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Charcoal-grilled Pork Shoulder with Fresh Herbs and Roasted Garlic

Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: Randy Mon
Yield Serves 6 to 8
5 to 7 hours, plus at least 1 day to brine.Grilling this roast over charcoal is a little complicated, but the results are worth it-the crust is crisper and the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. You can do the pork on a gas grill instead, though: Cook it at 275° with all burners turned on except the one beneath the pork; set a drip pan on the turned-off burner. The recipe is from Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith, chefs and caterers in Canada's Okanagan Valley, in British Columbia. They serve it as part of their open-air feasts at God's Mountain Estate, a vineyard and B&B near Penticton.


  • Brine
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 garlic head, cut in half
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 whole allspice berries
  • 4 juniper berries
  • Stems from 1 bunch parsley (save leaves for Garlic Herb Rub)
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder (5 lbs.; also called butt), excess fat removed (leave a thin layer)
  • Garlic Herb Rub
  • 3 garlic heads
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano or marjoram
  • 2 to 3 sprigs (5 in.) fresh rosemary
  • Leaves from 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • Sea salt and pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 466
  • caloriesfromfat 52 %
  • protein 39 g
  • fat 27 g
  • satfat 7.6 g
  • carbohydrate 15 g
  • fiber 0.6 g
  • sodium 953 mg
  • cholesterol 134 mg

How to Make It

  1. Brine pork: Simmer all brine ingredients in a large stockpot with 3 cups water, stirring occasionally, until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add 9 cups cold water. Let cool. Add pork and chill, covered, at least 1 day and up to

  2. Begin rub while pork is brining: Preheat oven to 375°. Slice garlic heads in half crosswise and set on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with about 1 1/2 tbsp. oil and enclose in foil. Roast 40 minutes, or until cloves are buttery soft. Let cool.

  3. Remove pork from refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking, drain, dry thoroughly with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature.

  4. Pull oregano and rosemary leaves from stems; chop finely, along with parsley leaves. Crush lavender in a mortar with a pestle (or put in a resealable plastic bag and pound with a meat mallet). Squish garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil and smash garlic into a paste with a spoon. Stir in herbs and lavender; season lightly with salt and pepper. Pat garlic herb paste all over pork.

  5. Ignite 45 to 50 briquets in a chimney starter on a fireproof surface (not on firegrate). Set a drip pan (roughly 6 by 8 in.) in center of firegrate and fill halfway with water. When coals are coated with ash (about 15 minutes), use tongs to arrange on either side of drip pan. Set cooking grate in place. Cover grill and, if your grill doesn't have a built-in thermometer, insert a smoker thermometer* through lid vent. Close grill vents as needed to bring temperature down to 300° (you may need to remove coals to get the temperature down; return them to the chimney starter).

  6. Put meat, fat side up, on cooking grate over drip pan and cover grill. Grill pork, keeping the temperature between 250° and 300° and adding 5 or 6 coals to either side of drip pan every 30 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into pork registers 160°, about 4 1/2 hours.

  7. Let pork rest 15 minutes before carving.

  8. *Find a smoker thermometer online at ($17).

  9. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.