Braised Pork Belly
I love bacon and that means I really love pork belly because pork belly is what they use to make bacon! I once stopped in a little bar/restaurant that had pork belly sliders as a special that day. I love pork belly, so I tried them. Here’s what they did. They cut three chunks out of a raw pork belly and dropped them into the fryer! Not good! Tough as heck! It was cooked through, but you need a little more TLC than that! I always braise my pork belly first. This gets it nice and tender. OK, here we go…
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled
- 3 stalks of celery, rinsed, ends removed
- 3 large carrots, peeled, ends removed
- 1 fennel bulb, peel the outer layer if dirty, otherwise rinse well. Save some of the green fronds
- 1 raw pork belly (I buy mine at Costco)
- 2 tbl fennel seed
- 2 tbl mixed peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups chicken bone broth
- 1 cup of your favorite booze like Jack Daniels or Maker’s Mark
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup made with Monk Fruit sweetener, or you can use real Maple Syrup because its not that much overall
1. Chop up the first 4 ingredients and put them in the bottom of a roasting pan with the saved green fronds from the fennel bulb
2. Score the top of the pork belly in a diamond pattern making sure you only cut into the fat portion
3. Coarsely grind the spices up in a grinder and sprinkle them over the top of the pork. Rub into the pork making sure you get some into the crevasses you cut into the pork belly fat. If you don’t have a spice grinder (I use an old coffee grinder) you can put the spices in a plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin.
4. Place the pork belly on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.
5. Add the chicken stock, booze and maple syrup to a mixing bowl or measuring cup and stir to combine. Gently pour it over the pork.
6. Sprinkle some salt on top and place the pan in a preheated 300 degree oven. I used my smoker for some added flavor from the smoke, but this will be just fine in a regular oven.
7. Cook for 4 hours, making sure all the liquid does not evaporate! Add some water if it looks like its getting too low. Check halfway.
8. The above pic is about halfway through
9. The above pic is at the end of 4 hours
10. Carefully remove the pork from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let rest. I use two large metal spatulas to get the pork belly out. Be careful, otherwise it may fall apart!
11. Meanwhile, I put the veggies in my food processor. I put what was left of the juices in a fat separator cup and while the processor was running, I added the broth and threw out the fat. You can add a bit more of the booze and maple syrup to punch up the flavor, if you want. Also, a pinch of salt.
12. A nice smooth sauce is the result.
13. Put a large dollop on your plate and smear it across. Then put your serving of pork on top. Eat with your favorite vegetable. To reheat the pork belly, I like using my air fryer because it gets it nice and crispy, but you have to be careful not to burn the top. If the top of your pork belly is already dark, just lay the topside down in the air fryer. You can also use the pork belly like bacon, fry it in a pan, and make a great BLT. You can also cut it into small pieces and air fry it or pan fry it for a great salad topping. Great Wedge Salad!