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JayBirde 04-22-2011 09:01 PM

Pork Belly
Got a competition coming up next weekend and these are the categories:
St. Louis Spareribs - Pork 10 teams go on to cook a Rib Steak.

I have cooked 3 pork bellies over the last 3 weekends and I am just not happy with where I am at.

I am looking for any ideas for the pork belly category...Help Me Brethren!!:-P

Ryan Abood 04-22-2011 10:31 PM

If ur not curing pork belly, braising is the way to go. Give it a little smoke, then braise it in a dutch oven on your bbq (beer and pork stock w/ mir poix), finish over grill, should be great. Google braising pork belly recipe for details.

JayBirde 04-24-2011 12:59 PM

Thanks Ryan. Will try that today.

landarc 04-24-2011 01:41 PM

what are you not happy about? what are you hoping to end up with?

JayBirde 04-24-2011 02:12 PM


Originally Posted by landarc (Post 1620612)
what are you not happy about? what are you hoping to end up with?

Trying to get the fat to on the top of the belly to render a bit better. Would like that fat to get a little "crunchy" to give some texture to the pork belly. I am using fresh (unbrined) belly. Tried a brined belly last week and it was OK, but like the taste of more of the pork roast that the fresh belly gives me a little better.

Was thinking about putting a little smoke on the belly, then maybe braising it in apple juice, acv, fresh apple slices, garlic in a foil pan on the grill for a while, then finishing it off fat side down on the grill.

This competition is pretty much "anything goes", so you can turn in slices of pork belly or use it in a recipe that you turn in.

landarc 04-24-2011 02:23 PM

The Chinese treat the surface of pork belly with baking soda to dry the surface and create a skin on the meat. You need to wash the baking soda off thoroughly, salt the surface and then roast on high heat.

I have braised pork belly in a garlic/ginger/soy braising fluid, then removed the belly, coated it with salt and maple sugar then smoke roasted the belly on the kettle. The use of a cast iron skillet at the end will crisp the edges up nicely. Just get it really hot, then place the belly onto it, I like to do 3" cubes to end up with nicely plated hunks of meat.

landarc 04-24-2011 02:26 PM

Oh, here is a recipe...

Braised Smoked Pork Belly

Vinegar Blend:

2 cups rice vinegar, unseasoned
3 Star Anise
2 cloves garlic lightly pressed, not smashed
1 red pepper (red Serrano or red Fresno)
8 black peppercorns cracked in mortar and pestle once
3 red peppercorns cracked in mortar and pestle once
6 whole cloves

In heavy pot with lid, heat vinegar to just short of boiling, throw in all spices, garlic and pepper. Cover and let steep for at least 1 hour. A little heat once in a while helps. Do not boil or reduce, it changes the acidity if you do. This mix should taste aromatically spicey and sour.

Braising Liquid:
1 medium chopped yellow onion
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
2 medium carrots, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, smashed
6 dried shiitake (soak in 1-1/2 cup very hot water until soft, reserve water)
4 to 6 green onions, chopped, greens and whites separated
2 cups very hot water
1.5 cups shoyu
1/4 cup sake
1/8 cup mirin (sweet cooking sake)

Saute all vegetables except green onion greens and mushrooms, which are not really vegetables anyways, until wilted and they are releasing their aroma. Add in all liquids, including one cup of the mushroom soaking water (do not dump carelessly as their is likely to be sand, in fact, filtering it is a good idea) and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Shiitake should be sliced and ready to go.

Pork Belly:
2 to 3 lbs skinless pork belly
kosher salt, cracked black pepper to coat

I like to apply the salt and pepper rub about 30 mins prior to smoking. I then put on smoker at 225F for 1 hour or so. I want some nice clean smoke, nothing too strong. Sure the meat is not really cooked, that will happen soon enough. It works really well if you use two smaller pieces of belly than one large on on the smoker.

Braising liquid
Pork belly, smoked, cut into 1" to 1.5" chunks
3 coins of fresh ginger, quarter size, smack with back of knife a couple of times
sliced shiitake
1 teaspoon of sugar

Throw this all into a pan with a cover, I like a braising pan, but, a Dutch oven works as well. Black cast iron would be the traditional braising pot. So would a hole in the floor filled with embers, which I oddly do not have. Anyways, put this into the oven at 300F for 1 hour covered. Then remove cover and put on medium flame on stove and reduce braising liquid by half. Then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar, and reduce to start caramelizing. Just prior to serving, add vinegar mix to taste over low heat. The overall dish should have a thick sweet and sour sauce with dark rich pork belly chunks. I find that 1 cup works usually. This is intense, greasy, savory, sweet, salty and pretty

JayBirde 04-24-2011 02:32 PM

Landarc...that sounds INCREDIBLE!! Nice work, brother! Will definitely try this today. I will just have to make a few preperation changes to be able to pull this off in the alotted time and using my pit on the day of the competition. No reason I couldn't make up the vinegar blend and braising liquid ahead of time though.

Thanks again, that sounds like a winner to me!

JamesTX 04-25-2011 09:24 AM

Well, I did some pork belly this weekend that turned out great. No pics, but it really did happen.

Basically, I got 15# of belly and had the butcher slice it in 3/4" slices. I put it on an offset smoker and seasoned half with salt and pepper and the other half with brown sugar, chilli powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Smoked at 250 for about 4 hours, then transferred to an electric griddle for 4-5 minutes per side to get it crisped up. It was fantastic.

I'll probably go a bit thicker -1" - next time, and use the brown sugar mix on the entire lot. It'd have to smoke a bit longer, with the extra thickness.

If you can't use an electric griddle at your comp, I'm sure a grill would work just fine.

JayBirde 04-25-2011 10:11 AM

Thanks, JamesTX! That sounds pretty decent too!

Landarc...Made that recipe you posted yesterday along with another braised version using fresh apples, apple cider and apple cider vinegar. Pretty much same technique with both. I have to say that there is a lot of preperation in the recipe above, but I figure if I make the sauces ahead of time, it just comes down to 3 hours of cooktime, so totally doable.

I had another thought last night....why not put a little smoke on it (say hour to hour and a half) then pull it off, cut into 1-1/2" cubes, more rub, BBQ Sauce and treat them like brisket burnt ends? I think that would render down the fat fairly well too. Maybe have to trim the fat cap a little just to get it down to a more manageable thickness. Thoughts?

landarc 04-25-2011 11:53 AM

Burnt end belly chunks are good. I recommend you try that. Also quite greasy and tasty. I never said it was an easy or quick recipe :-P But, I have made it several times and it was very popular.

Soybomb 04-25-2011 01:43 PM

This is the thread I have bookmarked for things to do with belly other than bacon

GreenDrake 04-25-2011 09:05 PM

Jay, we are using dehydrated water and jostler pins to get the reduction just right, give it a shot.

Boshizzle 04-25-2011 10:00 PM

Well, since we are on the subject, I have always wanted to try pork belly braised in lard for a couple of hours and then grilled. Yeah, I know, but I hear it's pretty good.

Frank Grimes 04-25-2011 10:05 PM

I did a pork belly a few weeks ago using Adam Perry Lang's recipe from "Serious BBQ", and it turned out amazing. I marinated it overnight, then poured the marinate in a baking dish with the pork belly and smoked it for about 6 hours, let it rest for 2, then finished it in the WSM without the water pan and the temp at 350 to crisp the skin. It turned out fantastic, the only issue was it got so wiggly it was hard to move around at the end. He gave a nice tip in his book to put it in a grill basket when crisping the skin to hold the shape. The fat rendered down great, it was so rich I couldn't eat more than a couple pieces.

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