How Long To Cook A 10-Pound Pork Shoulder In The Oven

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A succulent joint of oven-roast pork shoulder is a firm favorite in many households. This is one of those joints of meat that gives incredible value for money, without compromising on taste or quality.

Cooking a pork shoulder can be a tricky business, but follow a few simple rules and you’ll get it absolutely perfect, every time!

So, how long do you need to cook a 10-pound pork shoulder in the oven? Pork shoulder is a cut of meat that responds best to being cooked slowly at a low temperature. The length of time required will range from 6-15 hours, depending on the cooking temperature used.

Feeling daunted by the giant lump of pork you need to cook for a family celebration? Don’t panic—we’ve got everything you need to know about roasting a pork shoulder right here!

What Is A Pork Shoulder?

Pork shoulder is a cut of meat that is known by many names. You may also see it sold as a shoulder roast, country roast, arm roast, Boston roast, pork butt, shoulder butt, or Boston butt.

Don’t be confused by the word “butt” though, as this joint comes from the front of the pig, not its hindquarters!

The shoulder of a pig is the large muscle that covers the uppermost part of the forelimbs.

This is where the leg joins the spine and is a very hardworking part of the body. The shoulder joint is normally divided into two cuts: a rectangular section at the top, and a triangular one at the bottom.

The name ‘butt’ came from butchers in colonial New England, who would pack these cuts of meat into wooden barrels for storage and transportation. The name soon stuck and is still used to this day.

How To Choose A Good Pork Shoulder

When choosing a pork shoulder, you are looking for a joint that will turn into melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness when cooked slowly at a low temperature.

This is created when the meat is cooked for long enough for the fats and sinews to melt into the meat, giving an incredible level of intense flavor and beautifully tender meat.

Select a pork shoulder joint that is evenly marbled with fat. These are the white streaks that you will see running through the meat. One side of the meat will be covered in a layer of fat, and possibly the skin of the pig as well.

Whether you buy a pork shoulder with the bone in or not is entirely down to personal preference.

Cooking meat on the bone is said to add flavor, but it will take longer to cook. Boneless meat is easier to carve and can be rolled into a joint before cooking.

What Is The Best Way To Cook A Pork Shoulder?

Pork shoulder is a very hardworking muscle, which can give tough meat if cooked incorrectly. The aim is to cook it for long enough for the fat and connective tissue to melt into the meat, resulting in succulent and tender meat.

The most common method of cooking a pork shoulder is in an oven at a low temperature for several hours.

If the pork is cooked too quickly or at a higher temperature, the meat will cook before the fats have had a chance to melt. This will result in meat that is tough, chewy, dry, and potentially inedible!

Many people like a crispy, golden layer on the outside of their pork shoulder, and sear the meat before cooking. This can also add a caramelized flavor to your pork.

Should A Pork Shoulder Be Covered During Cooking?

Pork should always be covered during cooking. This will help retain the juices in the pot, keeping your meat moist and tender. The method you are using here is termed braising, where food is cooked slowly in a small amount of liquid.

It is not always necessary to add extra liquid to pork shoulder when roasting in the oven, as it will soon start to baste in its own juices. However, you may want to add in certain ingredients to add flavor to your pork shoulder.

How Long To Cook A 10-Pound Pork Shoulder In The Oven

The length of time your pork shoulder will take to cook depends on the temperature at which you are cooking it.

Low and slow temperatures will work the best, but higher temperatures can also give good results if you follow the steps above.

The times we have given here are erring on the side of caution, and assume that you are cooking a joint of pork shoulder on the bone. A boneless joint will have a shorter cooking time, as will one that has been rolled.

At 250°F

Now, this really is a “low and slow” method! At 250°F, your pork needs 90 minutes per pound. That is a total of 900 minutes for your 10-pound pork shoulder—a whopping 15 hours!

At 300°F

An increase in temperature of just 50°F will substantially reduce the cooking time of your pork shoulder.

Allow 60 minutes per pound for pork shoulder cooked at 300°F. This is 600 minutes, or 10 hours, for a 10-pound pork shoulder.

At 350°F

At 350°F, you should cook pork should for 45 minutes per pound. So, a ten-pound pork shoulder will take 450 minutes (7.5 hours) to cook.

At 400°F

This is the highest temperature we would advise using to cook pork shoulder, and it does come with some risks.

Your meat may cook too quickly and become dry and tough. Make sure it is well covered throughout the cooking time, and add an extra splash of liquid if the pan becomes dry.

Cooking times for pork at 400°F are just 30 minutes per pound, so your 10-pound shoulder joint will take 300 minutes (6 hours) to cook.

How To Tell When A Pork Shoulder Is Cooked

What do you do if you’ve put your pork shoulder in the oven for the recommended time, but are not completely sure if it is cooked?

A meat thermometer is your best friend here, and one of those gadgets that every kitchen should have. It is recommended that you cook pork until it has an internal temperature of 145°F.

There are also some visual checks you can carry out to make sure your pork is cooked thoroughly. Firstly, cut into your pork at the deepest point.

Watch what color the juices are as you cut. If they are clear then this is a good sign, and if they are pink your pork needs more time.

Take a look at the meat in the area you have sliced. Fully cooked pork may still have a slight pink tinge, but a clearly defined pink area means it is not completed cooked.

The final check is to assess the texture of the pork. A slow-cooked pork shoulder should be tender and fall apart easily. If it still feels tough and hard to cut then it is probably not cooked.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how long to cook a 10-pound pork shoulder in the oven, let’s take a look at a few related questions!

How long does it take to cook a 10-pound pork shoulder in a slow cooker?

Pork shoulder is the type of meat that responds well to cooking using a “low and slow” method, and your crockpot is perfect for making the most out of this joint of meat!

A 10-pound pork shoulder should fit comfortably into a family-size slow cooker, and you’ll probably have room for a few chopped vegetables and herbs to add flavor.

Most slow cookers have at least two temperature settings: low and high. A 10-pound pork shoulder joint will take up to 8 hours on high, or 14 hours on low.

Now, this might sound like a long time, but this is a hefty lump of meat you are cooking here!

To speed things up, you can cut your joint into two or more pieces. Each smaller piece will cook through more quickly, and it might be easier to fit them into the slow cooker this way.

Remember, don’t be tempted to remove the lid during the cooking time, as this will only slow down the speed at which your pork shoulder cooks!

How long does it take to cook a 10-pound pork shoulder in a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker, or Instant Pot, can be used to cook a pork shoulder joint quickly and with great results.

This is really effective if you want to create tender and juicy pulled pork!

The timings used to cook pork shoulder in a pressure cooker are calculated as 15 minutes per pound of weight.

So, for a 10-pound joint, you will need to cook it in a pressure cooker for 150 minutes. The same timescale is used for an Instant Pot on the pressure cooker setting.

This time will be extended slightly at either end, with the time it takes for the pressure cooker to get up to temperature, and then to release pressure once the cooking time ends.

Nevertheless, this is still the quickest way to cook a pork shoulder, with mouth-watering results!

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