Tender Spanish pork shoulder with caramelized apple & pear jus

Iberico Secreto con jugo de pera y manzana caramelizada

Transform this classic Spanish pork shoulder dish with an incredible caremilzed apple & pear jus that’s infused with a little sweet sherry.

cerdo secreto is a Spanish pork shoulder thats been oven roasted in a earthenware dish

Tender Spanish pork shoulder with caramelized apple & pear jus

Iberico Secreto con jugo de pera y manzana caramelizada

Transform this classic Spanish pork shoulder dish with an incredible caremilzed apple & pear jus that’s infused with a little sweet sherry.

About This Recipe

Once you’ve prepared the marinade, this Spanish pork shoulder recipe takes less than 45 minutes to prepare and cook and is an ideal mid-week dinner option. It’s absolutely delicious on its own or can be a great meat-based main alongside some roasted veg

Personally, I prefer to make this dish alongside some roasted potatoes and roast leek with plenty of roasted garlic and thyme. Optionally, it’s really great with Poor Man’s potatoes  (Patatas a Lo Pobre). 

One thing that’s sure to stand out is the tender pork that’s been marinaded to perfection. When added with the incredibly warm spiced jus, the flavors infuse with the caramelized fruit and sweet sherry.

Jerez Sherry (Sweet Sherry)

 Sweet sherries (Jerez ducle) are made in two ways, either fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intense dark brown wine, or by blending sweet wines or grape varieties with a drier varieties of grape.

A plate of Spanish pork shoulder slices sits beside some roasted potatoes and garlic
A fryig pan sits with simmering apple and pear slices and a selection of spaices

Spanish Pork Shoulder – Best cut of meat to use

In Spain, this dish is usually made using cerdo secreto (literally translates to the secret pork) or iberico secreto (the same ‘secret’ cut of meat but from the Iberico breed of pig). Now, I’m sure many will ask what’s so secret about a pork shoulder? Well, cerdo secreto isn’t exactly a pork shoulder, but it’s close.  

A cut of Secreto usually tops the scales around 11-12 pounds and is best described a tender strip of pork that’s hidden beneath a thick layer of belly fat. The layering of fat in this meat allows it to be cooked quickly. It releases the fat and juices, making it utterly irresistible, especially when roasted as in this recipe

Unless you’re on very good terms with your butcher, you may get a few strange looks when requesting this cut of meat. For when it’s simply unavailable, request a de-boned front pork shoulder and you’ll have something that’s very close to Spain’s “secret” cut of pork.

marinaded pork shoulders sit in an earthenware dish

Booze infused

Beer does magical things to meat, especially when added to a marinade. It’ll provide plenty of bubbles to infuse the marinade into the meat and also offers some of the delicate flavors of beer to shine through. Try using a rich stout or IPA and see what a difference in flavors it can create. 

I also use a sweet Spanish sherry when making the marinade and reduce the amount of brown sugar. The alcohol cooks away and leaves the residual flavors of the sherry in the fruit, giving the jus a lovely warm flavor along with the sweetness from the caramelized fruits.

a cerdo secreto fillet sits in a frying pan dotted with fried cherry tomatoes

Equipment needed for roasting a Spanish pork shoulder

  • Large baking pan 30cm x 20cm (12 inches x 8 inches)
  • Small 20cm/8-inch frying pan
  • Aluminum foil (optional)

Serving:

4 people / 150 grams per person

 

Ready In:

Prepare 10 minutes / marinade 1 hour / Cook 30 mins

Skill Level

Easy

 

Serve with:

Roast potatoes or Patatas a lo pobre 

 

Ingredients

Method (step-by-step)

For the pork;

  • 800 gr/1.7 lb of boneless pork shoulder
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of sweet mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 130ml/4.5 fl. oz. of beer
  • Freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
  • Salt (for seasoning)

For the jus;

  • 1 pear (ripe)
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 60ml/2 fl. oz. water
  • 60ml/2 fl. oz. sweet sherry (We use Pedro Ximénez, a naturally sweet sherry from Spain)
  • 1-2 star anise
  • 3-4 clove sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Nutritional fact sheet

Method (step-by-step)

  • Step 1 – Prepare the marinade

    In a bowl, combine the sweet mustard, garlic, honey, thyme, sweet paprika, soy sauce, and 4-5 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix well. If the mixture is thick, add a little of the beer and mix again to a syrup-like consistency.

  • Step 2 – Marinade the Pork

    Add a splash of olive oil to the large baking tray, add the pork shoulder and pour the marinade till it evenly covers all the pork. With the remaining beer, pour over the pork and spoon the marinade over the meat.

  • Once coated evenly with marinade, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover tray with some foil or kitchen film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Step 3 – Roast pork 

    Heat fan-forced oven to 180ºC (360ºF), non fan forced ovens to 200ºC (400ºF).

  • Once oven is hot, remove foil from oven tray and add the tray of pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

  • Around the 10 minute mark, use a spoon to ladle the marinade over the pork and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes (allow a little more time if you’d like the pork to be cooked medium-well).

    (Optional) We won’t use all the apple or pear when making the jus. So optionally, cut half of the apple and pear into slices and add it beside the pork.

  • Step 4 –  Prepare the apple & pear jus

    Set aside 2 thin slices of the pear and put onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. (We will grill these later). 

  • With the remaining apple and pear, remove core and seeds and dice. On a medium heat, add the olive oil to the frying pan and once hot, add the apple and pear and saute for 5 minutes or until it becomes soft. Once soft, use a fork and gently mash the fruit. 

  • Add the water, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon and mix well. Bring back up to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. 

  • Add the sherry and mix well. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the jus and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the jus thickens. The sherry should mostly evaporate and once thickened, cover the jus with some aluminum foil and set aside for serving.

  • Step 5 – Grill the pear slices

    Once the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. 

  • Glaze the pear slices with some olive oil and (optional) sprinkle a little brown sugar on top. Add to the grill section of the oven and grill on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly golden and slightly crispy.

  • Note: The time taken will depend on how powerful your oven grill is, so be careful not to burn them!

  • Step 6 – To serve

    Remove the cooked pork from the pan and use a fork and shark knife to slice into ½-inch slices. When cooked perfectly, the pork should be slightly pink in the center. 

  • To plate, add the pork to a plate and use a tablespoon to drizzle the apple and pear jus over the pork slices. Finally, carefully take the grilled pear slice and top on the pork slices as a garnish. If you have roasted some of the apple and pear, these work great as a side garnish too! 

  • Best served with some roasted potatoes and paired with a young red wine, or a light lager beer.

Nutritional fact sheet

Nutrition & Diet

Pork shoulder

Like any meat dish, the key to a healthy diet is to eat portions of meat in moderation. The Mediterranean diet usually features around 0.5 lb per serving of meat each day.

Pork is not considered a lean meat, and pork shoulder (or cerdo secreto) is naturally quite a fatty cut of pork. this dish is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, but very high in fats.

  • Protein 50% 50%
  • Carbs 9% 9%
  • Total Fat 81% 81%
cerdo secreto is a Spanish pork shoulder thats been oven roasted in a earthenware dish
a cerdo secreto fillet sits in a frying pan dotted with fried cherry tomatoes

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Tender Spanish pork shoulder with caramelized apple & pear jus

Byron
Once you’ve prepared the marinade, this Spanish pork shoulder recipe takes less than 45 minutes to prepare and cook and is an ideal mid-week dinner option. It’s absolutely delicious on its own or can be a great meat-based main alongside some roasted veg.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
marinade time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course bbq, dinner, Main Course, meat
Cuisine meat, Mediterranean, protein rich diet, spanish
Servings 4 people
Calories 855 kcal

Equipment

  • Large baking pan 30cm x 20cm (12 inches x 8 inches)
  • Small 20cm/8-inch frying pan
  • Aluminum foil (optional)

Ingredients
  

For the pork;

  • 800 gr./1.7 lb of boneless pork shoulder
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1.5 tablespoons sweet mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 130 ml/4.5 fl. oz. of beer
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Salt for seasoning

For the jus;

  • 1 pear ripe
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 60 ml/2 fl. oz. water
  • 60 ml/2 fl. oz. sweet sherry We use Pedro Ximénez, a naturally sweet sherry from Spain
  • 1-2 star anise
  • 3-4 clove sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare the marinade

  • In a bowl, combine the sweet mustard, garlic, honey, thyme, sweet paprika, soy sauce, and 4-5 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix well. If the mixture is thick, add a little of the beer and mix again to a syrup-like consistency.

Step 2 - Marinade the Pork

  • Add a splash of olive oil to the large baking tray, add the pork shoulder and pour the marinade till it evenly covers all the pork. With the remaining beer, pour over the pork and spoon the marinade over the meat. Once coated evenly with marinade, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover tray with some foil or kitchen film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 3 - Roast pork

  • Heat fan-forced oven to 180ºC (360ºF), non fan forced ovens to 200ºC (400ºF).
  • Once oven is hot, remove foil from oven tray and add the tray of pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Around the 10 minute mark, use a spoon to ladle the marinade over the pork and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes (allow a little more time if you’d like the pork to be cooked medium-well).
  • (Optional) We won’t use all the apple or pear when making the jus. So optionally, cut half of the apple and pear into slices and add it beside the pork.

Step 4 - Prepare the apple & pear jus

  • Set aside 2 thin slices of the pear and put onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. (We will grill these later).
  • With the remaining apple and pear, remove core and seeds and dice. On a medium heat, add the olive oil to the frying pan and once hot, add the apple and pear and saute for 5 minutes or until it becomes soft. Once soft, use a fork and gently mash the fruit.
  • Add the water, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon and mix well. Bring back up to simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the sherry and mix well. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the jus and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the jus thickens. The sherry should mostly evaporate and once thickened, cover the jus with some aluminum foil and set aside for serving.

Step 5 - Grill the pear slices

  • Once the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Glaze the pear slices with some olive oil and (optional) sprinkle a little brown sugar on top. Add to the grill section of the oven and grill on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly golden and slightly crispy. Note: The time taken will depend on how powerful your oven grill is, so be careful not to burn them!

Step 6 - To serve

  • Remove the cooked pork from the pan and use a fork and shark knife to slice into ½-inch slices. When cooked perfectly, the pork should be slightly pink in the center.
  • To plate, add the pork to a plate and use a tablespoon to drizzle the apple and pear jus over the pork slices. Finally, carefully take the grilled pear slice and top on the pork slices as a garnish. If you have roasted some of the apple and pear, these work great as a side garnish too!
  • Best served with some roasted potatoes and paired with a young red wine, or a light lager beer.

Nutrition

Serving: 150gCalories: 855kcalCarbohydrates: 26.1gProtein: 35.8gFat: 63.4gSaturated Fat: 17.4gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 952mgPotassium: 184mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 13.8gCalcium: 28mgIron: 3mg
Keyword cerdo secreto, dinner, iberico secreto, main course, meat, mediterranean, pork
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