In case you ever find yourself in possession of a twenty-pound* shoulder roast from an old sow, you should know that it will take at least 22 hours in a 225-degree oven to get tender.
Yup. That long.
I know this because I cooked the World's Biggest Pork Roast
yesterday. Or rather, I cooked it the night before AND yesterday. Good thing I started it before I went to bed on Tuesday night, thinking I would just take it out in the morning and have the rest of the day to pull it apart and do something with it for dinner.
HA. HAHAHA, said the World's Biggest Pork Roast.
When I pulled it out at 9 a.m., it was not tender. It wasn't done at noon. Or at 3 p.m. It was more or less done at 6 p.m. when it was actually time to eat, although I bet I could have left it in the oven for another six hours and it still wouldn't have been overcooked.
It was just so . . . big. Obviously.
I was so exhausted just wrestling the thing out of the plastic wrappings and into the pan that the only seasoning I managed to get on it was some salt. This ended up being a good thing, though, because in addition to being impressively large, it was also covered in an impressive layer of fat that rendered during the long, slow cooking. Thus, I got not only a large quantity of meat, but a respectable quantity of lard, too.
The amount of meat was not actually as staggering as the size and weight of the raw chunk o' flesh made it appear. The bone was huge, so by the time the fat was gone and I pulled out the bone--and we had all eaten our fill last night--the leftovers weren't an unmanageable amount.
The meat was really, really good. But seriously. That roast was SO BIG. A daunting prospect, indeed. I did get more than one meal out of it, though.
It's gonna be awhile before I can work up the energy to deal with the second shoulder, which is still taking up a large portion of freezer real estate. At least I know how long it will take to cook next time. FOREVER.
* I don't know for sure that it was actually twenty pounds, because my kitchen scale only goes to 11 pounds, but if it wasn't a full twenty pounds, it was pretty damn close. It was hard to lift in and out of the oven.