Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Stovetop Rhubarb Ketchup

This barbecue-rubbed pork shoulder is just the ticket for your next backyard bash, especially when served with bold rhubarb ketchup. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Pork shoulder is beloved for good reason: it's cheap, forgiving, and it can feed an army. Those reasons alone make it a winner of a cut in my book. It's also barbecue spice-ready, too, as you'll see here. And when that version is paired with a homemade, garden-fresh condiment, it comes mighty close to being my personal version of heaven on earth.

Why this recipe works:

  • By adding smoked paprika to the spice rub, the pork is infused with smoky flavor without a smoker or grill.
  • Rhubarb adds fruity and tart flavors to the ketchup, without making it taste cloying or jam-like.

Note: Store any remaining spice rub in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to three months, using it liberally on chicken, ribs and burgers.

Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Stovetop Rhubarb Ketchup

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 10
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:5 1/2 hours
Special equipment:Roasting pan, immersion blender or blender
This recipe appears in: Sunday Supper: Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Stovetop Rhubarb Ketchup


  • For the Ketchup:
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow onions
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Spice Rub:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • For the Pork:
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beer


  1. 1

    For the Ketchup: Place ketchup ingredients in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree using a blender or immersion blender, until slightly chunky or smooth, depending on preference. Let cool, then ladle into jars, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. 2

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.

  3. 3

    For the Spice Rub: Make the spice rub by stirring together all spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.

  4. 4

    For the Pork: Rub pork shoulder with olive oil, sprinkle generously with spice rub and rub into meat. Set pork shoulder in roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Baste pork with pan juices, then continue to cook, basting every 30 minutes, until fall-apart tender inside and crispy-brown outside, about 4 to 5 hours. Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest 15 minutes.

  5. 5

    Meanwhile, skim fat from pan juices and set roasting pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

  6. 6

    Using forks, pull pork apart in hunks and place on a platter. Drizzle with sauce and serve immediately, passing rhubarb ketchup alongside.


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