Just off the Bentonville square sits Oven & Tap, a restaurant that in only a few short months has generated a great deal of buzz around northwest Arkansas and the rest of the state. The comfortable dining room is a study in sleek design and warm wood tones, and the artisan cocktails, craft beer and fine wine that flow from the custom tap wall make the place a wonderful watering hole for anyone who enjoys to imbibe the best.

Oven & Tap's chef, Luke Wetzel, is about more than just great drinks, though. He's taken the "oven" part of the restaurant's name and created a stunning, eclectic menu of foods cooked over a smoky wood fire, including dishes one normally wouldn't expect like edamame and lasagna. Given the stunning way in which Wetzel works his wood-fired menu and Oven & Tap's commitment to fine drinks, it seemed natural to ask the chef for a way to bring both together: spirits-based glazes for meat. The play of natural sugars and flavors over an open flame results in compelling flavors, great textures–and clean plates for everyone who comes to supper.

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cracked black pepper

Rub the sugar, salt and pepper mixture liberally into the pork, and let the meat cure for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons bourbon (such as local favorite Rock Town Distillery)
1 cup fresh peach puree
1/2 cup honey
3-4 dried chilies, rehydrated in 1 cup red
  wine vinegar and 1 cup hot water, then
  pureed with the soaking liquid
pinch of salt
1 bunch fresh rosemary sprigs, bound
  together with butcher's twine

1. Ready your coals, gas grill or oven to an initial temperature of 450 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients except rosemary until well blended. 

3. Place pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower temperature to 250 degrees, and continue to roast for 1 1/2 hours. 

4. Remove pork from oven or grill, and use the rosemary sprigs as a mop to baste the pork with the glaze, applying several coats to start. Return the pork to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes.

5. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving and serving.


1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup cracked black pepper
1/4 cup cracked fennel seeds

Butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone, breastbone and wishbone. Rub the salt and spice mixture into the bird and let cure for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 8 hours.

1 cup roasted tomatillos, smashed in a mortar
  and pestle
3-4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, halved
1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
2 tablespoons of mezcal (or tequila)
1/2 cup honey
juice and zest of 2 limes
juice and zest of 1/2 orange


1. Heat oven or grill to 450 degrees.

2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, then toss them in enough olive oil to coat. Season with kosher salt. 

3. Place the dressed tomatillos in a roasting pan with the garlic, jalapeño and cumin, stirring until all everything is coated with the oil. Roast until the majority of the tomatillos have burst, approximately 45 minutes, stirring everything vigorously halfway through.

4. Let the tomatillos cool, then smash in a mortar and pestle. Mix with the honey, mezcal, citrus juice and zest.

5. Add enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, then put on high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the bird is evenly seared to a golden brown hue. 

6. Remove the chicken from the heat and turn it over so that the skin side is facing up. Baste with the tomatillo mixture, then put it in the oven to finish cooking. Continue basting every 10-15 minutes, and cook the bird until it has reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees, approximately an hour to an hour and a half based on the size of the bird. 

7. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, then baste one final time before serving.