Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rotisserie Pork Shoulder with Smoked-Oil Rub

Pork roast and a rotisserie were meant for each other. A low fire, slow cooking, and continuous self-basting in its own juices turn this hunk of meat into the most popular guest at the dinner table.

Loin roasts are the most common cuts of pork for cooking on a rotisserie because they’re lean and you can cook them at a higher temperature in much less time—pink inside means juicy tender for a loin cut.

But I prefer that low, slow method of turning a fattier, tougher piece of pork into some of the most flavorful, succulent meat you can feast on. That’s where pork shoulder comes in. This is the cut typically braised for hours in a low-temperature oven, then pulled into tender shreds before serving. You can get the same results with a rotisserie. Just give it time—starting with a deliciously smoky and spicy rub.

I received a bottle of Spanish smoked olive oil as a gift and couldn’t wait to try it. One taste and I was hooked. While you could use it by itself as a finishing drizzle over grilled steak or chicken, I thought it would also make a great marinade for slow-roasted pork.

Combining the oil with a few spices—including smoked sea salt—makes a bold, smoky slurry that you can then rub all over the meat and refrigerate for at least four hours. Overnight—even better. Of course, if you can’t find smoked olive oil or smoked sea salt, regular olive oil and sea salt mixed with the other spices will still make one flavorful, penetrating rub for the pork.

Smoked Oil
Smoked Sea Salt
About 15 minutes before removing the meat from the grill, I brushed it with a simple sweet and spicy glaze made with jalapenos and maple syrup—but only enough to give the meat a glossy finish. The biggest flavor comes from the smokiness and that beautiful crispy bark on the outside and tender deliciousness on the inside.

How to serve it? The rotisserie pork shoulder isn’t firm enough to slice, like a pork loin, so I used a fork to pull it into bite-sized chunks and served it with warm tortillas. Instant carnitas. You also can use it to top mashed potatoes or polenta, or serve it as is with a side of black beans or steamed rice. However you plate it, the meat will be the star of dinner.

Poultry is great on a rotisserie too. Check out Homemade Rotisserie Rosemary-Chicken.

Makes about 8 servings

  • 3 tbsp smoked olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 3-lb pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat cap trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Pork Shoulder 
Glaze Ingredients
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through smoked salt) in a bowl, stirring well to form a thick slurry.
  2. Rub the oil mixture all over the pork shoulder, massaging it in to any crevices and coating completely. (Note: If you have a rolled roast that needs to be secured with kitchen string, do that now.) 
  3. Place the roast on a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. (For even deeper flavor, refrigerate overnight.)
Smoked Oil Rub
Rubbed Pork Ready to Marinate
Marinated Pork
  1. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking with a rotisserie, maintaining about a 300°–325° F temperature.
  2. Secure the pork roast on the spit and grill, covered, 2-1/2 hours.
Pork Beginning to Grill
Pork Beginning to Grill2 
Grilled Pork
  1. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the jalapeno and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and orange juice and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cook until the glaze has slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.
Jalapeno and Garlic 
Remaining Ingredients Added
Cooked Glaze
  1. Baste the pork with some of the glaze about 30 minutes before the meat has finished cooking. Brush with the remaining glaze about 5 minutes before removing it from the grill.
Glazed Pork 
Let the Pork Rest
Remove the pork from the spit and let rest 10 minutes. Use a fork to pull it into chunks and serve hot.

Rotisserie Pork Shoulder with Smoked-Oil Rub