Potted Pork

Digging into some cretonsSlow-cooked pork that is mixed until creamy and spreadable. It is very similar to the French rillette. Rillettes are traditionally sealed in ramekins with rendered fat. This is great for potted pork, too.  Especially in winter, as the fat looks like a skating rink once it sets, and because with the addition of a sprig of rosemary and some peppercorns, you can imitate holly.

Potted Pork


  • 2 kgs pork shoulder (preferably the round “blade roast” from the Boston butt)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • dried summer savoury
  • fresh thyme
  • 1/4 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • roughly 1 L quality lard
  • roughly 1/4 cup Dijon mustard


  1. Rub generous salt, black pepper, and dried savoury over the entire surface of the pork shoulder.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Find a high-sided casserole or Dutch oven that just, just fits the pork shoulder.  Put the sliced onion, crushed garlic, and vinegar in the bottom of the dish.  Put the pork should on top, and add melted lard until the meat is fully covered (or mostly covered…). Cover casserole with lid or foil.
  3. Bake in a 250°F oven until pork is easily shredded with a fork, about 4-6 hours.  Once tender remove the casserole from the oven and let rest about an hour.
  4. Put the ramekins or serving dishes on a sheet tray in the 250°F oven.  This isn’t necessary if you will be eating the potted pork in a few days, but if you want to keep it for weeks in the fridge, you should sterilize the ramekins.
  5. Remove the pork shoulder from the cassarole and coarsely shred with a pair of forks.  Don’t worry too much about getting the meat finely shredded as the mixer will be taking care of that shortly.
  6. Strain the fat and jus from the casserole.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the shredded pork and mustard.  We are also going to back add most of the jus and a good deal of the fat.  This is where a formal recipe is nearly impossible as the amount of jus and fat that you end up with will vary hugely depending on the size of your vessel and the character of your pork and a number of other factors.  Mix with a paddle attachment until the meat is finely shredded and has come together is a somewhat homogeneous mass.
  8. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, mustard, and fat content.
  9. Transfer the pork mixture to the hot ramekins, gently pressing it down with the back of a spoon to remove as much air as possible.  Fill the ramekins to about 1 cm from the top.
  10. Ladle hot lard over the top of the pork mixture so that the meat is uniformly covered by a thin layer of fat.

Cretons, sealed with lard