This braised pork recipe is a flavor-packed pork dish braised in apple cider and chicken stock until fork tender. We also add some fresh herbs, roasted garlic and onions for even more rich flavor.
Combining the savory pork with the sweet apple cider and apple slices makes this the perfect comfort food for a cool fall evening!
Before You Begin…
We will start by getting the pork ready to be braised. Pat dry the chunks of pork shoulder and season them with salt and pepper. Then you will brown the chunks on all sides. This locks in the juices and adds so much flavor to the pork. Don’t skip this step!
What is Braising?
Braising a method for cooking meat. It uses a combination of both wet and dry heat to cook the meat until it is super tender and saucy. In this recipe we sear the pork using a dry heat, and then the pork is cooked in a little bit of liquid (wet heat) over a longer period of time. Braising creates deep and rich flavors and fall apart tender meat. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook meat.
What Do I Need to Make Apple Cider Braised Pork?
Here are the items you will need to make this recipe:
- Pork Butt: I prefer to buy a bone-in pork butter because it has better flavor and then cut it off the bone into large chunks for this recipe.
- PRO TIP: I buy a big pork butt and chop it in half, remove the bone and then quarter each half and freeze them in two bags for two separate rounds of braised pork.
- Canola Oil: used to brown the pork chunks
- Braising Liquid: Apple Cider, Chicken Stock, Apple Cider Vinegar, Dark Brown Sugar, Dijon Mustard, Salt and Pepper
- Aromatics: Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme, and Red Onion
- Butter: adds richness and flavor to the pork while keeping it moist
- Granny Smith Apples: added for the last little bit of cooking to add more flavor and they make a delicious addition to the meal
This is meant to just be an overview of the ingredients. Keep scrolling down to the recipe card to see all the measurements needed for each ingredient.
How to Make Braised Pork
One of the things I love about this recipe is that is a one-pot meal! Everything can be browned, braised and served right from this one dutch oven. Here are the steps for making this recipe:
- Prep: Preheat the oven. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Sear: Brown the pork on all sides in a little oil in a large dutch oven (see section below if you don’t have a dutch oven).
- Braising Liquid: While the pork sears, whisk together all the ingredients for the braising liquid.
- Combine: Once the pork is seared on all sides, pour the braising liquid in and add the herbs, onions, head of garlic and butter.
- Braise: Cover the pot and place in the oven to cook low and slow. Flip the pork halfway through the braising time.
- Apples: Peel, core and slice the apples into wedges and add them the pot to cook for another hour or so.
- Rest: Remove the pot from the oven let the cooked pork rest in the sauce for about 20 minutes.
- Final Touches: Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peels, smash the cloves and mix them into the sauce.
- Serve: Slice or shred the pork and serve with the apples, onions and sauce spooned over the top.
The full detailed instructions for making this recipe can be found in the recipe at the end of this post. You can also save or print the recipe from there.
What If I Don’t Have a Dutch Oven?
If you don’t have a dutch oven, or another oven safe pot with a lid, sear the pork in a skillet on stove and move the pork to a deep casserole dish. Pour the braising liquid over the top and add the rest of the ingredients. Then cover with foil and bake in the oven as the directions state.
Why is My Pork Shoulder Tough?
Pork shoulder can be quite tough if it isn’t cooked properly. If your pork is tough, it probably just needs more cooking time. Braising a pork shoulder over a long period of time breaks down the collagen down creating tender, fall apart pork.
What’s the Difference Between Pork Shoulder and Pork Butt?
There is no difference! Pork shoulder and pork butt are the same thing. Pork shoulder actually comes from the pig’s shoulder, so where in the world does pork butt come from? The name “pork butt” dates back to Colonial times when Boston butchers would pack the pork shoulder in barrels that they called butts.
Here are some other names that you might see tossed around for pork shoulder:
- Picnic shoulder
- Pork butt
- Boston butt
- Boston shoulder
- Fresh pork butt
- Boston butt roast
- Shoulder roast
What to Serve with Braised Pork Butt?
Going right along with the comfort food theme, we love this pork over the top of creamy mashed potatoes! The braising liquid becomes the most scrumptious sauce! Here are a few ideas of what to serve with this recipe:
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Easy: Besides browning the pork, all you have to do with this recipe is add ingredients to a pot and let it braise in the oven for a few hours. It couldn’t be easier! And it can all be done in one pot!
Comfort Food: This braised pork recipe just calls for cool fall evening with the fam or dear friends. It warms the belly and the soul!
Budget-Friendly: Pork shoulder is one of the most affordable meats out there and you can usually get pretty good deals on at Costco or at the grocery store. Pretty much all the rest of the ingredients are pantry or produce staples.
Impressive: The finished recipe looks like something you would order at a fancy restaurant that took hours to make. You dinner guests will be totally impressed and only you will know how totally simple it was.
Storing and Reheating
Store leftover braised pork shoulder in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for 4-5 days.
This recipe also freezes quite well. Let it cool completely and then store it in a freezer safe container or ziploc bag. Lay it flat in the freezer. It will keep for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheat refrigerated braised pork on the stove top or in the oven in a dutch oven until heated through. Add more liquid if needed.
I’m not sure why pork with apple is such a heavenly combination but it shines in this apple cider braised pork recipe. Savory tender fork braised with onions, apple cider, chicken stock and fresh herbs will practically melt in your mouth with every bite.
More Pork Recipes to Die for:
- Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
- Asian Sticky Slow Cooker Ribs
- Pork Carnitas
- Smoked Pulled Pork
- Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- Smoked Ribs
- Pineapple Habanero Pork
Apple Cider Braised Pork
- 5 lb Pork Butt, bone in, cut into large chunks then discard the bone (I prefer bone in because it has better flavoring and it has a fat pad.)
- 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- 2 1/2 Cups Apple Cider
- 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 Head Garlic, top sliced off
- 3 Sprigs Rosemary
- 4 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 Red Onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into wedges
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper, freshly cracked
- Preheat an oven to 325. Pat the pork pieces dry with a paper towel and season with kosher salt and pepper.5 lb Pork Butt, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, put the pork in, in a single layer. Sear for 4-5 minutes per side until the pork is deeply browned. Repeat on each side.2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- While the pork is searing, whisk together the apple cider, chicken stock, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.2 1/2 Cups Apple Cider, 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock, 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
- Once the pork is browned all over, pour in the braising liquid. Arrange the herbs and onions around the pork in a pan. Place the garlic head in the pot with the pork, and the butter on top of the pork. Cover and place in the oven.1 Head Garlic, 3 Sprigs Rosemary, 4 Sprigs Thyme, 1 Red Onion, 1 Tablespoon Butter
- Braise for 3 hours, start checking at 2 1/2 hours for boneless), flip the pork halfway through. Once the pork is just shy of fork tender, remove the pork from the oven and arrange the apples around the pork. Cover and return to the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.2 Granny Smith Apples
- The pork should be very tender at this point. Remove the pork and let it rest 20 minutes before serving.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves out, smashing them as you do and add back into the broth. Serve with the apples, onions and sauce over the pork.