Ornamental Separator

Barbeque Shoat or Pork

Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home

Barbeque is an American adaptation that combines the Old World pig, a West Indian cooking technique, a Spanish word “barbacoa” describing the Taino and Carib peoples’ wooden hurdles, and time. It has to be cooked slowly and basted. Often a pit was dug into the ground and a whole pig was slowly turned over hot coals.

18th Century

This is the name given in the southern states to a fat young hog, which, when the head and feet are taken off, and it is cut into four quarters, will weigh six pounds per quarter. Take a fore quarter, make several incisions between the ribs, and stuff it with rich forcemeat; put it in a pan with a pint of water, two cloves garlic, pepper, salt, two gills of red wine, and two of mushroom catsup, bake it and thicken the gravy with butter and brown flour; it must be jointed and the ribs cut across before it is cooked, or it cannot be carved well; lay it in a dish with the ribs uppermost; if it be not sufficiently brown, add a little sugar to the gravy; garnish with balls.

— Randolph, Mary. “The Virginia Housewife”

21st Century


  • 6-8 lb. bone in pork shoulder, or pork butt with bone in and skin removed
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ -½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups of stuffing from the recipe Forced Cabbage (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Optional: Make incisions at the bone and stuff the forcemeat into the cavity.
  3. Put the meat into a baking dish with the water, wine, Worcestershire Sauce and garlic. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
  4. Every 30-45 minutes, uncover the pan and baste the pan drippings over the meat.
  5. Continue to cook the meat until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.
  6. Remove the meat from the pan, wrap it in aluminum foil, and set aside.
  7. Melt the butter in a pan on low heat, add the flour and combine into one solid mass. Set aside.
  8. Make a sauce with the cooking liquid. Carefully strain the liquid and return it to the pan. Set the baking pan on top of the stove on medium heat. Add brown sugar if necessary to taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  9. Thicken the sauce with butter/flour mixture.
  10. Return the meat to the pan. You should be able to remove the bone by hand. Shred, chop or slice the meat as you wish, mixing the meat into the sauce, or leave it whole as is shown with sauce over and under, and carve it at the table.
  11. Optional: Add fried forcemeat balls as a garnish.

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