As you might know by now, I am a big fan of bacon, especially making my own. There is real satisfaction when calling in my order for a twelve pound pork belly from the butcher. There are, however more things I make besides bacon. Some of these include crispy pork belly, porchetta, and a variety of other bacon recipes. But the pork belly really stands out, especially when you braise the darn thing.
If you have never braised anything, it is basically taking a tougher cut of meat, searing it on high heat, and then cooking it low and slow for a number of hours. The goal is to have a really flavorful piece of meat that is nothing but soft, tender, and juicy. Pork belly excels when it comes to braising.
This particular will take a couple of days to make. Not in terms of cooking, but a couple of days for curing the pork belly. Taking the time to cure the pork belly really pays off. If you have tried the crispy pork belly, I know you are going to fall in love with the braised pork belly, especially when you make a sandwich out of it.
Let’s get started.
Serves 4, [Print this Recipe]
Ingredients for the cure:
- 3 lbs of pork belly, skin on, cut into large pieces
- 3 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cloves
Mix all of the ingredients together and rub it all over each side of your pork belly. Place in a large, sealable bag in the refrigerator for two days.
When you are ready to begin your braising process, you will need the following ingredients.
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 whole carrots, cleaned and cut into large chunks
- 2 celery ribs, cleaned and cut into large chunks
- 1 large yellow onions, cut into large chunks
- 24 oz your favorite IPA beer
- 1 whole bay leaf
- Cracked black pepper
- 4-6 cups of chicken stock, enough to cover the pork belly
- Sandwich roll
- Mexican Pickled Red Onions
When you are about to begin, take the pork belly out of the refrigerator. Rinse all of the pieces under cold water, then carefully dry each piece with some paper towel.
Season all of the pork with salt and pepper, on a all sides.
If you have a large Dutch oven, you will want to use it for this recipe. Otherwise, you will need a large heavy pot, big enough to hold all of the pork, having enough room as to not pack it in too tight.
Heat the Dutch oven on medium heat. Once it is heated through, add in the canola oil and let that come to temperature. Add the pieces of pork belly, skin side down, and beging to sear the pork belly, roughly a few minutes. Carefully turn them over, and cook another few minutes. Once your pork skin is golden brown, remove the pork pieces from the Dutch oven and place onto a place.
Add in the carrots, onions, and celery, and being mixing that around and cooking until they begin to sweat and soften up. Keep a careful eye on the vegetables during this process, and do not let the bottom of your Dutch oven burn. If it burns, it will make the recipe bitter tasting. Goal: DO NOT LET IT BURN. If you see any beginnings of the bottom of the oven burning, add a bit of water and give a good stir.
Next add in your two bottles of beer, and turn up the temperature to a medium, high heat. Toss in the bay leaf and give it a good stir.
Let this cook for about 3o minutes, letting the beer reduce and build an amazing flavor.
Add the pork belly, skin side up, back into the Dutch oven and arrange them so they are nice and comfortable. I only say this because we are going to put them asleep for a few hours in a nice warm oven, all snuggled up in the Dutch oven.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add chicken stock to the Dutch oven, pouring in enough to cover the pork. This will probably be anywhere between 4-6 cups of stock. Cover with the tight lid, and place in the preheated oven, cooking for about 3 1/2 hours.
When you are ready to serve, remove the Dutch oven from the oven, and turn off your stove. The smell, if you have not already noticed, is amazing.
Slice your sandwich roll. Carefully remove one of the pork bellies from the oven, and scrape off the fat. It should pretty much fall right off as everything is just super succulent and tender. Place the pork belly onto your bun, and top with some of the pickled red onions.
Now you want to talk about flavor! The beer, slowly injected into the pork belly from the braise, and then the pickled onions on top adds this sweet and vibrant punch. Let’s just say it blends very well together. Sandwich or not, this beer braised pork belly is something you will want, and need to make. Trust me on that.