Bacon-Wrapped Pork Shoulder Meatballs With Spicy Barbecue Sauce


3 whole shallots, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
3 cups shredded pork shoulder*
2 eggs
½ cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ lbs. thinly sliced bacon
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup beer
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 cups chicken or pork broth
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce


• Combine the shallots, celery and half of the garlic over medium heat in a small sauté pan. Cook until translucent and transfer to a separate bowl.

• Add the pork, eggs and bread crumbs and combine. Add the salt and pepper lightly throughout the mixing process. This mixture should resemble the consistency of a meatloaf. It should be slightly dry – not wet, but with a nice sheen.

• Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop, form the mixture into balls. Wrap each individually in a slice of bacon. In a hot sauté pan, sear each side until the bacon is crisp. Set aside on a paper towel to catch any remaining grease.

• For the spicy barbecue sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

• Add the remaining garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper. Stir for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, beer, vinegar, broth and Worcestershire sauce.

• Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors blend and the sauce is reduced by half.

• To finish, add the seared bacon-wrapped meatballs to the spicy barbecue sauce. Braise for about an hour and serve.

*If you’d like to venture outside the box and use a pig’s head, follow these boiling instructions to prepare the meat:

1 whole pig head, split

3 cups onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

• Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 to 5 hours, skimming any foam that rises to the top. Remove the head, strain and reserve the liquid to substitute for the chicken broth in the barbecue sauce.

• Remove all the meat from the head, especially the cheeks and jowls. Set the meat aside and continue the recipe using this meat in place of the pork shoulder.