Sunday, March 11, 2012

Candied Pork Shoulder

I am a sucker for email listservs.  I probably get 10 emails a day from various listserves on food, fashion and everything in between.  Tasting Table is probably one of my favorites.  First and foremost, the emails from Tasting Table generally impart really interesting restaurant news/gossip.  I love knowing hearing about new restaurants opening in NYC and getting a preview of the menu.  And then there are the recipes contributed by various chefs.  A lot of the recipes sound really delicious, but require a little too much effort.  For instance, Floyd Cardoz's Coddled Eggs with Crab, Bacon and Leeks sounds amazing, but just look at the list of ingredients and the directions.  It's way too much trouble for a weeknight meal, but maybe we could try making the eggs on a lazy weekend?  On the other hand we have thoroughly enjoyed the recipes we have tried, including the Guacamole with Tomatillos and Queso Fresco and Bklyn Larder's Spicy Tomato Soup.  This recipe was one that was semi-complicated, but sounded totally worth the trouble.  Both Alex and I love pork shoulder and he really loves bourbon.  I knew it would be an easy sell.

Things that I loved about the pork - the flavor of the spice rub and the glaze on the pork was excellent.  It had a really nice spice level.  I was worried that it would be a little too sweet and/or too boozey, but it really wasn't.  It was still a little sweet but the bourbon cooked off and the other flavors really balanced it out.  My one complaint was that the pork wasn't as juicy as I wanted it to be.  I'm not sure if it was the cooking method, or if we just overcooked it slightly.  Either way, it was a fun dish, one that I would make again with some tweaks. 

Recipe after the jump!

Candied Pork Shoulder
Available on Tasting Table
Recipe adapted from Chris Shepard, Underbelly, Houston, TX

For the Pork Shoulder
1 tablespoon hot or sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)
1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
One 4-pound bone-in pork shoulder
For the Glaze
2½ cups loosely packed light brown sugar
½ cup bourbon

Preheat the oven to 275°. In a small bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder and set aside for 30 minutes.

Set the pork onto a rack-lined roasting pan and place in the oven. Cook until the flesh is fork tender and the bone moves around easily with no resistance, about 5 hours.

When the pork has about 15 minutes cooking time left, make the glaze: In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, bring the brown sugar and bourbon to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by one-quarter, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pork from the oven and brush one-third of the glaze all over the shoulder. Continue to roast for 30 minutes longer, glazing the roast every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before breaking the meat apart into big pieces. Serve.

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