If you’re like me, then eating the same thing over and over again can get boring — fast. I feel the best way to spice things up a little is to try different marinades for my protein. Pork shoulder is perfect to experiment with because it has tons of flavor all on its own, and it’s cheap compared to other cuts of meat. You save a little money and get to try a new recipe — sounds good to me. I know I don’t want to spend tons of money on chicken or fish and end up not liking how it tastes when I’m done cooking.
After you experiment and find a marinade you like, feel free to get a little crazy and try it out on chicken… even chops.
Keep in mind that to make a killer marinade, you’ll need the following: oil or another liquid fat, acid, something salty and/or sweet and aromatics.
Orange juice marinade
To make an orange juice marinade, in a large pot, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of orange juice, 4 crushed garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper and dried oregano leaves. Add your pork shoulder, and marinate overnight (if you can). Make sure you don’t marinate for more than 24 hours, though; your meat will break down too much and become mushy. No one wants to nosh on mushy meat for dinner.
Korean barbecue marinade
If you want to try a marinade with some Asian flair, this is the perfect one. Combine 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/3 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger root, 1/4 cup of chopped scallions and salt and pepper, to taste. To impart more flavor into my pork shoulder, I make a few incisions all over the meat so the marinade can seep into it. This will give you marinade flavor both outside and in.
For this Latin-inflected marinade, mix together 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of pepper and the zest of 1 lime. Your pork shoulder will be bursting with citrus flavor.
Combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, mustard powder and chipotle chili. Rub this all over your pork shoulder, and let it marinate in the fridge overnight as you normally would.
I know what you’re thinking: What happened to the rules? Where’s the oil? Where’s the citrus?
This is a dry marinade or dry rub. Slather it all over your pork shoulder, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. You’ll be mind-blown by the flavor you get from this pork shoulder. It’s perfect for summer cookouts.
Go tropical with this marinade. Combine 1 cup of pineapple juice, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 4 crushed garlic cloves and 1/3 cup of olive oil. If you’re not a huge fan of pineapple juice, you can swap it for mango. Each of these marinade recipes can be customized with your favorite ingredients.
I know I love lemon-pepper chicken. This marinade takes those same core ingredients and uses it on pork shoulder. Can’t lose! Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil with the zest from 2 lemons, 1-1/2 tablespoons of dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper. It’s that simple.
Garlic and pork shoulder go hand in hand. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Make a simple marinade with 5 chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper and dried oregano and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. This will give you a classic pork shoulder recipe I know you’ll fall in love with.