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7 Uses For Pork Shoulder Juices

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Uses for pork shoulder juices

Leftover pork juices add flavor to many dishes.

When smoking pork shoulders or butts, it is good to save the juices rendered from the meat.

The flavorful juices are excellent additives for stews, chili, soups, beans, and sauces to create an additional flavor punch. The juices are also great additives to add more moisture to leftover rice or mashed potatoes. 

Pork shoulder juices are an excellent additive to many dishes with a deep, rich flavor.

The process of cooking a pork shoulder breaks down fat and connective tissues to create a unique, flavorful juice that is a delicious added ingredient to many dishes.

What to do with pulled pork drippings

There are many ways to save and use the drippings from pulled pork.

First, it is a good idea to pour the drippings into a container and place them in a freezer for 10 minutes or so.

Then, when the fat congeals on the top, scrape off the fat down to the jelled juices and save it later to add to any dish that will benefit an injection of rich flavor.

Another tip is to spoon the congealed juices into an ice tray. When frozen, place the cubes into a ziplock bag, then drop into any sauces or gravy that can benefit from the extra flavor punch from the pulled pork drippings.

Pork juice gravy

How to make gravy from pork drippings.

An easy way to make gravy from pork juice is to add one tablespoon of butter to every cup of liquid you plan to use. If the pork fat skimmed from the top of the pork juice is saved, it could be substituted for the butter and used similar to bacon grease.

Stir in one tablespoon of flour for each tablespoon of fat used. Whisk the pork juice on a low simmer until the mixture has thickened and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Do you drain the juice from pulled pork?

Yes, it would be best to drain accumulating juices when cooking pulled pork.

When the pork juice begins to accumulate after cooking for a few hours, remove the meat when tender. 

Drain and save the pork juices, but reserve and leave a small amount in the cooker. Pull and shred the pork, then place the shredded pork back into the cooker with the reserved pork juice for added moisture.

How do you store pork drippings?

Here are some suggested ways to save pork drippings.

Proper storage is essential for pork juice if you are not planning to use it soon. 

A good practice is to store the juices in a glass container and refrigerate below 40 degrees Fahrenheit until use. If plastic storage containers are used, make sure the pork juices have cooled before adding to the container.

As previously mentioned, ice cube trays are an excellent way to save pork juices. The ice trays should be new and used only for freezing pork juices.

A good idea would be to use different types of colored ice trays for the pork juice to avoid adding pork cubes to a cocktail or cold drink.

Do you leave the fat on pork for pulled pork?

Is it okay to remove some of the fat caps on a pork shoulder?

The fat cap, a layer of thick fat on a pork shoulder, can be trimmed some, but make sure and leave enough to create pork juices. It would be best to cut the pork no less than 1/4 – 1/2 inch as it self-bastes the pork shoulder

You should remove the skin and cook or fry separately. There is no need to score the fat as it will break down and render all the seasonings into the meat. Fat is a waxy substance until 

cooked, and then, at 130° – 140°, then begins to melt, adding moisture to muscle fiber with a deep, rich flavor.

Final thoughts

Do not overlook the possibilities of pork shoulder juices!

You can use the fabulous, rich flavor derived from pork juices in various ways.

These are some tips to make sure your pork shoulder juices are saved and used to take advantage of the delicious pork juice flavor:

  • Stretch the Pork Juices – If the pulled pork cooking process creates a lot of pork juices, use some of our suggestions for storing and spreading use across different meals.
  • Adding BBQ Sauce – When adding BBQ sauce, make sure to remove the pork juices. You do not want the juices to have a sugary taste but the rich rendered pork taste. 
  • Rest the Pork Shoulder – For the richest and tastiest pork shoulder juices, allow it to rest for 25-30 minutes, loosely tented with aluminum foil before serving.
  • How to Cook Shoulder Pork with Skin On – Score the skin on the pork shoulder with a sharp knife in crosshatch patterns, leaving around an inch of spacing between the cuts. Make sure to score through the layers of fat below the skin, being careful not to slice into the meat itself.

Remember when cooking a pork shoulder and creating all the delicious pork juices to make sure and save the juices for later use. The saved pork juices can be later added as a flavoring for a variety of delicious dishes long after consuming the pork shoulder meat.