Roasted Pork with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Potatoes and Apples

5-6 lb boneless pork shoulder roast*
2 large onions, sliced
2 apples, cored and cut into wedges
1-2 lbs Russet potatoes, quartered
olive oil

the marinade:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mesquite liquid smoke
1 teaspoon hot chile powder
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeno

for the roasting liquid:
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water

In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients. Place the pork and marinade in a nonreactive container and marinate at least 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450. Splash the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Sprinkle the onion slices over the center part of the bottom of the pan. Place the pork over the layer of onions in a roasting pan. Pour any remaining marinade over the pork. Meanwhile, whisk together the roasting liquid. Set aside. After about 1/2 hour, add the roasting liquid and cover with a lid or foil and lower the temperature to 325. Toss the apples and potatoes with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. After an additional 45 minutes add the apples and potatoes to the bottom of the pan. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast measures 160°F, about 1 1/2-2 hours. Allow to sit 10 or so minutes before removing the netting and slicing.

*Boneless pork shoulder roast is generally sold with some string wrapped around it or in netting. This holds the roast together and needs to remain in place during the roasting. If you can’t find a boneless shoulder roast, use a bone-in and either debone and truss before roasting or roast it bone-in cut around the bone to serve. Bone-in meat will take longer to cook.

My thoughts:

The weather in Baltimore has suddenly turned from reasonably pleasant to down right uncomfortable: highs in the mid ’40s and constant rain. In other words, it is the perfect weather to make this cozy, homey dish. Not only is it an extremely tasty (and seasonal!) one pot meal, it makes your whole house smell delicious. An added bonus is that the extended cooking time really heats up your house, especially if you, like me, haven’t turned the heat on yet.


  1. Best Wishes, Marie

    i love this kind of "slow food" thanks for the recipe !!

  2. This sounds like just what I need too- I definitely share your shock of the change to fall, as I live in DC. 42 degrees today! However, I don't know if I have space for a whole pork shoulder in my fridge! The root vegetables and greens take up so much space… but maybe I can start with the potato and apple part- yum!

  3. That looks lovely- nothing beats the combo of pork and apples! I bet the leftovers would make a great sandwich filling!

  4. One pot meals always make me think of chilly evenings and a flickering fireplace! We actually did have to turn our heat on a few days ago – now to get the chimney cleaners out so we can light a fire!

  5. About how many people will this serve? It looks quite tasty, but more than two people could eat before it spoiled.

  6. Christine-
    6? We are two people and were able to finish it just fine. We had it as sandwiches, etc

  7. I'm not a huge pork fan but this dish definitely screams fall!! Maybe I'll make an exception!

  8. Love the sound of this pork recipe, great marinade!

  9. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was incredibly flavorful! The spicy, sweet, and savory flavors mix together to make an unbelievable sauce. The only thing I'd do different is put the apples in about 30 minutes later – they were mushy by the time the potatoes were done. Other than that, a definite winner!

  10. Glad you enjoyed it, Ricki! I think it depends what kind of apple you use as to how long they need to cook. I used Winesaps, which are fairly dense and take a while to cook.

  11. I loved this I made it today with a few modifications; I used jack daniels, and I added fresh pepper! it was freaking awesome! I added my photos to my tumblr:

    thank you thank you I enjoyed it while watching the Ravens game

  12. I think Bobby Flay would beg you (on his knees!!) for this recipe. Wow. just looks absolutely delish.

  13. Any thoughts on using a slow cooker? Seems like it would be a good fit but not sure on cooking times.

  14. Anon-
    You could make this in the slow cooker but this is a fattier cut of meat than I would recommend using for slow cooking. I'd use maybe pork loin or a tenderloin roast and caramelize the onions before putting them in the slow cooker. Then it would be the usual 6-8 hrs on low.