Sous Vide Pork Shoulder

I like pork butts. I cannot lie. I like ’em round, and big, and once I throw them in my rig…

Well, I guess you’ll have to read on to find out what happens.
Meat and Potatoes
Yeah, I know, it looks like a pan-seared pork chop. It is indeed pork, but it is actually a slice off of this 48 hour (140°F) eight pound bit of porcine plumpness:
Sliced Porcine Plumper

Let’s go back to the beginning.

A few weeks ago, after stuffing three racks of St. Louis cut ribs into my 18 quart sous vide rig, I determined it just wasn’t big enough to hold them properly. I fixed that.
New Sous Vide Rig
I can load this baby up! Full capacity is 27 gallons. That is actually two tubs with insulation between them. I run it with 15 gallons and circulate the water with a five gallon per minute Little Giant® pump. I’m still using my trusty old Auber WS 1500c PID to control the temperature. You can see it in the lower right corner. It still works great even after 6-7 years of use. Water is heated with this:
I call it the Bucket Boss
Yep, pretty old school, but it will heat water up to 180°F. You can see the yellow part sticking up out of the tub lid (upper right).

Back to the pork.
Fat Side Up
I have to admit, it was a bit of a struggle to get this bad boy into the bag, but it happened.
Salted and bagged
There’s some salty detritus about due to the struggle, but otherwise, it was fairly painless.

Hot water comes out of my tap at about 130°F. Heating up 15 gallons to 140 would take a while, so I boiled a couple of gallons stove top and (carefully) dumped it in. This pushed the water temp to about 142. I slipped the pork shoulder in and the temp dropped to 134. It was back up to 140 in about 20 minutes.

And then I (impatiently) waited for 48 hours.
Chillin Out
I chilled it in an icy bath for a little over an hour and popped it into the fridge.
Totally Chilled
We call the red stuff the purge. It was highly gelatinous.
Gelatinous Purge
And then there were these:
Making Chops
Even cold, both the scent and the taste were rather remarkable in their porkiness.

I heated the purge until the proteins coagulated, then strained it, reduced it, added a little cream, sage, thyme, and pepper. It was already plenty salty. Still a bit thin, I added a slurry of corn starch and it thickened nicely.
Golden Brown and Delicious
While I had the corn starch at hand, I sprinkled a bit on the “chops”, then seared them  off with some olive oil.
Meat and Potatoes
Some folks wanna take the high road and tell you that the butt ain’t gold. They walk by and leave it. I pull up quick to retrieve it.

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About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

5 thoughts on “Sous Vide Pork Shoulder

  1. Genius! Pure genius! I’ve been formulating a smoked version of this for months! Thanks — as always — for the tips my friend.

    • Hey David! Thanks for stopping in. Funny you should mention the smoking thing. I have about 2/3rds of this butt left and will be popping it into the smoker along with some ribs and a rack of pork (all sous vide). They’ll probably make it into future posts.

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