Pork shoulder sous-vide

I’ve made pork shoulder sous-vide before, and that was pretty good in a tender medium-rare style (cooked at 55C/131F for 48 hours). This time I wanted a “braised” texture, and so tried 36 hours at 65C/149F as advised in Modernist Cuisine. It came out very nice: juicy and so tender you could eat it with a fork. Here’s what I did.

I used a piece of boneless pork shoulder with some nice marbling. The meat will turn out dry if you use very lean meat in this preparation.

First I made a rub of some fresh sage leaves, salt and a tiny bit of garlic powder, pounded to a pulp in a mortar and pestle. (Go easy on the garlic because of the long cooking time!)

Then I rubbed the meat with this mixture and sealed it into a pouch.

I cooked it for 36 hours at 65C/149F.

Then I dried the meat, coated it in olive oil and seared it briefly (20 seconds per side) on a very hot griddle.

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5 thoughts on “Pork shoulder sous-vide

  1. Hi Stefan- I am new to sous vide. I made a medium-rare ribeye steak that was amazing, so I have had one good experience so far! Now I want to sous vide some pork shoulder steaks. The steaks are probably 1 inch thick or less. Does this size/weight of the pork shoulder impact the length of cooking time? I was going to try two or three these pork shoulder steaks at 148 F for 36 hours, what do you think? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Erin, glad your first sous-vide experiment went well. For what time and temperature did you cook the ribeye steak?
      As a matter of fact I had pork shoulder last night and it was amazing — cooked at 135 degrees for 48 hours. It was tender, juicy, very flavorful, and slightly pink. After 48 hours at 135 degrees the pork is definitely pasteurized and safe to eat, even though it looks pink.
      If you go for 148 degrees, the meat will be flaky and more dry, but still good. If you cook pork over 140 degrees, you don’t benefit from sous-vide as much.
      As for the size, with sous-vide cooking the size does not have impact on the cooking temperature; that will be the same regardless of the size. With tender meats like beef ribeye steak or pork tenderloin you only need to cook sous-vide to bring the center of the meat to the same temperature as the water. The time that takes does depend on the size. Roughly 1 hour for 1 inch thickness, 4 hours for 2 inch thickness. There are tables you can google with more exact numbers. If you cook for 48 hours, the core will have reached the target temperature relativy early and so the size is no longer relevant. Hope this helps! Let me know how it turns out.

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  2. He Stefan,
    I have tried to sous vide porc procureur at 58 c and 4 hours according to Tzschirner’s book ‘sous vide’. it was crap. Have increased temp to 62 c and 12 hours. crap again Then to 68 c and 24 hours. then it became mushy. I once had the procureur served and it was succulent.
    Should I treat procureur as shoulder. Your views are welcome.
    Greetings, Eric Pigeaud

    Am a follower of your blog and read your mails

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    1. Hi Eric, I have prepared procureur (pork neck) many times sous-vide and you should indeed treat it like shoulder: 48 hours at 57C. An alternative is ‘pulled’ (draadjesvlees) which you get after 24 hours at 74C. But from what you write I think you should go for 48 hours at 57C. Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out.

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