Bud’s Cracklin’ Pork Shoulder with Hard Cider Gravy

Bud’s Cracklin’ Pork Shoulder with Hard Cider Gravy

This delicious pork cracklin’ recipe does take a bit of roasting time but is well worth the effort; the crispy pork rind cooked to a perfect golden brown blends perfectly in the oven with just the right array of spices and herbs, and really brings out the best in this delicious cut of meat. If you make this recipe for a crowd, be prepared for future demand, as it’s a surefire winner!


  • 10 to 11-pound pork shoulder, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


Hard Cider Gravy
  1. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup pork fat drippings reserved from the pork shoulder
  3. One 12-ounce bottle of sweet hard apple cider
  4. 1½ tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  5. 1½ tablespoons minced fresh sage
  6. 2 to 3 cups chicken stock, as needed
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Using the slender pointed tip of a sharp knife, puncture small holes in the top side skin of the pork shoulder. I do a lot of these holes; hundreds! Now use the knife to score a crosshatch into the skin about 1-inch wide. Be careful when doing this. You want to cut through the skin only, not the meat. This technique creates the “cracklin” – that crispy wonderful pork skin!
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons rosemary, 3 tablespoons sage, 3 tablespoons garlic, 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, pepper and olive oil. Blend together to make a paste. Rub the paste over the exposed meat portion of the shoulder. Do not rub the paste on the skin. Rub the remaining ½ tablespoon of kosher salt on the skin crosshatch.
  3. Place the pork shoulder in a roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 8 hours, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature between 185 and 190 degrees. If the skin has not crisped up enough, increase the oven heat to 450 degrees and cook for 10 to 15 minutes to crisp the skin. Keep a watchful eye on the pork shoulder! You don’t want to burn the skin, just crisp it up. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Pour all the pork drippings from the pan into a glass bowl. Allow the fat to separate. Remove 1/3 cup of the pork fat and add it back to the roasting pan. Add 1/3 cup flour and, over low heat, mix until smooth and browned. Turn the heat up to medium and add the hard cider and herbs. The mixture will thicken. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, until the sauce reaches the consistency you would like. My test is to place a spoon in the sauce and run my finger down the back of the spoon. If the sauce stays separated on the back of the spoon, it’s ready. Add pepper to taste. I don’t add any additional salt as the drippings come from the fat that has already been salted. Serve with the roasted pork shoulder.
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June 18, 2021 — Mary DiSomma