Pork Belly is one of my top ten favorite foods. I would call it a guilty pleasure but there’s absolutely no guilt involved. It’s pure pleasure.
If you’ve never experienced pork belly, it’s really not scary – especially compared to other delicacies like snails or brains. It’s just a fatty chunk of a pig’s belly. If you eat bacon, it’s not too different except that bacon is cured.
Up to now I’ve only had pork belly in restaurants, so I’m excited to make my own. I didn’t realize my local butcher shop sold it until I was purchasing pig skin for my slow-roasted pork experiment, and he was wrapping pork belly around a pork loin to sell. (Yum!)
Pork belly can be grilled over coals, slow roasted in the oven, and even braised. It’s a matter of cooking the meat of the belly, sometimes by poaching first, but then crisping the fatty side by roasting or pan frying.
I’m not terribly adept at the grill, plus I dislike being hot while cooking, so I decided to cook the pork belly inside. With the weather
disgustingly hot warm, and the appeal of ice cold beer, I though a barbequed version sounded perfect.
Barbecued Pork Belly
2 pound slab of skinless pork belly
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground Ancho chile pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground Chipotle chile pepper
Bring the pork belly to room temperature, and make sure it’s dry.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Mix together the seasonings, then season both sides of the pork belly. Rub in well.
Wrap the belly tightly with heavy-duty foil. Place into a roasting pan, with the fat side up. Cook in the oven for 5 hours. Let cool, then refrigerate overnight.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator.
Unwrap the foil, discard, then re-wrap the pork belly with foil, covering the bottom and sides, leaving only the fat side exposed.
Brush with barbecue sauce; my favorite is Head Country brand – both original and hickory. Trust me, I prefer to make my own barbeque sauces, but this brand is of exceptional quality.
Roast the pork belly in the oven until it’s nice and browned, brushing more sauce if desired. This will take about 10 minutes.
You can see and hear the sizzling! Remove from the oven and either let cool and slice, or let cool and refrigerate.
I served the pork belly with a simple potato salad in a vinaigrette.
Summer on a plate? I don’t know, but it was an exceptional meal.
Just a note – my fatty side was not crispy cracklin’ like pork belly can be, because I brushed it with sauce. But that was okay. When I made the slow-roasted pork shoulder with pig skin, I discovered I wasn’t really fond of cracklings.
If you want the serious cracklin’, omit the barbecue sauce, roast the fatty side, and just serve the sauce on the side.