A shoulder roast isn't the tenderest cut of pork, but it is one of the most forgiving. It's rich with veins of fat and connective tissue, which keep it moist even when it's cooked to the point of nearly falling apart. Convection ovens, with their fan-assisted cooking, give the pork an especially golden exterior. They also shorten your cooking time considerably, whether you cook the roast conventionally for slicing or low and slow for pulled pork.
Set your oven for convection mode, and preheat it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Trim most of the surface fat from your pork shoulder with a sharp knife, leaving approximately 1/4 inch to protect the roast from your convection oven's heat as it cooks. Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper, or a spice rub if you prefer.
Place the pork shoulder in a shallow roasting pan, and place it in the center of your oven.
Roast the pork for approximately 12 to 15 minutes per pound, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the roast to a serving platter and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before carving it.
Rub the exposed surfaces of your pork with a dry spice rub or seasoning paste, for an authentic barbecue-style flavor. Leave any surface rind of skin and fat in place, if you love crisp skin, or trim it down to 1/4 inch to reduce the amount of fat in your finished dish. Leave the roast in your refrigerator overnight, so the flavors can begin to infuse into the meat.
Switch your oven to convection mode, and preheat it to 250 F. Take your shoulder from the refrigerator, and place it in a shallow roasting pan.
Roast the pork shoulder at low temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 195 F, and a fork slides easily into the large muscles of the roast. This can take as little as 4 hours or as long as 6, depending on the size of the shoulder.
Remove the roast from your oven, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. If you like your shoulder to have a crisp, golden skin, turn up your oven to 500 F. Return the roast to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the skin is thoroughly browned and covered with blisters.
Shred or pull the pork, and serve it with your choice of sauces.
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- To achieve an especially crisp skin, sprinkle it lightly with coarse salt and leave the shoulder uncovered in your refrigerator overnight.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and prolific freelance writer. In previous careers, he sold insurance and mutual funds, and was a longtime retailer. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. His articles have appeared on numerous home and garden sites including GoneOutdoors, TheNest and eHow.