My favorite way to roast prime rib uses the reverse sear method from Serious Eats.com. To do the reverse sear, you cook the roast at a low temperature in the oven until it gets to the temperature you like. Then, you let it rest for a while. Then you put it into a really hot range to get a nice crispy brown crust.
It might seem counter-intuitive if you’re used to searing your roast before cooking it. But I promise, it works amazingly well. So well that I’ve applied it to pork roast with the most amazing and perfect results, this is the only way that I roast pork now. The reverse sear is also my new favorite way to cook steaks. I’m excited about it all!
So, today, I’m showing you how to apply this same reverse-sear technique to roasting pork. You get a soft, juicy inside (nearly as smooth as slow cooker pulled pork) and all kinds of good, crunchy meat and fat on the outside.
HOW TO ROAST PORK PERFECTLY
This how-to is for pork roasts that have some marbling. Look for a pork butt or a pork shoulder (boneless or with bone). Don’t try it with a loin. Just don’t. If you have a pork loin instead of a butt or shoulder, go here for instructions for roasting it perfectly.
So now that you know that the cut of pork we’re using, you need to know the size. Between 4 and 8 pounds is ideal. Other than that, there are only a few ingredients that you need for this pork roast recipe.
I keep my seasonings simple with black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. The only other thing we need is some low-sodium chicken broth. So easy.
GETTING YOUR PORK ROAST READY FOR ROASTING
1) Take your pork roast out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
2) If your pork roast has a thick layer of fat on the outside, cut all but a thin layer away so that it’s a thinner coating.
3) In a small bowl, mix one teaspoon of salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of pepper, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder. That’s the right amount for a five lb. roast. If your roast is bigger or smaller, adjust the amounts accordingly. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over your roast.
COOKING THE PORK ROAST ON LOW HEAT
4) Put the roast in a large roasting pan, fat-side-up. Add about a half inch of low or no-salt-added chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast it uncovered.
HOW LONG DO YOU ROAST THE PORK FOR?
You’re not aiming for a medium-rare pork here. You want that really tender meat like pulled pork. But you don’t want it to be so tender that it actually pulls when you try to slice it. Aim for about 180degF internal temperature. That will be about 40 minutes per pound at 300degF.
5) When the broth evaporates and has left a light brown layer on the bottom of the pan, add more (or add water). Be sure to add enough liquid so that it goes back up the sides of the pan. This is to dissolve any brownings on the sides of the pan from the previous round of broth. You want all of this brown flavor in your eventual gravy.
6) Put the roast back into the oven. When the liquid level gets low again, add more liquid again.
LET THE PORK ROAST REST
7) When the roast gets to 180degF, take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for 30-40 minutes. It will be fine for up to an hour. There is no need to cover it during sleeping time. This is important because this is the only time the roast will rest. Take advantage of this step. You may wonder if the roast is going to get cold during this long rest. It actually stays warm inside for a long time, though. Also, you’re going to be putting the roast back into the oven for a bit, and that will reheat it. Finally, once you carve a roast, those slices tend to cool down quickly, no matter what you’ve done. The key is to have a lot of really hot gravy to pour over it all. That makes it all warm and delicious!
IT’S TIME FOR THE REVERSE SEAR!
8) Preheat the oven to 475degF.
9) Put the roast onto a clean baking sheet, or rinse out the roasting pan it was previously in and use that. Put it into the hot oven for 13-17 minutes, uncovered. You want the outside to get really nice and brown and the fat to get crunchy.
10) Carve immediately and serve. Don’t rest it when you take it out. It already rested earlier. Just get carving and eating!
Isn’t that the coolest way to roast pork? It’s low and slow so that it’s tender and juicy, just the way you want it. And the outside is all brown and crunchy and full of flavor. I’m never going to roast pork another way.
CAN I MAKE THE ROAST AHEAD OF TIME?
YES! My parents’ restaurants used to do a lot of catering when I was a teenager, and so I did a lot of catering alongside them. What we used to do for turkeys is exactly what you should do for this roast pork recipe if you have a crowd coming over.
A day ahead, roast the pork. Follow the instructions above and burn it slowly at 300degF, then let it rest, then do the reverse sear, but then let it rest again. Let it rest until it’s cooled down quite a bit.
Next, you want to refrigerate it whole until chilled. This makes it really easy to get nice, even slices, because by slicing it cold, fewer juices are flowing, and everything holds together better.
Use an inexpensive electric knife, if you have one, to get nice thin slices. A carving knife works too, just not as well, and it gets tiring if you’re doing a lot of slicing.
Arrange the slices in a single slightly overlapping layer on a large sheet pan. Forty minutes before you’re serving dinner, dribble water or chicken stock over the pork slices.
You want about one drop of water for every 3-4 slices. Very little water, really. But the water is going to heat and steam and keep the roast juicy. Next, cover the sheet pan with foil and then put it into the oven at 300degF until just heated through about 25-30 minutes. Serve.
If you want to keep several trays of meat warm while serving, you can do that. Heat the trays all together in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Then drop the heat down to 200 so that you’re just keeping them warm and not at risk of them actually cooking or starting to dry out.
I like to carve the entire roast and store it in the fridge in slices. The slices are easier to grab and use than having to haul out the whole roast and cut it every time. Put the pieces in a sealed container. They’ll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Or you can put them in a freezer bag and freeze them for a month.
- a boneless or bone-in pork butt or pork shoulder (4-8 pounds is ideal)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- low or no-sodium chicken broth
- Take your pork roast out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 300degF.
- If your pork roast has a thick layer of fat on the outside, cut about half of it away so that it’s a thinner layer. You can throw this out. Or, the best thing to do is to turn it into a snack to have while your pork is roasting. Put the fat that you removed from the roast in a single layer on its cake pan. Use a pan with edges because a lot of hot, fatty liquid is going to come out of it. Season it lightly with salt. Roast the layer of fat in the 300F oven until it’s brown and very crispy. Check it often. Blot it on a kitchen towel. Break it into pieces and offer it as nibbles to anyone who is lured into your kitchen by the roasting pork smells.
- Meanwhile, mix the pepper, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl and then sprinkle liberally all over the roast.
- Put the roast in a large roasting pan, fat-side-up. You do not need to use a rack in the pan.
- Add about half an inch of low or no-sodium chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Put it into the oven, uncovered.
- Cook for 40 minutes per pound or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 180F. This may seem high for pork, but your goal is really tender, slow-cooked pork, almost like the texture of pulled pork.
- If at any point ,most of the broth has evaporated, add more. Add enough to cover any brownings on the side of the pan from where the previous broth evaporated away. This will dissolve those brownings and flavor your gravy.
- Take the roast out of the oven. Transfer it to a plate so that you can get to the roasting pan and make your gravy. Let the roast rest for 30-40 minutes. This is important because this is the only time the roast will rest. The roast does not need to be covered during resting time. Use this time to make your gravy. (Here’s how to make gravy using the flavorful broth from the bottom of the roasting pan). and to finish off your other side dishes and set the table.
- Preheat the oven to 475F.
- Once the roast has rested, and the oven has preheated, and once you have everything else for your dinner just about ready, put the roast into a clean roasting pan or onto a baking sheet, uncovered, and put it into the hot oven for 13-17 minutes. You want the outside to get nice and brown.
- When it’s really nice and browned, take the roast out of the oven and immediately carve it* and serve it. Do not let it rest now since it has already rested.