An evening that calls for both bourbon and pork is sure to be delicious and raucous. This recipe for candied pork, from chef Chris Shepherd's soon-to-open Underbelly in Houston, TX, combines the two, creating one falling-apart, over-the-top main course. Pork shoulder is rubbed with spices and slow-roasted for hours before being slathered with a potent mixture of brown sugar and bourbon, capturing the tender meat in a crisp, spicy-sweet crust. Is it just us or is the weekend calling already?
Recipe adapted from Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston, TX
Yield: Serves 6
Cook Time: 5½ hours (plus 45 minutes to rest)
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
2½ cups loosely packed light brown sugar
½ cup bourbon
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.