Sautéed Pork Shoulder with Honey, Sesame and Fennel

Last Updated on December 11, 2023

We often think of pork shoulder for long, slow braises, but it actually can thrive in a quick high-heat setting, too. Here we take bite-size cubes of ButcherBox pork shoulder, sauté them with chopped sweet fennel and carrots, then simmer it all in a punchy, peppery lemon-honey pan sauce. You’ll never look at pork shoulder the same way again. Enjoy it with brown rice or another starchy side to soak up that sauce.

Sautéed Pork Shoulder with Honey, Sesame and Fennel

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Protein: Pork
Cut: pork shoulder
Diet: Dairy Free
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic divided
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed chili flakes 
  • 1 1/2 pounds ButcherBox pork shoulder defrosted, pat dry thoroughly
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small head fennel cored, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bunch small carrots tops removed, carrots chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Cooked brown rice for serving


  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk ½ cup water with half of the garlic and the honey, lemon juice, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and the chili flakes.
  • Place the pork shoulder on a cutting board, cut into 1-inch chunks and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and the flour over the pork and toss well to coat each piece. 
  • In a large (12-inch) cast-iron or other heavy-bottom pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pork and sauté until golden brown on all sides and an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of a few cubes is 135ºF, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the fennel, carrot and the other half of the garlic to the pan, season with salt, stir to combine and then cook, stirring, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, pour in the honey-sesame mixture and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about ¼ cup.
  • Serve hot with warm brown rice.
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