Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks

You'll be the talk of the picnic table this season with this unexpected watermelon dish that is a delicious alternative to ribs and other pork roasts. Pork shoulder steaks are braised in a blend of miso, Sambal sauce, mirin, and yes, juicy summer watermelons.

Watermelon-Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks Recipe
Photo: Stephen DeVries; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
4 serves


  • 4 (8-oz.) pork shoulder steaks

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 cup mirin

  • 1/4 cup red miso

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce (such as Huy Fong)

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 1 cup chopped fennel (from 1 [8-oz.] fennel bulb)

  • 1/2 cup chopped leek (from 1 [6-oz.] leek)

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 5 cups seeded and cubed watermelon (1½-in. pieces) (from 1 [4-lb.] watermelon)


  1. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together mirin, miso, honey, and chili-garlic sauce in a medium bowl; set aside.

  2. Add oil to a large Dutch oven; heat over medium-high. Add steaks; cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate; reserve drippings in Dutch oven.

  3. Add fennel, leek, and garlic to Dutch oven; cook over medium, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in mirin-miso mixture; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in watermelon cubes; top with browned steaks.

  4. Cover Dutch oven; place in preheated oven, and cook until meat is fork tender and pulls away from bone, 1½ to 2 hours. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

  5. Transfer steaks to a serving platter. Spoon watermelon and sauce from Dutch oven over steaks. Serve immediately.

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