Making a big prime rib for Christmas might not be up your alley or in your budget.
It’s a delicious cut of meat, to be sure, but cooking it can be nerve-wrecking. Beef isn’t as forgiving as pork, and if you have some guests who don’t like beef that’s still pink in the center, you’ll be twisted into knots trying to cook the meat to everyone’s liking.
If you’re looking for another meaty main dish that is cheaper, easier and less fussy to prepare, check out this overnight roast pork from “Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead” (Ten Speed Press, $35) by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.
The method is simple: Make a paste with garlic, brown sugar and various spices. Rub it all over a boneless pork butt. Roast at a super high temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, and then drop the temperature to just about as low as your oven might go. Continue roasting 6 to 8 hours, and then you can serve the meat sliced on its own with juices from the pan or shredded and tucked into tamales or tacos.
You can take out the brown sugar and maple syrup and add red pepper flakes and paprika for an even bigger flavor, but don’t skip tying up the roast. No matter if you’re roasting pork or beef, using kitchen twine to make the meat more compact will keep the meat from falling apart in the oven, but more importantly, it creates an more uniform shape that ensures the meat cooks evenly.
Overnight Roast Pork
1 (5-lb.) boneless pork butt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle (or chili powder in a pinch)
Tie the pork with twine in several places so that it’s nice and compact. Place it on a plate or small baking sheet and season liberally with salt. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
Combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic and ground chipotle in a small bowl. Add a couple pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Smear the sugar, mustard and garlic mixture all over the pork, concentrating a good amount on the top of the roast, where the fat is. Nestle the pork (fat side up) into a roasting pan or cast iron baking dish just big enough to hold it. Put it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until you startto smell garlic and sugar. Remove the pork from the oven and cover the pan tightly with foil. Return the pork to the oven and turn the heat down to 200 degrees.
Leave the pork in the oven overnight to cook for at least 6 hours and up to 10 hours. When you wake up, your house will smell amazing and the pork will be tender. Cover the roast with foil, let cool and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When you’re ready to eat it, slice or shred what you think you’ll need, put it in a covered baking dish, and reheat in a 200 degree oven. Serves 10-12.
— From “Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead” by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (Ten Speed Press, $35)