What to do with drippings from smoked pork shoulder?

Imagine the satisfaction of smoking a succulent pork shoulder on your backyard grill all day. The smoky aroma and sizzling sound of the meat leave you salivating, and finally, dinner is served. But as you remove the meat from the grill, you realize that there’s something equally delicious left behind – the drippings.

Drippings are often neglected, but they’re a valuable and versatile ingredient that can add flavor to any dish. In this case, the drippings from smoked pork shoulder are particularly rich and flavorful, infused with the essence of smoke. But what should you do with them?

In this blog post, we’ll explore ways to use these drippings to take your cooking up a notch. From using them as a marinade or sauce to incorporating them into soups and stews or even making gravy, we’ll show you how to transform this often-overlooked ingredient into an essential part of your culinary arsenal.

So grab a pen and get ready to elevate your cooking game with these tips for what to do with the drippings from your smoked pork shoulder.

The Value of Pork Shoulder Drippings

Smoking a pork shoulder is a labor of love that requires patience, attention to detail, and skill. But did you know that the drippings that pool during the cooking process are a treasure trove of flavor and nutrients that can take your dishes to new heights? Pork shoulder drippings are an often-underestimated byproduct of smoking, but they are a versatile and valuable ingredient that can transform your cooking.

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One of the easiest and most popular ways to use pork shoulder drippings is to make a sauce or gravy. The rich, meaty flavor of these drippings forms the perfect base for a savory sauce that can elevate any dish. Whether you’re serving it alongside the smoked pork shoulder, drizzled over mashed potatoes, or as a topping for roasted vegetables, a homemade sauce made with pork shoulder drippings is sure to impress. Simply strain the drippings through a fine-mesh sieve, heat them up in a saucepan, add some flour or cornstarch to thicken, season with salt and pepper, and voila. You have a delicious homemade sauce.

Another way to incorporate pork shoulder drippings into your cooking is to use them in soups and stews. The depth of flavor these drippings add can transform a good soup or stew into an unforgettable one. Simply replace some or all of the broth in your recipe with pork shoulder drippings and let the flavors meld together. The result will be a rich and satisfying broth that will keep you coming back for more.

For those looking for a more indulgent approach, pork shoulder drippings can also be used to make mouthwatering mac and cheese. By adding the drippings to the cheese sauce along with some cooked pasta and baking it in the oven until bubbly and golden brown, you’ll create an irresistible dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.

But wait, there’s more. Pork shoulder drippings can also be used as a marinade for grilled meats or as a base for homemade salad dressings. They can even be used to flavor side dishes like beans, rice, or vegetables.

Making a Sauce or Gravy with the Drippings

Don’t let those flavorful drippings go to waste. With a few simple steps, you can transform them into a mouthwatering sauce or gravy that will have your taste buds dancing.

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To start, strain the drippings through a fine mesh strainer to ensure a smooth and consistent texture. From there, the possibilities are endless. One popular option is to use a roux, a mixture of flour and fat that acts as a thickening agent. Melt butter or fat in a pan and add an equal amount of flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture turns a light golden brown.

Once your roux is ready, slowly whisk in the strained drippings, adding desired seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder or herbs for added flavor. Be sure to stir constantly and avoid letting the mixture boil or become lumpy. The end result should be a silky smooth sauce or gravy that is sure to impress.

If you prefer a more concentrated flavor, try reducing the drippings down by simmering over low heat for an extended period of time. Once reduced, use the resulting sauce as a glaze for your smoked pork shoulder or as a dipping sauce on the side.

Incorporating the Drippings into Soups and Stews

As any seasoned smoker knows, the drippings that collect at the bottom of your pork shoulder are liquid gold. But what to do with them? The answer is simple: incorporate them into soups and stews for a rich and flavorful depth that will take your dish to the next level.

Before you start adding those drippings to your pot, it’s important to strain them to ensure a smooth and delicious soup or stew. Simply pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any solids or impurities.

It’s worth noting that drippings can be high in fat, so it’s a good idea to skim off any excess fat that rises to the surface during cooking. But don’t let that deter you – the smoky and savory taste that smoked pork shoulder drippings add to soups and stews is worth the extra effort.

Looking for some inspiration? Try incorporating those drippings into split pea soup, black bean soup, or chili for an added depth of flavor that will have your taste buds singing.

Using the Drippings for Mac and Cheese

Look no further than the rich, smoky flavor of pork shoulder drippings. This liquid gold is the perfect addition to take your classic mac and cheese dish to the next level.

To begin, cook your macaroni according to package instructions and remember to save a cup of the pasta water. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour to create a roux. As you whisk, slowly pour in your reserved pork shoulder drippings until the mixture thickens into a savory gravy.

Now, it’s time to add some creaminess. Whisk in milk until the mixture becomes velvety smooth. Then, add shredded cheddar or Gouda cheese and stir until melted and fully combined. With a dash of salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, this sauce is sure to hit all the right notes.

Once your sauce is ready, fold in the cooked macaroni and some of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed. Top it off with breadcrumbs or additional cheese before baking it in the oven until golden brown and bubbly.

This dish is perfect for using up any leftover pork shoulder drippings you have on hand, and it’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering or family dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easily customizable with different types of cheese or seasonings to suit your personal taste preferences.

Creative Uses for Pork Shoulder Drippings

Don’t let those delicious pork shoulder drippings go to waste. As an expert in the field, I have compiled some creative uses for pork shoulder drippings that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Let’s start with a classic use for pork shoulder drippings – making a flavorful sauce or gravy. It’s easy. Simply strain the drippings and add flour, butter, and seasonings to create a savory sauce that pairs perfectly with your smoked pork shoulder.

But wait, there’s more. Pork shoulder drippings can also serve as a base for soup or stew, adding depth and complexity to any recipe. Just simmer the drippings with some vegetables, herbs, and spices, then add your preferred protein and additional ingredients to create a hearty and satisfying dish.

Feeling adventurous? Try using pork shoulder drippings to make a unique salad dressing. By combining the drippings with olive oil, vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard, you can create a tangy and savory dressing that will elevate any salad.

And let’s not forget about using pork shoulder drippings as a marinade or glaze for other meats. The rich flavor of the drippings pairs well with chicken, beef, or even fish. Simply brush the drippings onto your preferred meat before grilling or roasting for an unforgettable dish that’s bursting with flavor.


Don’t let those drool-worthy drippings from your smoked pork shoulder go to waste. These liquid gold nuggets are a treasure trove of flavor that can take your dishes from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether you’re making sauces, gravies, soups, stews, mac and cheese or salad dressings, these drippings are a versatile ingredient that can add depth and complexity to any dish.

To get the most out of your pork shoulder drippings, strain them through a fine-mesh sieve and remove any excess fat. This will give you a rich and savory base for sauces and gravies that will have everyone licking their plates clean. You can also use the drippings in place of broth in soups and stews for an unforgettable smoky flavor.

Get creative with your pork shoulder drippings by using them as a marinade or glaze for other meats. Or try something completely different like using them as a salad dressing for a unique twist on a classic dish.

The bottom line is that these often-overlooked drippings are too good to throw away. So next time you smoke a succulent pork shoulder on your backyard grill, make sure to save those drippings and use them to elevate your cooking game.

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