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Twelve-Hour Pork Roast

Twelve-Hour Pork Roast

 I owe this recipe to Suzanne Somers. Yes, that’s right, – the airhead “Three’s Company” Suzanne Somers.  She may have portrayed a bubble-headed blonde in the show, but believe it or not, she wrote a couple of cookbooks and one of them includes a recipe for a 12 hour pork roast. Cooking a roast for 12 to 16 hours at a low temperature produces meat that’s succulent and falls off the bone, but the recipe needed some tweaking. I cut back on the fennel seed, and added some fresh rosemary, an herb that pairs well with pork. 

I scored the skin and rubbed the herb paste all over, roasting it at a 450 degrees for a half hour before lowering the heat to 250 degrees. This is NOT a good idea. Why? Because the herb paste burned to a crisp at that high temperature. If I had left the burned herb paste on for the remainder 11 1/2 hours, even at the lower temperature, the roast would have tasted bitter.
So I scraped off all the burned herb paste and mixed up another batch, smearing it all over the partially cooked roast. I placed it back in the oven at the lower temperature before heading to bed.
By the time I woke up, the aroma had permeated the house. I pulled it out of the oven after a couple more hours, when it looked like this, bronzed and succulent:
I removed the skin (don’t throw it out!) and using a fork, shredded the meat. It practically fell off the bone. I strained the sauce, skimming off some of the fat, and adding a little chicken broth too. 
And that skin? It went back in the oven for another 1/2 hour to crisp up even further. These cracklins were hard to resist.
Well actually, so was the main event. I served it in hard crusty rolls, with roasted red peppers and other accompaniments, including homemade pickled eggplants and jarred green tomatoes. Along with a salad, all that was needed was a good glass of wine. Done!


Twelve Hour Pork Roast
one fresh ham butt (or shoulder) 5 to 7 lbs. (mine was 5 1/2 pounds)
3 cloves garlic
3 red chili peppers (or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes)
large sprig of rosemary
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. fennel seed
juice from 1/2 lemon plus the peel
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
Score the skin of the ham. Roast for a half hour at 450 degrees F., then lower the temperature to 250 degrees. Mix the remaining ingredients (except the chicken broth or water) in a food processor, or a mortar and pestle. Remove the roast from the oven after the first half hour, and rub the herb paste into the meat.  Put it back in the oven at the reduced temperature for another 12 to 16 hours. If you’re awake, baste with some of the juices, but it’s not necessary. Before going to bed, I covered the pot with a lid.
The next morning, after the a minimum of 12 hours (and no more than 16 or it can get dried out) remove the roast from the oven. Skim off some of the grease in the pan and add some water or chicken broth. Remove the skin to a baking sheet and put the skin back in the oven at 350 degrees for another 1/2 hour. Using a fork, pull the meat from the roast, then strain the sauce from the pan and pour over the meat. Eat as is, or serve in sandwiches, with roasted red peppers, pickled eggplant, cured green tomatoes, or whatever accompaniments you like.
This Post Has 16 Comments
  1. I have never roasted pork using this method, but it sounds wonderful. This is the kind of thing I love having in our fridge, and Bart loves sandwiches like this. Thanks!

    1. I can both smell and taste this classic dish. Must make this while it's still chilly out. As usual, you share excellent advice

  2. I never roasted pork this way either, but I would love to wake up to the smell. It looks fantastic and I love all the spices you used. Would you believe I have 6lbs of wild boar in my freezer that a hunter friend gave me, but I'm afraid to use it for fear it's too "gamey". and so it sits there…

  3. I have a pork shoulder roast in the freezer waiting to be cooked that I will try your recipe on. Sounds and looks wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  4. Linda, this looks incredible. Most coincidentally, the email alert about your new post arrived just as I was prepping a similar dish: Michael Chiarello's forever roasted pork with toasted spice rub, which I'll be serving tonight at a little Oscars party. It's from one of his early cookbooks and it is just fabulous. The spice rub has fennel, coriander, black pepper, chili powder and hot pepper. I let it marinate overnight and then it spends the day in the oven. It's roasting right now and the house smells heavenly. Mine doesn't have that cap of fat. Did you have to special order it? Cheers, D

  5. Yum! I never would have thought that Suzanne Somers had written cookbooks! This recipe would be a nice way to keep a kitchen warm on a cold day.

    I made a really good pulled pork in my crock pot for a Superbowl party. Braised pork always tastes so good!

  6. Wow, you've got me drooling over my screen, Linda! I can imagine the taste of that.

    PS: Wise to cut back on the fennel seeds—a little goes a long way.

  7. We are still in "winter comfort food" mode and probably will be for a while to come. This is perfect! And while I like my lean protein, those cracklings are a major attraction!

  8. Not only are her recipes delicious, if anyone is interested in weight control buy her first book. no portion control nor counting calories. the weight falls off and as a much added benefit, cholesterol drops dramatically. Best weight plan I've ever seen, based i believe on the french food combo plan. Interesting thoughts on fruit. best eaten alone and having tried it much easier to digest. Highly recommend all her books but start with first.

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