Spread pecans in a single layer in a baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven until golden under skins, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, combine sugar, lime juice, ground chile, cayenne, and salt. Stir until sugar is melted, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir occasionally until mixture is very bubbly and slightly darker, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Add pecans and stir until well coated with sugar mixture. Spread in baking pan and let stand until cool to touch, 15 minutes.
It has taken making these several times over the years to 'get it right'. The hardest was heating the sugar and getting the pecans coated, if not careful the sugar will burn and yuk. We like the spiciness contrasting with the sweet, as they sit they get hotter. We make them at Christmas as well.
This recipe feels like it's missing something. I've made several of the other dishes from the Southwest Thanksgiving collection (tamales, green beans, stuffing, potatoes, and gravy) and all are great, but this was lackluster. The taste wasn't particularly good or bad, just... strange. And take special care to separate the pecans when the sugar glaze is drying, or they'll clump together.
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