Spring Brings a Rhubarb-Braised Pork Shoulder

Gardening season brings rhubarb to balance sweet desserts and to zest up savory dishes.

When gardening season rolls around, I can’t wait to enjoy the fruits—and vegetables—of my labor. Though rhubarb is not the first plant to emerge, it has become one of my perennial favorites (pun intended). The main reason I love rhubarb? It is simply delicious. Its tartness balances sweet desserts and adds zest to savory dishes.

Chef Matt Myers from Brocach on Monroe Street includes rhubarb in his spring culinary landscape. In his recipe for rhubarb-braised pork shoulder, Chef Myers gives the plant a well-deserved spot in a main dish. The pork is coated in a sweet and spicy rub, seared to perfection and then slowly simmered in a delicious medley of rhubarb, onions, orange juice and tomatoes. The heap of tender meat that results is perfect on sandwiches or for a summer barbecue. In the garden or on the table, rhubarb is worth the wait.

Recipe: Rhubarb-Braised Pork Shoulder


2 tbsp butter
2 yellow onions, diced
10 stalks rhubarb, diced
1 tsp kosher salt
4 lbs pork shoulder
Two 28-oz cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 gallon orange juice


Place a large stockpot on the stove (big enough to hold pork and liquid) over medium heat. Melt butter in pot. Add onion, rhubarb and salt, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
Make spice mix. (See recipe below.)
Rub pork shoulder with half of spice mix and, on a large, hot skillet, sear on all sides until browned. Once pork is seared, add it to the sauteed rhubarb-onion mix, along with canned tomatoes, orange juice and remaining spice mix. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until tender, about 3 hours. You can partially cover or add a bit more liquid if needed.



Spice Mix

2 cups brown sugar
One 10 oz can chipotles in adobo
1/4 cup canola oil
6 tbsp salt
5 bay leaves, crumbled
5 tsp good-quality chili powder
    (heat of your preference)
4 tsp chipotle powder
4 tsp oregano leaf
3 tsp ground coriander

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Serving Suggestion:
Rhubarb-Braised Pork Sandwich
Enjoy a generous portion of pork on 2 slices crusty bread. Top with bleu cheese, arugula and giardiniera.


Otehlia Cassidy is a Madison writer and cook with a passion for local foods and culinary adventures. Read her new blog, Local Flavor, and find more recipes on the Habitat page of madisonmagazine.com.



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