Braised Pork Shoulder, Heady with Garlic

With a savory fruit salad to welcome summer’s first fruits and Texas sheet cake to toast the grads.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. “Sister, I do what I do, and I do it better than most, and I take some satisfaction in that,” John D. MacDonald wrote in “One More Sunday.” (The novel is, I think, out of print, but available at your more discerning libraries.) “I am like a very dependable dog. They throw a stick into a jungle and I can go in there and bring it back.”

That’s me with pork shoulders: smoked or slow roasted, shredded for tacos, griddled for gyros. I’m perpetually in search of new recipes for that humble, delicious cut of meat. I cook with pork shoulders often, and better than many, and it leaves me content.

So I’m thrilled to try Ali Slagle’s new recipe for garlic-braised pork shoulder (above), wobbly and fragrant, perfect for tearing apart and serving over polenta or piling into a sandwich. Whole heads of caramelized garlic flavor the meat and its accompanying braising liquid, which you can amp up further with oregano and thyme.

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Garlic-Braised Pork Shoulder

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To go along with it, I’m thinking I could make Kay Chun’s new recipe for a savory fruit salad, which depends on crunchy fennel to counter the soft, juicy fruit. (Some people loathe the pairing of fruit with meat. If you’re one of them, this simple slaw should suit.)

Other things to cook this weekend: the crispy fried tofu sandwiches from Superiority Burger; Vallery Lomas’s blackened fish with quick grits; and the pared-down niçoise that is David Tanis’s potato and green bean salad. Those are righteous meals.

But if you’re lucky enough to have access to a grill, you might consider Steven Raichlen’s revelatory recipe for a reverse-seared steak, which I think goes nicely with my recipe for grilled romaine. (Basically, you cook the steak slowly, well away from the coals, until it reaches an internal temperature of 110 degrees. Then you rest the meat for a while, build up the fire and give it a final blast to sizzle the exterior and bring the temperature to around 125 degrees for rare, 135 for medium-rare.)

And how about a Texas sheet cake for dessert? (It’s coming up on graduation season. Sheet cakes ought to be everywhere.) Either that or a rhubarb crisp.

Many thousands more recipes are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you have a subscription. Subscriptions make this whole dance possible. I hope, if you don’t have one already, that you take one out today. Thanks.

Please write to us if you run into trouble with our technology: [email protected]. Someone will get back to you. Please write to me if you’re exercised or have something nice to say: [email protected]. I cannot respond to everyone (I get a lot of mail). But I read everything I receive.

Now, it’s nothing to do with how to poach an egg or blanch asparagus, but I think it’s important that you read an essay written by my boss, A.G. Sulzberger, in the Columbia Journalism Review. It’s titled: “Journalism’s Essential Value.” That value is independence, and as A.G. said earlier this week, it’s not just one of our core values. “It’s a promise we make the public.”

I saw Kyle Dunn’s painting, “Initiation,” on the website of Harper’s Magazine. It made me sad to miss his show at P.P.O.W. in Manhattan. (It closed on the 13th.)

If a chance to see Bellefonte, Pennsylvania presents itself: Do it. I made a pit stop there on a long drive east from Ohio last week. Bellefonte’s an extremely pretty town: charming old Victorians on the hills rising from the railroad and river, where trout pool above the low falls in Talleyrand Park.

Finally, here’s your daily dose of Palestinian hip-hop and electronica: Shabjdeed, Muqata’a and Al Nather, “Bansak.” Play that nice and loud and I’ll see you on Sunday.

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