• 1 cup of wood chips for smoking, soaked in water for up to 3 hours
  • Little bit of oil
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot shaved or sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, shaved or sliced thin
  • Lemon zest
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 can of slightly hoppy beer
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 bunches (1 1/2 pounds total) flat-leaf spinach, trimmed, cleaned, and dried
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pecorino, grated


  1. If you have a home smoker, cold smoke the pecans. If you don’t, then place the drained wood chips inside a dutch oven with a lid, that has had the bottom covered with aluminum foil, and turn on the stove burners underneath until the pot is gently smoking.
  2. Once at a comfortable smoke, add the pecans to the pot, and close the lid. You’re safe. Just keep the heat low and remember not to do this right under the smoke alarm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large wok (you can use a skillet) over medium heat, add the little bit of oil and cook the bacon. Stir occasionally, until browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat from skillet.
  5. Add onion to wok; cook, stirring occasionally. Then add shallots. Then add garlic, lemon zest, and chili flakes. Don’t add everything at once — give each a chance to cook a bit in between. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add cider vinegar, ale, and brown sugar to the pan and simmer until liquid thickens slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Now you can add spinach to the wok or pour onion mixture over spinach in a bowl. But you want the spinach to slightly wilt and get a bit warm. Either way, toss quickly to coat and wilt spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle with reserved pecans and bacon, and grated cheese over the top.