Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits

Braised pork shoulder is the ultimate comfort meal. Slowly braise pork atop creamy cheesy grits, it doesn’t any cozier than this.

Friends, meet my ultimate comfort meal. Braised pork shoulder.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com

Slowly braised pork that sits on creamy, cheesy grits. Oh man. When I go into a restaurant I always have the best intentions of ordering the salmon and a salad and walking away feeling good about myself. Yet the moment my eye’s land on something warm, comforting and usually has the words “smoked” or “braised” in the title, I’m a total goner. Because in that instance my stomach takes over the decision making and I end up going with the comfort food every time.

Earlier this month I was celebrating my Aunt’s 60th birthday at one of my favorite restaurants and on the menu was smoked pork with cheddar grits. I. Was. SOLD. That and a glass (or two) of Merlot and I was in my happy place. And later, a food coma. And after my plate was cleaned I knew I had to make something similar at home.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com pork ingredients

All in all, braising is a fancy name for using a combination of moist and dry heat and as it might sound complicate it’s actually super simple. Sear meat on all sides, throw in some veggies and broth and slowly cook the meat covered in your oven for a few hours, leaving your home smelling insanely delicious. What’s hard about that? This is my go to comfort meal that’s casual enough for a Sunday super or fancy enough for guests. It’s absolutely fantastically delicious. Let’s rock! Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com bacon fat

Since I was braising a pork shoulder, it only makes sense to brown it in bacon fat, right? I keep a good-size jar in my fridge at ALL TIMES, so I dug into it with a spoon and measured it that way, but you of course can use olive oil {but why?}.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com whole shoulder roast

Say hello to the 4# pound pork shoulder. Hellllllo.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com fourths

With a sharp knife, cut it into four chunks.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com eigths

Then divide the four chunks into half leaving you with 8 total.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com pat dry

In order to get a nice and crust when you sear the pork, you’ll want to remove any excess moisture by patting it dry with a few pieces of paper towel. 

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com s&p

Then season all sides with a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com sear each side

Once your dutch oven is preheated, work in batches searing the pork on all sides. 

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com browned goodness

Beautiful.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com transfer to a plate

Remove the seared pork to a clean plate for a moment. This alone smells so good… if it wasn’t for the fact it was completely raw and tough… I’d probably try to eat it. Truth.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com the vegetables

Roughly chop up three carrots, three stalks of celery {and any leafy pieces too!} and one yellow onion. You’ll also need a head of garlic that has been cut in half and a good handful of parsley and a few bay leaves.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com add in the veg

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com a little color

And cook until they start to get some color to them.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com wine time

Pour in a cup of wine and reduce to about a quarter cup…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com tomato paste

Add in 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com stir and cook

… give it all a good stir and cook for a minute or two.

head of garlic

Add in the garlic halve…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com caramelized

I push the garlic down to the bottom of the pan. I’m not sure what that does exactly, but it’s how I do it.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com flour

Add in about two tablespoons of flour, this will thicken the sauce perfectly while it’s in the oven.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com done

…stirrr…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com beef broth

Pour in about two cups of beef broth and, you guessed it, stir some more.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com nestle

Nestle the meaty pork chunks into the  broth-y, tomato-y, vegetable goodness.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com parsley and bay leaf

Throw in the bunch of fresh parsley and two or three bay leaves, cover and cook for about three hours at 325 degrees.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com braised

At this point you won’t be able to stand the amazing aroma wafting through you home. It’s ridiculously mouth-watering.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com remove

Remove the pork to a cutting board. If your pork shoulder has a bone in it, now would be the time to remove it.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com left in the pot

What remains is a thick sauce annnnd the vegetables.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com strain

I poured the sauce through a mesh strainer…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com press

And I might have pressed on it with a spoon to get the maximum sauce out of the whole deal.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com smooth sauce

I poured the strained sauce back into the pot and discarded the mess in the strainer.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com heaven

Next, add the pork back in and I like to keep it all warm in a 200 degree oven while I make the yummiest grits evah.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com grits collage

I grated about a half cup of Fontina cheese (give or take, but mostly give šŸ™‚ ). Then bring a saucepan with two cups of whole milk and a cup of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Watch carefully, this happens very quickly. Now pour in the grits and kosher salt.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com bubble

Now, fyi this is what it should look like around the 3-4 minute mark. Keep on whisking until the milk/broth gets absorbed.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com grated fontina

At that moment, remove off of the heat and then add the half cup of grated Fontina…

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com black pepper

Lastly, grind in freshly ground black pepper.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com whisk

Then whisk until the cheese is melted. I could literally eat this whole entire pot with a spoon.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com #pork #braised #dinner

Next, divide the cheesy Fontina grits into bowls and topped it with one of the chunks of gloriously braised pork shoulder.

Braised Pork Shoulder and Fontina Grits www.SimplyScratch.com

Then drizzle a little bit of the sauce and top the braised pork shoulder with homemade pickled red onions and minced parsley. This pork shoulder is totally out of this world.

Enjoy! And if you give this Braised Pork Shoulder recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits l www.SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 8 servings

Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits

Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits
Slowly braise pork atop creamy cheesy grits... comfort in a bowl.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours

Ingredients

FOR THE BRAISED PORK:

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks (and any leafy green parts), roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley
  • 3 bay leaves

FOR THE FONTINA GRITS:

  • (serves 4, double if serving 8 : see note below)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup coarse corn grits or polenta
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Serve with fresh chopped parsley and pickled red onions.

Instructions

FOR THE BRAISED PORK:

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add in the bacon fat. Also, preheat your oven to 325Ā°.
  2. Meanwhile; divide the pork shoulder into 8 equal portions. Pat dry with paper towel and season all sides of the pork generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Sear the pork on all sides so it's a deep golden color. Remove the pork to a large, clean plate and set off to the side.
  3. To the Dutch oven add in the roughly chopped carrots, onion and celery. Once they start showing signs of color deglaze the pan with a cup of red wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven and reduce until a quarter cup is left. Add in the tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute. Stir in the flour and add the halved garlic head and push it down to the center of the pot, and cover with the vegetables.
  4. Nestle the browned pork pieces into the vegetables and pour in about two cups of beef broth. The liquids should not cover the pork, just close to the top leaving the pork exposed. Add in the parsley and bay leaf before covering. Place the whole Dutch oven in your preheated oven and braise for 2-1/2 to three hours.
  5. Once the time is up, remove it from the ovens. Using tongs, remove the pork on to a platter. If there was a bone in your pork shoulder, now is the time to remove and discard it.
  6. Pour the sauce and vegetables through a mesh strainer. Discard the vegetables and return the sauce to the Dutch oven and return the pork to the pot {don't cover it in sauce, yet.} taste to check the seasonings. Cover and keep it all warm in a 200 degree oven.

FOR THE FONTINA GRITS:

  1. Measure out a cup of the polenta/grits and add the 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the measuring cup.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, bring up two cups of whole milk plus a cup of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil. Watch carefully this happens quickly. Whisk in the polenta {grits} and keep whisking until the corn grits have absorbed all of the liquids.
  3. Once the liquids have been absorbed add in the grated Fontina and coarse black pepper. Stir until smooth.
  4. Scoop the grits into 4 serving bowls. Place a piece of the braised pork in the center of the Fontina grits and drizzle with some of the sauce. Top with minced parsley and pickled red onions {totally optional} and serve!

Notes

If serving 8 then make a double batch of the cheesy grits. Otherwise I make a fresh batch when reheating leftovers.

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40 Responses to “Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits”

  1. #
    1
    Kathryn — February 18, 2014 at 6:08 am

    This definitely sounds food-coma worthy!

  2. #
    2
    kelley {mountain mama cooks} — February 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

    This sounds wonderful and I love the step by step photos. I so need to try this- it’s the ultimate in comfort food and looks amazing!

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 11:56 am

      Thanks Kelley! šŸ™‚

  3. #
    3
    Liz@Virtually Homemade — February 18, 2014 at 9:51 am

    All I can say is YUM. This is an absolutely amazing dish. I love cheese grits or polenta.

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

      Thanks Liz! I could eat the entire pot of grits with a spoon, easily!

  4. #
    4
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — February 18, 2014 at 9:52 am

    This is the kind of dinner that dreams are made of! This looks absolutely amazing, Laurie!! I also always love your step by step photos!

  5. #
    5
    Rachel Cooks — February 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I am dyyyyying over this meal! Holy cow it looks amazing. Let’s be neighbors. You’ll cook, I’ll eat.

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

      Ha-ha! Sounds like a plan my friend!

  6. #
    6
    Vicky — February 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Going to make this . Pork shoulder is 1.79 this week. Thanks!

    Vicky

    When I make polenta, I usually add the cheese to individual servings. That avoids wasting good cheese in case it doesn’t all get eaten. [I always make too much food.]

  7. #
    7
    Just Me — February 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

    So love that you label everything in your photos. Because at first glance I thought, Why does she have a jar of “laundry sauce” there? Whew it’s lard! LOL Yea I make our laundry soap too….

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

      That would definitely be an interesting ingredient! šŸ™‚

  8. #
    8
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — February 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

    You have got to be KIDDING ME!!! I just made my first grits this weekend – and I’m officially in love! This has me drooling!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

      Cheesy grits are my new obsession! :9

  9. #
    9
    David @ From Ballparks to BBQ — February 18, 2014 at 11:31 am

    The braised pork looks incredible! I can only imagine how good it smelled.

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 18th, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

      Thanks David! To me… it’s what heaven should smell like šŸ™‚

  10. #
    10
    Vijay @ NoshOnIt — February 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    This looks amazing! Definitely making this soon!

  11. #
    11
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — February 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Could this meal be any sexier? Dang gurrrrl!!! I’m diving in head first!

  12. #
    12
    Liren — February 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Holy smokes. I’m about to dive into that bowl! I also go to restaurants with the healthiest of intentions but anything braised seems to win!

  13. #
    13
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — February 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    There’s no turning down the comfort of a braised hunk of meat. Seriously, I can’t take my eyes off of this.

  14. #
    14
    Tieghan — February 19, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Fontina grits!! Mmm! Total comfort food!

  15. #
    15
    Diana — February 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Your meals always look so delicious and appealing! And I’m not a big meat fan OR a grits person, but hot damn I want to try this recipe out (even those pickled red onions! mmm), asap!

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 21st, 2014 @ 10:16 am

      Thank you so much Diana! I hope you enjoy this one šŸ™‚

  16. #
    16
    melissa — February 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I just happen to have a 3.5 pound pork butt lying around. I need to cook it in a slow cooker. Do you think I would need to make too many changes for a slow cooker?

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 23rd, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

      I wouldn’t change a thing just make sure the meat isn’t submerged in the liquids and I’d cook on high for 3 hours. Let me know how it turns out!:)

  17. #
    17
    Marsha — March 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I made this last night and it was great, although I didn’t have any liquid leftover after the pork was in the oven for 3 hours. I used just under 2 cups of beef broth so the pork wouldn’t be submerged. Any idea what happened, or should I have checked on it a few times? Thanks for any advice!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 10th, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

      Marsha it was a typo in the recipe. So totally not your fault. My fingers and I are to blame! It should read 325 degree oven for 2-1/2 to 3 hours not 375. I’m so glad you were still able to enjoy it but I hope you try it again and get the sauce you deserve. I’ve changed the recipe to reflect the accurate temperature:)

  18. #
    18
    margaret — March 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Wow – it smells amazing but I just -really, just- pulled this out of my 375 degree oven after 3 hours and I have a burnt on, caked on mess. No liquid left over at all! I don’t even know if I can salvage my pan! I am hopeful the pork is palatable and I know the grits will be great but 3 hours at 375 is too long and too high.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 10th, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

      GAH Margaret! It’s suppose to be 325! I’m SO SO sorry! Three hours for a 4 pound shoulder is adequate time {about 2-1/2 to 3 hours} but you’re right the temperature is too high. I’ve made the changes in the recipe to reflect that.

  19. #
    19
    margaret — March 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Laurie – the pork was a little dry – I was able to recreate a “gravy” out of the wine, broth and tomato paste and of the course the grits were delish. My family loved it and I will definitely make again – at the lower temp! My pan has been soaking a good 24 hours now – I believe I can resurrect it!

  20. #
    20
    gregory muir — July 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Why do you discard the veggies? It seems like they should be good with the meat. Are they too mushy from all the cooking? What would it do to the flavor to pulse them in a blender and make a thicker sauce with them?

  21. #
    21
    Sarah Elizabeth — October 30, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I made this tonight and it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I had a three and a half pound bone in pork shoulder and followed the recipe exactly except for adding a tablespoon of sugar in the red wine sauce after straining it. It was amazing. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  22. #
    22
    Barb — February 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Decided to make this afternoon. Hoping it turns out well. Noticed the written recipe is missing flour, bay & parsley in the written instructions. Glad that I looked back at the photos and caught it just after I put it in the oven.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 18th, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

      Hi Barb! Thank you for kindly bringing that to my attention, I’ve made the corrections. I hope you enjoy it!

  23. #
    23
    Veonica — August 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I used white zin in the place of red wine and a bit less veggies, but it still turned out wonderful! This is a keeper!

  24. #
    24
    Barb H — October 26, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I noticed thyme in the recipe instructions but not the ingredient list or photos. Should there be thyme in the recipe?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 27th, 2018 @ 5:11 pm

      Hi Barb! I believe my fingers have a mind of their own. It should say parsley (not thyme). Good catch!

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