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Balsamic Braised Pork Shoulder

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This hearty and flavorful yet cozy meal is sure you warm you up and fill your tummy.  Balsamic braised pork is full of flavor and can be made in a Dutch oven or a crockpot.

Shredded balsamic braised pork served on a bed of mashed potatoes with green peas on the side.

If you are looking for a new way to enjoy pork shoulder, you are in the right place. This recipe results in the most tender pork that is served in a balsamic rosemary gravy.

It is perfect over mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta. Or load up a bun for a perfect sandwich experience.

You can braise the pork butt in a Dutch oven if you would like, or use a crockpot. Either way it will be luscious and your house will smell great.

Large chunks of balsamic braised pork on mashed potatoes with roasted acorn squash nearby.

About the Recipe

Talk about a versatile meal, this braised pork is so full of flavor. It takes a while to make, but very little active time and the results are so worth it.

It makes a perfect comfort food meal, but the flavors are sophisticated enough to make it company worthy as well. Serve it over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice so there is something to help sop up the delicious sauce.

Or serve it on some nice bread for an upscale twist on a pulled pork sandwich. The cooking liquid is so full of flavor, you need a way to enjoy every last drop.

The Pork

Pork butt or pork shoulder is a great cut of meat for low and slow cooking. That is why it is a favorite for smoking or braising.

Those longer cooking methods give the connective tissue and fat plenty of time to break down. That makes the meat so tender and sumptuous.

Ingredients including pork roast, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, rosemary, bay leaves, and cornstarch ready to be made into braised pork.

You can do a whole pork should if you would like. Just double the cooking liquid ingredients.

I usually just pick up a three to four pound pork shoulder roast from the store. Our grocery stores usually have them available and they are wrapped in a net which makes them easier to handle.

The Process

For maximum flavor, you are going to want to sear the outside of the roast before you braise it. Just heat up some oil in your Dutch oven or a large skillet.

When the skillet is good and hot, carefully place the pork in the pan and keep it there until it forms a nice golden brown crust. Then rotate the meat so that each side gets browned.

If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step and place the raw pork directly into the braising liquid. However, this step does add another layer of flavor.

The browning step does not cook the pork through, so now it is time to do that. So we will need to mix up the braising liquid.

It is a tasty mix of balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary, and bay leaves. If you don’t have honey on hand, you can use maple syrup or brown sugar.

If you are using a Dutch oven, put it in a low oven and let it cook for several hours. Or just toss everything in your slow cooker.

Either way, you will have tender meat after several hours. Remove it from the pot for a minute so we can focus on the liquid.

You will want to remove some of the grease from the mix. If you want to skim it off the top you can, but I prefer to use a grease separator.

Cooked pork shoulder roast on cutting board with fat separator in the background showing balsamic layer and fat layer.

Stir in a little cornstarch slurry to thicken it up and you are ready to return the meat to the pot. You can either chop it up a bit or shred it with a couple of forks.

Once it is coated in that thickened sauce, you are ready to serve. And not a minute too soon, you are about to find out that it was worth the wait.

More Great Pork Shoulder Recipes to Try

If you like fun pulled pork variations, you may want to try apple cider pulled pork. It is a great slow cooker recipe that has a wonderful flavor profile of mustard and cider.

For a brighter variation, you may like Pacific pineapple pulled pork. It has flavors inspired by the islands like ginger, soy and of course pineapple!

Dinner plate with roasted acorn squash, mashed potatoes and tender pork served in balsamic gravy.

If you aren’t so sure about the fruit in your pork, try hula pulled pork. It has a fun sauce made of sriracha, ginger and soy sauce.

With all of these great options, it is hard to know what to make first. Since you are here on the balsamic and rosemary, I’d go ahead and pick that on today. But be sure to put the others on your must make list as well!

Shredded balsamic braised pork served on a bed of mashed potatoes with green peas on the side.

Balsamic Braised Pork

Balsamic braised pork is tender and full of flavor. Make sure to have some mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta ready because you are going to want to lap up every last drop of the sauce. It is a perfect filling meal that is simple enough for a family meal but tasty enough for company.
4.93 from 13 ratings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinners
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 378 kcal


  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • cup honey
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


Dutch Oven Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
    2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over pork and brown pork on each side.
    3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • Remove from heat. Pour vinegar and honey over pork. Add rosemary and bay leaves. Add 4 cups of water. Cover with lid and place in oven.
    ½ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅔ cup honey, 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 bay leaves
  • Braise for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove meat from braising liquid. If desired, skim the fat off the liquid.
  • Over low heat, simmer liquid adding a slurry of a couple of tablespoons of water and corn starch. Bring to a simmer.
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Cut meat into chunks, removing any remaining chunks of fat and heat until warm.
  • Serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or on a bun.

Crockpot Directions

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • Season all sides of the pork roast with salt and pepper. When the oil is glistening, carefully place the pork into the pan. Brown each side of the roast. (You can skip the browning if you are inched for time, but it does add another layer of flavor.)
    2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • Mix the vinegar, honey, rosemary, and bay leaves together in crockpot. Add a cup of water.
    ½ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅔ cup honey, 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 bay leaves
  • Place pork loin into liquid in crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove meat from liquid. Remove the grease, bay leaves, and rosemary from the liquid.
  • Make a slurry with the cornstarch and a couple of tablespoons of water. Stir into braising liquid.
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Chop meat or shred with forks, removing any remaining fat. Return meat to pot and cook until the liquid starts to bubble and thicken.
  • Serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or on a bun.


You can use maple syrup or brown sugar in place of the honey.
If you don’t have fresh rosemary, use a couple of Tablespoons of dried rosemary.
It is hard to overcook the meat in this recipe, so it is okay if it cooks for a bit longer than the recipe suggests.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 26gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 98mgSugar: 7g
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Recipe Rating

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

What a delicious and different twist! When I can have a "normal" shopping trip, I'm going to have this on the list to try!


Friday 24th of April 2020

Cooking is extra challenging right now, isn't it? This will be a perfect comfort food to try when things start opening back up.

The Old Fat Guy

Saturday 16th of January 2016

I love rosemary and pork. This looks great.

The Old Fat Guy

Sunday 17th of January 2016

You are lucky. Rosemary really hates the cold winters up here even if I bring it in.


Sunday 17th of January 2016

Thank you! Me too and luckily rosemary is hearty enough to stay alive in a pot on my back porch throughout the winter. It usually doesn't look great come spring, but it green up once it is warm out and it gets to go back outside!

A Kansas Farm Mom

Monday 2nd of November 2015

I selected this as one of my featured posts in this month's Country Fair Blog Party! Head on over and check it out!


Monday 2nd of November 2015

Thank you so much!


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

This sounds really delish! Pinning, I love rosemary and Balsamic so this is the perfect recipe! Thanks for sharing.


Thursday 24th of September 2015

We thought it was really good! It is fun to start having some fall favorites creeping back onto the menu. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

I love the tang of balsamic vinegar and it helps to cut through the richness of the pork! I can't wait to make this and use the leftovers for a great breakfast scramble. If there are any! Thanks for sharing with Saucy Saturdays!


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

Oh my goodness, that would be delicious! I sauteed some onions and mushrooms with our leftovers and served it with pasta! YUMMMM!