Last year I was searching for the best way to roast prime rib when I found this on Serious Eats.com. It’s a great discussion of what searing does to a roast (it doesn’t seal in juices, if that’s what you’re thinking). And then it has a set of experiments testing to find the perfect roast. What they were seeking was an evenly cooked piece of meat with a nice brown crust. They achieved it by doing something that I found backwards. Because it is backwards:
They seared the meat at the end rather than at the beginning.
I have since applied this method many times to roast beef and I’m here to tell you that it’s brilliant. The meat is an evenly cooked perfect pink throughout and the crust is dark and crunchy. The crisp crust is because the roast goes straight from the very hot oven to the table with no time to rest, steam and lose that texture.
Today I’m sharing how to apply this same basic technique to roasting pork. Let me tell you, the reverse-sear is even more amazing with pork. You get a soft juicy inside (nearly as soft as pulled pork) and all kinds of good crunchy meat and fat on the outside. Here’s how to do it:
This how-to is for pork roasts that have some marbling. Look for a pork butt or a pork shoulder (boneless or with bone). Don’t try it with a loin. Just don’t.
1) Take your pork roast out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven temperature to 300°F.
2) If your pork roast has a thick layer of fat on the outside, cut all but a thin layer away so that it’s a thinner coating.
Tip: Don’t throw this fat out. Season it lightly with salt and then put it in a single layer in a cake pan (something with edges because a lot of hot fatty liquid is going to come out of it). Roast it in the 300°F oven until some fat is rendered. Drain off the fat and keep roasting until very crispy. Check it every 30 minutes or so. When it’s crisp and lightly browned blot it on kitchen towel and then break it into pieces. Try hard not to eat it all yourself.
3) Season the pork roast all over with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
When my mom and dad were doing roasts for catering gigs I’d watch them prepare these huge cuts of meat. My mom seemed to be putting a ton of seasoning on the outside. I asked about the amounts and my mom said, “Always put more pepper and garlic than you think you need. But not as much salt.” To accomplish this I do a good sprinkling of salt all over and then a more liberal seasoning of pepper and of garlic powder. Then I go in with a bit more pepper and a bit more garlic to make sure that I’m following my mom’s advice.
Tip: Measure out the salt, pepper and garlic into a small bowl and mix it up. Now you can season directly from the bowl without worrying if your hands touch the roast in between rounds of seasoning. For a 5lb. roast I measure 1 teaspoon salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. I use all of the mixture but if you have some leftover, discard it.
4) Put the roast in a large roasting pan, fat-side-up. Add about a half inch of low or no-salt-added chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast it uncovered.
For how long? You’re not aiming for a medium-rare pork here. You want that really tender meat like for pulled pork. But you don’t want it to be so tender that it actually pulls when you try to slice it. Aim for about 180°F internal temperature. That will be about 40 minutes per pound at 300°F.
Use an instant read thermometer (I really like this one, it’s inexpensive and works well) to check it after 25 minutes per pound and then again every 5 minutes per pound after that. So if you have a 5 pound roast, you’ll check it after 125 minutes (about 2 hours) and then every 25 minutes or so after that. It will probably take 3 and 1/2 hours to get to 180°F.
5) When the broth evaporates and has left a light brown layer on the bottom of the pan, add more (or add water).
Tip: You want to add enough liquid so that it goes back up the sides of the pan. This is to dissolve any brownings on the sides of the pan from the previous round of broth. You want all of this brown flavor in your eventual gravy.
6) Put the roast back into the oven. When the liquid level gets low again, add more liquid again.
7) When it gets to 180°F, take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for 30-40 minutes. It will be fine for up to an hour.
This is important because this is the only time the roast will rest. Don’t skip this step.
Tip: Use this resting time to finish off your other side dishes and make the gravy using that gorgeous brown liquid. Here’s my method for making a perfect gravy using drippings like the ones you have from this roast.
8) Preheat the oven to 475°F.
9) Put the roast into a clean roasting pan or onto a baking sheet and put it into the hot oven for 13-17 minutes, uncovered.
You want the outside to get really nice and brown and the fat to get crunchy.
Tip: You can use the same roasting pan you used the first time but rinse it well beforehand.
10) Carve and serve.
It already rested back in step 7 so don’t let it rest now. Carve it immediately.
Tip: Use an inexpensive electric carving knife like this one to carve roasts. It shreds the meat less and you can get thin slices with an even thickness.
11) Eat :)
Isn’t that the coolest way to roast pork? It’s low and slow so that it’s tender, just the way you want it. And the outside is all brown and crunchy and full of flavor. I’m never going to roast pork another way.
Here the whole How to Roast Pork tutorial in printable form. Just click print below.
This is a method for how to roast pork so that it is juicy and tender on the inside and had a gorgeous brown crust on the outside. It works perfectly every time!
*Tip: Use an inexpensive electric carving knife like this one to carve roasts. It shreds the meat less and you can get thin slices with an even thickness.