We’re massive fans of award-winning Chicago chef Paul Kahan’s new cookbook, Cheers to the Publican, out now. Make this pork shoulder with white grits and you won’t even notice five days of marinating have gone by. 

This recipe 100 percent came from Suzanne Goin. We have differing stories, Suzanne and I, but basically we did a farm dinner in Chicago with Gabrielle Hamilton, Wylie Dufresne, and Michael Schlow and Suzanne made this dish, which she has continued to make. She confited a whole sucking pig in duck fat, picked out the meat, and pack it back together into a patty with residual duck fat. Then she cut squares of the pig skin and put them on top of the patties, so it was like a burger, served them with Tuscan kale cooked with shallots and pancetta, and finished it with a simple salsa verde. My first thought was, Oh my God. My second thought was, I’m stealing that. And my third thought was, If I ever write a cookbook, there will be a whole homage to Suzanne. We’ve interpreted the dish a little differently, but it’s got the same fatty, hyper-meaty flavor with tons of texture.

Cosmo: At the restaurant, we take the picked meat; throw it in a hot pan to crisp it up; deglaze the pan with jus, stock, and a little knob of butter; and cook it down until maybe a touch of juice is left but most of it has gotten to that lip-smacky-tacky place. There’s the crunchiness from what got crisped up and the supple meat and the glaze that it’s all coated in — it’s crazy.

For home-making purposes, we made it a little simpler though — don’t get us wrong — it’s still a time-consuming project. Don’t worry; it just takes time, space, patience, and some help from your local butcher. Instead of cooking an entire suckling pig, you can confit the shoulder — or cook it low and slow in a bunch of lard — then finish it off on the grill with a shellac of tart-sweet verjus glaze, and mound it on a platter with a dandelion green salad and a hot pot of grits. It’s a great recipe for having people over. Oh, and don’t get fancy when it comes to buying grapes. No local, special variety farmers’ market grapes will ever be as good as the ones you get from the grocery store. They might be awesome the first hour after you buy them, but then they get all mushy and don’t keep that great grape crunch. We did a taste test; it’s true.

Reprinted with permission from Cheers To The Publican, Repast And Present