Oven-Barbecued Pork shoulder, cut on slices on chopping board with rosemary, peppercorn and bay leaf on old dark planks with garlic and chili on background, view from above, close-up

Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder – Memorial Day Backyard BBQ Series

After a year of waiting and longing, peering into the horizon with hapless melancholy, trying to find hope and fight off the apathy – finally National Barbecue Month is here and we are overwrought with enthusiasm.  To get you ready for the frenzy we continue the Memorial Day Backyard BBQ Series with Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder.  Inspired by classic Cantonese cooking and featuring a thick molasses glaze, this pork shoulder is a finger-licking addiction.

Begin by slicing the pork shoulder into 2-3 even strips about 1” – 1½” thick, and then add to resealable bag to marinate.  The marinade is a heavenly smooth puree of garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.  The aroma and deep flavors of these Asian ingredients will permeate the pork with moisture and savory goodness.  Grill over medium heat to desired doneness, remove and let rest for 20 minutes.  To finish and glaze, bring reserved marinade, dark brown sugar, and molasses to a simmer and reduce.  Grill pork over medium-high heat, basting and turning every minute until thick, sticky glaze forms and caramelizes.  So moist, sticky, crusty, and sweet – this is what I call grown-up candy.  So fire up the grill, make sure you have an ample supply of moist wipes for clean up, and let’s celebrate National Barbecue Month with the Memorial Day Backyard BBQ Series.

Serves: 8

Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder Ingredients


  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
  • 1 wide 6″ piece ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • ¾ cup fish sauce
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup Shaoxing (Chinese rice) wine
  • ½ cup chili oil
  • ⅓ cup oyster sauce
  • ⅓ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 4–5-lb. skinless boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • Kosher salt

Glaze and Assembly

  • ¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • Bread-and-butter pickles, white bread, cilantro, and rinsed thinly sliced white onion (for serving)

Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder Directions


  1. Purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and sesame oil in a blender until very smooth. Place 1½ cups in a small bowl for glaze; cover and chill until ready to use. Pour remaining marinade into a 2-gal. resealable plastic bag.
  2. Place pork shoulder, fat side down, on a cutting board with a short end facing you. Holding a long sharp knife about 1″–1½” above cutting board, make a shallow cut along the entire length of a long side of the shoulder. Continue cutting deeper into meat, lifting and unfurling with your free hand, until it lies flat (it’s better to end up with 2–3 even pieces than 1 uneven piece). Add to bag with marinade and seal, pressing out air. Work pork around inside bag to coat with marinade. Chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Prepare grill for medium heat (with the cover closed, the thermometer should register 350°). Remove pork from marinade, letting excess drip off. Lightly season all over with salt. Watch for flare-ups. Cover and roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140°–145°. (You can also do the initial cooking in a 350° oven.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 20 minutes.
  4. Do Ahead: Pork can be roasted 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Glaze and Assembly

  1. Bring brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade to a simmer in a large saucepan; cook until reduced by one-third, 6–8 minutes (you should have about 1⅓ cups). Keep warm.
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Grill pork, basting and turning with 2 pairs of tongs every minute or so, until thickly coated with glaze, lightly charred in spots, and warmed through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part should register 130°–145°; be careful not to overcook), 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; slice against the grain ¼” thick. Serve with pickles, bread, cilantro, and onion.

Taken from BonAppetit.com

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