bourbon-vanilla bean pork roast w/ spicy pecan gravy

bourbon-vanilla bean pork roast w/ spicy pecan gravy

MmmHmm, this dish has layers of flavors. This is a sunday kind of roast dinner dish. Seriously good. The kind of dish where hubby pops in the kitchen every two hours asking "is it ready yet?". Yep, one of those kinds of dinners, where you can smell it all through the house and even outside. Remember those as a kid? Playing outside all day in the crisp fall air, coming inside for the first time and smelling your mom's roast and veggies that had been cooking for hours. Remember that smell? Remember that warmth of the kitchen? Good stuff.
This dish is worth all the prep, the marinating, etc.. Speaking of marinating I did leave this roast soaking in the marinade for 6 days. It was kind of like the Seinfeld episode (the one where they wanted to see how long they could drive the car that was almost on E? And the drive literally kept going and going and going?) Really anything soaked in booze is better right? I think I could have gone 8 days.... What would Kramer have done?

bourbon pork roast w pecan gravy 3

bourbon-vanilla bean pork roast w/ spicy pecan gravy

bourbon-vanilla soaked pork roast w/ spicy pecan gravy
loosely based from Emeril Lagasse
print recipe

Cook notes: I soaked my pork roast for 6 days and it was fine. The longer a meat soaks in booze the better. Make sure you pat the roast dry before roasting it. Always roast your meats on a rack, this helps with even cooking. The gravy is very thick; I like mine very thick. If you do not, then just add in more chicken stock. The gravy is not that spicy, but a gentle heat; add in more or less as you desire. And it really does help to use a high quality bourbon—makes all the difference in taste (less alcohol taste).

1 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1 ts Madagascar vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup plus 1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
A couple dashes of cinnamon
¼ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup of good bourbon
1 pork loin, tied (about 4-6 pounds)

In a small saucepan, combine: vanilla beans, vanilla extract, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, orange juice, and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat until sugar is melted and the mixture is at a gentle boil, about 15- 20 mins. Take off the heat and add in the bourbon. Let cool.
Place pork in a glass or ceramic pan. Once marinade is cool pour on pork roast. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours. PLEASE turn the roast over every 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Transfer marinade to a saucepan and reduce volume by at least 1/3. (throw away the bay leaves). We are going to use some of the reduced marinade in the gravy. Recipe from dawn finicane of http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com Place pork on a rack on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer reads 155 degrees F. Always let the meat rest before slicing into it; at least 5 – 10 minutes.

spicy pecan gravy:

1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter
¼ cup chopped red onion
1/2 TB chopped garlic
1/8 ts cayenne pepper (I used ½ ts)
2 TB flour, sifted
1 cup pork reduction liquid
1 cup chicken stock

Make sure to toast your pecans! Then in a saucepan cook red onions in butter for about 5 – 8 minutes. Then add in the pecans, cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add flour (add in the flour via a sifter so you get no lumps), cook for 2 minutes, then add marinating liquid and chicken stock.
Continue to cook until sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

brown sugar-cream cheese mashed sweet potatoes:

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3 TB butter, room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 TB dark brown sugar
A dash or three of pure maple syrup

Roast cut sweet potatoes in 400 degree oven till done; about 20 – 30 minutes.
Mash potatoes or use a food mill or ricer. Using a large plastic spatula, fold in butter, cream cheese, dark brown sugar, and maple syrup. Taste test, and add in salt & pepper if needed.
Serve immediately.


  1. Wow, that looks incredibly delicious!

  2. holy sh*t this looks amazing - I am at a loss for words...

  3. What an interesting dish! I would never think to put the vanilla bean in there. Looks great though!

  4. Pretty sure you make the best recipes ever. You rock my world.

  5. Dawn - I love the photo of your food! The highlights show the glaze perfectly. Of course you would put a vanilla in there. I wonder if it would be better with the pod somehow though?

  6. Mmm, pecan gravy and mashed sweet potatoes! I am loving this meal!


  7. That looks AMAZING!!! I would love to try it! :)

  8. My Dad would seriously go crazy over this; like your husband did hehe. Well done on creating such a creative dish.

  9. Never seen pork look this good! Hubby loves pork...would love this....do you ship? :^)

  10. Good lord this looks incredible. I would be right there along with hubby asking when it will be ready. You outdid yourself here, which you do all the time, but I am wondering where my plate is??

  11. Hi

    What brand of bourbon did you sue.

  12. Next time you make this, call me up and invite me to dinner. I want to make things like this!! Someday when I get a working oven...

  13. Now I am incredible jealous that this hasn't been cooking in my oven all day... that looks amazing! and that gravy sounds incredible.

  14. Can I get drunk eating this? I hope so!

  15. girlfriend, you know i don't do pork, but this right here is sexxxy!

  16. boozy pork AND a seinfeld reference? this post wins. :)

  17. Oh I remember that episode. It reminds me of when my roommate and I drove one of her friends to the middle of massachusetts in a zipcar and there was almost no gas left. And it was so late and we were in the middle of nowhere and there was no open gas station in sight. Traumatic.

    I love your use of traditionally sweet flavors in this savory dish! you are the master of mixing and matching.

  18. Oh my gosh a 6 day marinade! That had to be fantastic

  19. Beautifully done, this looks absolutely cooked to perfection! There is such an awesome mix of flavours here.
    *kisses* HH

  20. It looks gorgeous!! It's dreary and cold here and I would kill to have that for dinner tonight.

  21. My husband would do anything if i would just make that for him :)

  22. Speechless. All I can say is WOW!

  23. Yum yum! My hubby wouldn't eat the pecans though. I love anything vanilla.

  24. What a different dish and that looks really good. I have never eaten a pork roast with a spicy pecan gravy. I usually just eat it with the cooking juices.

  25. Ya know Dawn, I think when executive chefs at very fancy schmancy restaurants run out of ideas, I think they come here and steal yours! You are so creative and cook such amazing dishes. Thanks for your encouragement about my market gig! Should be fun and super crazy too!

  26. wow. so. much. flavor. this might make winter bearable :)

  27. That 'ish looks intense. Ship me to the south....

  28. OMG, that looks crazy good! Love the idea of the bourbon-vanilla bean flavors, too.

  29. I like the sound of using vanilla in a savoury dish like this!

  30. I made this the other night and it was the bomb! I used a pork tenderloin and yams not sweet potatoes. The flavors really went well together.
    I love your recipes, I have tried several but this is the first time I have commented.

  31. the photos of the pork roast are amazing.

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