Fennel-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Salsa Verde Recipe

Sunday Supper

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Shoulder With Salsa Verde Recipe

[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Rubbed with fennel, roasted for hours in a low oven and finished on the grill, pork shoulder is enlivened by tangy, tarragon-laced salsa verde.

Note: Don't rule out using a gas grill. Just place the meat on the top grate of a preheated grill. This gives meat an appropriate distance from flames and makes room for a drip pan to be placed below.

  • Yield:serves 8
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:7 hours


  • For the Pork:
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, lightly toasted
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons juice from about 3 lemons, divided
  • 1 whole bone-in pork shoulder, about 5 1/2 pounds
  • For the Salsa Verde:
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 1 tablespoon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 10 cornichons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup minced white onion
  • 3/4 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Place fennel, coriander, peppercorns, six cloves of garlic and salt in a mortar. Mash into a chunky paste using a pestle. Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mash some more until combined. Liberally slather mixture on pork shoulder and place meat in roasting pan. Transfer to oven and cook until tender, about six hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes after the first hour.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, prepare salsa verde by chopping raisins, lemon zest, capers, cornichons, onion, the remaining garlic clove, parsley, tarragon, crushed red pepper and black pepper in a food processor until mixture forms a fine paste. Scrape down the sides of the food processor using a spatula. Slowly add olive oil, followed by remaining lemon juice, pulsing until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if necessary.

  3. 3.

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals around the perimeter of the coal grate. Set a disposable aluminum pan in the venter. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, preheat half the burners of a gas grill to high and allow to preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  4. 4.

    Transfer pork shoulder to grill and finish cooking over indirect heat until it’s fall-apart tender inside and crisp and glistening outside, about an hour. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa verde.