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Rain or shine, this crispy, moist roast pork is a summer crowd pleaser. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

To most, using the kitchen oven in the late spring and early summer is a turn-off. But sunny and warm days are not always guaranteed in our coastal community this time of year. Easy-going guests and family will be flexible with dodging a few raindrops, but outdoor grilling during a spritz is not fun. No one likes a soggy, waterlogged hot dog bun.

This recipe for roasted pork shoulder from Calissa in Southampton will change your mind and check all the boxes for a memorable and delicious main course: tender and juicy meat with crispy, crunchy crackling and — best of all! — it’s weatherproof.

Start by looking for a good-quality forequarter cut of pork (shoulder or butt) with the skin still attached. “With a skin-on shoulder cut, also known as a picnic cut, what you want to do is cook low and slow,” explains chef Alex Tubero, culinary director for Civetta Hospitality, “rendering out all that fat and moisture that is underneath that skin to the point that it feels hard when it comes out of the oven.”

Tubero’s culinary journey within the hospitality group started in June 2020 as executive chef at Amali, the popular Mediterranean restaurant in midtown Manhattan. “I moved into the culinary director role in 2021,” he says. “My main goal is to push the culinary vision and principles set by the owners and myself and ensure we have the resources and ingredients to do so.” 

With the warm days of eating al fresco beckoning, Mykonos-inspired Calissa epitomizes family-style dining and sharing, with guests often ordering what Tubero describes as “large format” dishes.

“I spend most of my summer out east, and the Mediterranean and Hamptons lifestyles have many crossovers and greatly influence Calissa’s dining experience,” he notes. “The first time I suggested this roast pork dish for our summer menu, everyone was very hesitant it would sell,” he adds. “It ended up being very popular with large groups, with some guests calling in advance to reserve it for their table before we sold out.”

If that’s not enough reason to try this recipe for your next gathering, consider Tubero’s time-saving tip: Cook the pork before your guests arrive.

“It’s exciting for your dinner guests to see a large cut like this fully prepared and ready for the final touch,” he explains. “When it’s time to feed everyone, the oven’s already preset; raise it to as high as it can go, say 500 degrees, put the roast back in, and wait for the blistering to come up on the skin. In so many cultures, including Latin America, the skin of the pork is the most prized piece, that crispy crackling.”

Slicing and plating the dish on a platter will require a sharp knife, but that’s not necessarily the only way to enjoy it. “I think there’s something about tearing off that little piece you want while sharing this dish,” he says. “For me, the best moments in people’s lives are usually around a dinner table eating food, and the conversations that you remember.”

Easy to make ahead of time, Tubero’s recipe is as delicious room temp as hot out of the oven. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Side dish suggestions? Tubero implores you to let our local farm stands be your guide. “With all the amazing produce available here during the summer months, you can be as creative as you want. But ideally, some local heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, simply dressed with olive oil and salt, would be perfect. The best chef is always Mother Nature.”

To complete your Mediterranean experience, Kylie Monagan, a partner with Civetta Hospitality, suggests serving with either a bold white or a light red wine.

“The perfect white wine pairing would be an Italian verdicchio,” she says. “Its alkaline, savory, green character and powerful acidity perfectly suit this rich pork dish. Our favorite verdicchio, which we serve at Calissa, is made by La Staffa, just 20 kilometers from the Aegean coastline, so it certainly has a Mediterranean soul, and also happens to be biodynamic and organic.”

If you prefer red, a light to medium-bodied nebbiolo works well. “At Calissa, we love the barolo from Altre Vie and the barbaresco from Francesco Versio,” Monagan says.

Xinomavro is a Greek grape variety that is often likened to nebbiolo for its Mediterranean flavor profile and subtle power. Try Domaine Tatsis or Domaine Karydas for something more nuanced and delicate, or opt for Kir-Yianni for a bit more power.

Want to keep it local? We love the rich, bold nature of Channing Daughters’ 2022 Cuvee Tropical, a blend of muscat ottonel and chardonnay or, for a lighter red, As If Wines 2019 “Spark,” a blend of cabernet franc and merlot. 

Chef Alex Tubero’s cracklin’ roast pork shoulder

Prep Time 15 minutes
Serves 6 servings


  • 1 6-8 lb pork shoulder
  • salt
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges for serving
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil, for serving


  • Season only the flesh (not the skin) liberally with salt. Truss/tie your shoulder for even cooking.  Place on a baking rack with the skin side up. Roast at 325 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. The skin should be hard to the touch; when tapping on the skin it should sound hollow.
  • Allow the roast to rest for 15 minutes. Turn your oven up to 475 degrees. Place the pork back in the oven for 5 to10 minutes until the skin begins to puff and blister. Allow your roast rest for 20 to 30 minutes then slice with a serrated knife so you can cut through the skin. Serve with good quality extra virgin olive oil and lemon wedges