Brining is a traditional French method of soaking meat in a liquid salt solution to preserve optimal juiciness. You can brine pork shoulder to both cure and marinade it before eating. Brining will help preserve the pork and give it a rich, salted flavor. Brining time varies between recipes, but it is usually between two and five days. The weight of the meat does not affect the brining time, so long as it is completely submerged in the brine. Ultimately, brining pork properly depends on the cook's own taste. The longer it is brined, the saltier the pork.
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Fill the pot with cold water so that the pork shoulder will be totally submerged. Use 2 1/2 gallons of water for every 3 lbs of pork shoulder. The ingredients should increase proportionally for larger weights of pork shoulder. For example, a 6 lb. pork shoulder will require the quantity of each ingredient to be doubled. The brining time remains the same.
Stir in the sugar and the salt. Crush the bay leaves and add them. Add all of the remaining herbs and spices and stir.
Add the pork shoulder, and place a plate over the pot to ensure that the pork stays submerged. Place it in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Take the pork out of the refrigerator after 5 days and place it on a clean dishtowel. Pat it dry to remove all of the surface water. Your pork is now brined, and you can roast or grill it as desired.