Candied Pork Shoulder

Candied Pork Shoulder
From Chris Shepherd, via Tasting Table

I finally have for you a much belated post celebrating my return to meat!  As you may recall, I gave up meat for Lent and stuck to fish as my main protein.  We cooked up lots of delicious marine life over those 40 days, but by Easter Sunday, boy oh boy was I craving me some land animal.  My first foray back to the wild side was biscuits and sausage gravy from a great Southern restaurant that we hit up after Easter mass.  I followed that up with Easter ham, which we purchased from the quintessential ham purveyor, Honey Baked Ham.  And therein lies the belatedness of the blog’s return to meat.  Since we didn’t actually make the main course for Easter, I’ve spent the last few weeks filling you in on our side dishes and deserts, all of which were fundamentally vegetarian.

Of course, the only blog-worthy way to reintroduce meat is to go big or go home.  Hence the 4-pound pork shoulder smiling at you atop the page.  And it’s not just any pork shoulder – it’s CANDIED!  Um, yeah.  It’s as good as it sounds.  The best pork dish we’ve ever made, in fact.  We’ve long been plagued by dry tenderloins and chops, and were starting to give up on this particular aspect of pigs altogether.  Luckily we gave this recipe a try, proving once and for all that moist, juicy and flavorful are terms that do apply to the meatier parts of this beloved animal.  And as an added bonus, the plethora of leftovers that resulted from our meal led to one of the best fried rice dishes we’ve ever thrown together!  Great success!

Meat…coated in sugar…heaven.


  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet is fine, as long as it’s smoked)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 lb bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup bourbon


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Combine paprika, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Rub entire pork shoulder with spice mixture and set aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Set pork in a rack-lined roasting pan.  Bake until meat is fork tender, about 5 hours.
  5. When 5 hours in nearly up, combine brown sugar and bourbon in a medium sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar and bourbon come to a simmer and the mixture reduces by about one quarter, about 5 minutes.
  6. After pork has cooked 5 hours, remove from oven and brush with 1/3 of the bourbon glaze.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Brush with another 1/3 of the glaze.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Brush with remaining glaze.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Don’t keep the glaze over heat this whole time, as it might burn.  However you may want to warm it a little right before each brushing, otherwise the sugar will re-crystallize.
  7. Remove pork from oven and rest on the counter for 15 minutes.
  8. Slice meat and serve.

Serves 4-6.

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One Response to Candied Pork Shoulder

  1. Doreen Dodero says:

    I should not have read this recipe hungry. It sounds sooooo good, my mouth is watering.

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