it submerged and rotate it when you can as it cooks.


Sorry, completely forgot to mention. It’s already deboned. It’s also already tied… And keeping it down in water shouldn’t be a problem, I have some heavy spoons that I usually use when something decide to float.

Kenji’s recipes are pretty good. 24 hours it is!


Nestorph’s link sounds like a good one to me. But, if you live in student housing maybe you can borrow a slow cooker. Just put it in, as is …skin, fat and all, …pour a can of Coke over it and cook it on low for 8 hours. Remove from cooker, drain off fat and liquid then Shred it and add your favorite BBQ sauce or spice it as you like it.

I also like using the slow cooker for easy pulled pork, although my preferred cooking liquid is Root Beer. Start it in the morning and then go to work or run errands. Just a few minutes required to finish it off at dinnertime as per cece1061 above. Great served on buns with a quick coleslaw.

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I always cut the fat cap off before SV and I always get great results. There is enough fat in the rest of the meat that it will still be very moist. I also save a bit of the liquid to add back in so that it is mosit for days. This is the way I do it and it always produces stupidly moist pulled port.

The pork is also great a day or so later as left overs on bbq pulled pork pizza (another great student food) :slight_smile:


I live in an area where a lot of people do smoked pulled pork and my father was from an area where people do even more. I do the 24 hr recipe mentioned above leaving skin and fat cap on. Then lather again with spices and an hour with some hickory chips in a small smoker (it would work equally well in a closed grill) to get a crust. I’ve been told that doing it this way is better than some of the best. Oh, you get rid of the fat when you ‘pull.’

I leave it on too. It’s easier to pull off after cooking to me, and then I can decide how much to leave in during the pull. You can also do more like carnitas by broiling it after (and in my experience a bit more extra fat is good for that).

I guess you can make pizza with almost ingredients, I mean you can put any topping pizza dough and it would be still delicious (if you don’t ruin the crust though).
Never tried bbq pork pizza but thanks for the idea. At least now I know it won’t get spoiled and some smoky pizza is exactly what I needed today. I’m curious can I reheat it in pizza oven? Which temperature should I choose? I’m currently reading this page and this thread about pork, kinda confused.