Author Notes: A pork shoulder roasting in maple and chipotle is what bacon in heaven must smell like.
I love that this is a no-bowl prep that comes together in the slow cooker and finishes quickly with a searing puff from a hot oven. The method is inspired by (and simplified from) David Chang's Momofuku Bo Ssam recipe (New York Times, January 15, 2012), and the spicy maple flavorway owes its charms to the magic of breakfast.
The finished product is quite tender and will shred, not carve. It's also salty, so dial it down if you're not going to pair it with a starch. Try it with tacos, in an Asian salad, over hot polenta or rice porridge....or with pancakes and eggs! And be sure to save the maple-chipotle roasting juices for something special.
Serves 8 or more
- 4 pounds pork butt, bone in
- 5 tablespoons maple syrup, plus 2 Tbsp
- 2 tablespoons sauce, chipotle in adobo
- 1/2 cup salt, plus 1 tsp
- The night before: combine the maple syrup (5Tbsp), adobo sauce and salt (0.5 cup) in a gallon zip bag. Seal the bag, mix everything together, then slip the pork shoulder in and zip up again. Chill overnight.
- In the morning: cut two 20-inch lengths of foil and arrange in a "+" on a clean surface. Remove the pork from the zip bag and nestle it, fat side up, at the center of the cross, drizzle with the leftover marinade, and wrap tightly in the foil.
- Set a slow cooker to "low", leave it with the pork packet, and go do your thing. Anything between 6 and 8 hours is fine.
- Carefully transfer the foil packet to a clean countertop and let the roast rest, at least ten minutes and up to an hour. Preheat an oven to 500 degrees, with the rack in the center.
- Line a roasting pan with parchment, unwrap the foil, and transfer only the pork to the roasting pan, fat side up. Drizzle with the remaining syrup and sprinkle the last tablespoon of salt over the meat. Save those amazing chipotle roasting juices for something special! (Collard greens, eg)
- Just before serving, blast the pork for 5-15 minutes in the preheated oven. Sam Sifton and David Chang's words here are great guidance: "blast it into lacquer" until you see "the souffle effect," the skyward puffing of the skin and fat.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Maple Recipe