Balinese Spiced Pork Shoulder

Day PartDinner
Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeAsian
Balinese Spiced Pork Shoulder

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board

Chef Danhi spends a good part of the year traveling around Southeast Asia and has been a major force in promoting the food of Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia to American chefs and restaurateurs. Now that consumers are more comfortable with these cuisines, they may be ready to explore more exotic Asian dishes. This spiced pork shoulder is a good introduction, as it pairs a familiar barbecue format with the flavors of Bali. 


2 whole pork shoulders, bone removed and butterflied
Solid wood charcoal

Coconut Brine
3 whole coconuts
3 cups coconut water
5 oz. sea salt
5 oz. sugar

Spice Paste
10 shallots, roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2-in. piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2-in. piece galangal, thinly sliced
2-in. piece fresh turmeric, chopped or ½ tsp. dried turmeric
6-10 red Thai bird chilies, chopped
3 long red chilies, chopped
14 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and very thinly sliced
10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
5 candlenuts, crushed
1 tbsp. cumin seed, toasted and ground
2 tsp. white peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground
5 Balinese long peppercorns, ground
1 tbsp. Indonesian shrimp paste, roasted
1 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/4 cup palm sugar, grated

Basting Oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

Tomato Sambal
40 dried long red chilies, seeded, soaked and drained
24 shallots, chopped
16 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup dark brown palm sugar
1 tbsp. shrimp paste
2 tsp. sea salt
4 cups tomatoes, diced small
1 cup water


  1. Prepare 24-hour brine: Crack coconuts over large bowl with back of cleaver or heavy chef’s knife, saving coconut water for brine. Remove meat and reserve for another use; reserve coconut shells for smoking the pork.
  2. Combine 1 cup coconut water with salt and sugar; bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute to dissolve. Cool to room temperature and add remaining coconut water.
  3. Prepare spice paste: Grind together all the ingredients until a semi-fine paste forms. Rub paste into inside surfaces of pork shoulder; fold back up and tie tight.
  4. Transfer pork shoulders into one or two plastic bags; fill with brine and vacuum seal. Brine for 18-24 hours.
  5. Prepare rotisserie barbecue: Ignite about 5 lb. solid wood charcoal. Adjust rod about or skewers about 24 inches above coals.
  6. Prepare basting oil: Combine coconut oil and turmeric until well blended.
  7. Remove pork from brine; rinse briefly and pat dry. Secure pork on rotisserie; adjust motor to a constant slow rotation.
  8. Cook 7-9 hours at 200-250 F, basting pork with coconut oil mixture every 30 to 60 minutes. Add coconut shells to outlying coals to create smoke every 30 to 60 minutes and add more charcoal as needed to keep heat consistent. When done, pork should be a deep brown color and fork-tender.
  9. Remove pork from rotisserie but do not remove rod; cover loosely with foil and let rest 45 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare tomato sambal: In food processor or with mortar and pestle, grind chilies, shallots and garlic to a smooth puree. Heat oil over medium heat; add puree and cook until oil begins to separate from puree.
  11. Reduce heat to low; stir in sugar, shrimp paste and salt, mixing well. Add tomatoes and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until oil separates again, sambal becomes darker and tomato aroma subsides. Cool to room temperature.
  12. To serve, remove rod from pork shoulders and slice meat. Serve with tomato sambal. 

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