With Cochon 555 fast approaching, it’s not surprising that chef Kelly Liken, of Vail’s Restaurant Kelly Liken, has pork on the brain. As a competitor in this weekend’s snout-to-tail culinary challenge, she’s likely busy referencing favorite recipes and testing new ones. Here, the culinary expert shares her all-time favorite pork recipe (heads up: it’s chef-y. Scroll down for a less intimidating dish).

Smoked Pork Cheeks

Smoke cheeks with apple wood chips in hot smoker for 40 minutes. After smoking, season cheeks with salt and pepper. Sear in hot sauté pan. Place cheeks into pan with aromatics, cover with veal stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover simmering pan with foil and place in a 300° oven; braise cheeks for two to three hours, until done.

Red Onion Cranberry Marmalade

6 cups red onion, medium dice

1 ¾ cups dried cranberries

3 cups Big B’s apple cider

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon pectin

Caramelize onions slowly until they deepen in color. Add cranberries; cook for 10 minutes; add liquids, sugar, and pectin; cook on low until liquid is gone (about 25 minutes). Cool and serve with smoked pork cheeks.

Not about to use a smoker? Try this recipe instead and sub in pork shoulder as the protein. Serve with the red onion cranberry marmalade (above).

Want someone else to do the cooking? Tonight Kelly Liken kicks off the Cochon 555 weekend by inviting other top toques—Jason Harrison of Four Seasons’ Flame, Jeff Osaka of Twelve Restaurant, Alex Seidel of Fruition Restaurant, Lon Symensma of ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro, and Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe—to cook in her kitchen. “I’ve been a guest chef in so many different places, so it’s exciting to have everyone into my kitchen for the first time.” In addition to hors d’oeuvres, the guest chefs will each create a dish in the five-course, cocktail-paired dinner. There are still a handful of seats left, make your reservations now.

12 Vail Road #100, Vail, 970-479-0175