Braised and Grilled Pork Shoulder

Makes at least 6 servings
Time: 11.2 to 2 hours, somewhat unattended

Making something easier than Suzanne's elaborate treatment of pork shoulder wasn't difficult, but maintaining the spirit of her dish and creating something really delicious put me to the test. I thought for weeks-really-about how I was going to come up with confit-like pork without confiting and still wasn't sure what I was going to do until I actually began cooking. I had vague notions, only, but more ideas-the right ones, fortunately-came to me as I was working.

I have to say I'm pretty proud of the results, and the simple parsley-garlic sauce guarantees extra flavor and juiciness.

1 (4-pound) boneless pork shoulder
Salt and black pepper to taste
Neutral oil, like corn or canola, as needed
10 allspice berries
2 or 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
10 nickel-sized slices fresh ginger (don't bother to peel) or 1 tablespoon ground ginger
5 dried red chiles or a good teaspoon of cayenne
2 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer, like Guinness or any porter
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, washed and left wet
2 cloves garlic, or to taste

1. Cut the pork into big chunks, at least 2 inches across, or slices about 1 inch thick. Season them with salt and pepper and put about 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep skillet or casserole; turn the heat to mediumhigh and, when the oil shimmers, sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned, turning as necessary. The process will take 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add the allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and chiles, and stir, then add the beer. Bring to a boil; cover the pan and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily. Cook until the pork is tender, 1 hour or more. (When the pork is done, you can refrigerate it in its liquid for 1 to 2 days before proceeding.)

3. When the pork is done and you're ready to cook, start a grill; the fire should be only moderately hot (you should be able to hold your hand a few inches over the grill for 4 or 5 seconds) and the rack set about 4 inches above the heat source. Drain the pork, dry it with paper towels, brush it lightly with oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until brown and crisp, just a few minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the parsley salsa: Combine the wet parsley leaves in the container of a blender with the garlic and some salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons oil and blend until combined but not pureed. You want some texture remaining. (Add water by the tablespoon as necessary to allow the machine to do its work.) Serve the meat straight from the grill, with the parsley salsa.