When the temperature dips, it's hard to go wrong with this Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder

Southern Kitchen
Cider-braised pork shoulder

About the recipe

In a traditional braise, you’ll see red or white wine used to deglaze, or lift, some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. During the fall and winter months, though, it’s hard to go wrong pairing sweet apple cider with hearty pork shoulder. After the pork has finished cooling in the braising liquid, reducing the braising liquid concentrates the sauce and allows the apple cider flavor to come through even more.

Serves: 6 to 8

Hands On Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes


1 (2- to 3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, cut into pieces about the size of your fist

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

5 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves and 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine

2 cups apple cider

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup whole-grain mustard

4 cups chicken stock

Cooked grits or polenta, for serving

Chopped chives, for serving


Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Liberally season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable oil to the hot pot. In batches if necessary, add the pork to the pot and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Once the pork is browned, transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pork, if needed. 

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, garlic and herbs. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple cider, vinegar and mustard, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and return pork to the pot. Return the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pork is tender, about 3 hours.

Let the pork cool to room temperature in its braising liquid.