Easy Braised Pork Shoulder

For most of my childhood, I was blessed to have a stay-at-home mom who not only strived to raise my sibling and I under a biblical worldview, but saw the importance of modeling Christ-likeness in our home. My mom was in charge of taking care of things on the home front while my dad was at work. To this day, I have no idea how she did it and I’ll probably never truly grasp the depths of her sacrifice for me until I become a mom one day. Yet I’m so thankful that she chose to be a 24/7 homemaker and perceived motherhood as a higher calling from God. Why? Because if I had to name just one person that had the most profound impact on my faith from my birth until now, one that greatly shaped how I view God and how to love others, it’d probably be my mom. So for all of you stay-at-home moms out there, thank you for being so faithful despite how hard child-rearing can really be.

Growing up, I watched and learned a lot of typical housework from my mom. Believe it or not, I like washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen when it’s my turn to do them. I wouldn’t say that I’m anywhere near a clean freak (case in point: my messy room), but I certainly learned how to clean from my mom. Cooking was another area of daily household tasks that I really enjoyed learning with the help from my mom, even to this day.

In our house, we don’t tend to eat meat as part of the main course for most meals. To the dismay of the men in our family, my mom has this motto of “more veggies, less meat.” If we do eat meat, it’s usually ground up or diced pieces, mixed in with some kind of vegetables. Usually. We tend to save meat as an entrée for special occasions and events, or buy it only when there’s some irresistible sale at the market. Once in a while, my mom will make 高昇排骨 “gao sheng pai gu,” which means ascending pork spare ribs in literal translation. Sounds weird, right?

It’s called 高昇 “gao sheng” because of the sauce and in Chinese, it’s a witty play on words that I wish could be directly translated to English. The sauce is made with 5 different ingredients and the amount is always one number more than the previous ingredient. So basically, you increase the amount according to the ascending order. This makes this particular braised pork recipe super easy to memorize, as long as you get the sauce ingredient order right.

For this recipe, I chose to go with the boneless pork picnic shoulder over pork spare ribs because it’s great meat for braising. Also because it was on sale and cheaper than the spare ribs. Win.

You should ask your local butcher to cut the meat into strips. They may even cut it into chunks for you so you could skip that part in the prepping when you try this at home.

You start off with one tablespoon of rice cooking wine, then two tablespoons of granulated white (or brown) sugar, three tablespoons of black vinegar, four tablespoons of soy sauce, and five tablespoons of water.

See, super simple and quick. Getting the sauce right is really all that matters in this recipe. Then you braise the meat (I almost typed “praise” instead of “braise”), first bringing the sauce to a boil before covering the pan with a lid and cooking over low. Once the sauce is thickened, it’s done.

I highly recommend serving this dish with rice or noodles. Throw in some veggies into the mix and my mom would definitely approve. 🙂

Hope you like this recipe and if you try making this, let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

Easy Braised Pork Shoulder With 1-2-3-4-5 Sauce

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Print

You will need a skillet or a frying pan with a lid for this recipe. The lid is a must.


2 pounds pork shoulder (picnic), cut into chunks*
1 tablespoons of rice cooking wine (michiu)
2 tablespoons white granulated or brown sugar
3 tablespoons black vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons of roasted white sesame seeds for topping (optional)


  1. Combine the rice cooking wine, sugar, black vinegar, soy sauce, and water into a bowl. Stir until the sauce is well mixed and the sugar is fully incorporated with the liquid.
  2. Over medium high heat, place the cut chunks of pork directly in a pan or skillet.
  3. Pour the sauce over the pork. Raise the temperature to high and bring the sauce to a full boil. This should take about 6-8 minutes.
  4. After the sauce boils on high for another 5 minutes, adjust the heat to “low” and cover the pan or skillet with a lid. Cook with the lid on for about 28-30 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.
  5. Transfer the meat to a plate or a large serving bowl. Top with a tablespoon or two of roasted sesame seeds.

*Special Notes: This recipe may be used interchangeably with pork spare ribs. To save on prepping time, I recommend asking your butcher to cut the meat for you. We sometimes also add garlic and green onions to the sauce too.

*Edited 2/17/2015-I’ve received some feedback that the sauce wouldn’t thicken after 25 minutes and adjusted the instructions. Make sure that the sauce is on full boil for several minutes before cooking with the lid on. 

Written by www.perseveringjoy.com



  1. Aaron says:

    Looks good! Those sesame seeds make it fancy haha. Irregardless of cooking meals, being a parent is definitely hard work. I recently talked to Jess about how children should be raised to look like Christ (not their parents). I read it on a blog or heard it on a podcast or something. Something to think about! Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • endorap says:

      I agree. Kids definitely need to be raised to be more like Jesus, but practically as parents we really need to model that for them and to constantly point them to God. Children will naturally learn from their parents, so we must demonstrate Christ-likeness. I think in the early years, we could try to raise them to look like Christ but it’d be difficult because in order for them to look like Christ, they’d need to be saved first. What do you think?

      If you ever find that blog post/podcast, feel free to share it! 🙂


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