Tuesday 7 July 2015

BBQ Pork Belly Rib Slices with Cauliflower Rice

Pork belly. What more can be said about pork belly? It has been my favourite cut of meat for many more years than I care to remember. I've cooked more of the stuff in different ways than any other meat and yet I'm still not able to say which my favourite way of cooking it is. Do I prefer the traditionally slow cooked piece of belly with crunchy salty skin and moist meat, or do I prefer slow braised, dried, sliced and deep fried with a sweet and sour sauce?

 I don't think I have found the ultimate method yet, and will continue to experiment, however I must say that the belly in this dish is right up there on my "best ways to cook belly" list.

 I started by brining belly slices from the butcher in a brine with just water, salt and brown sugar for 4 hours. After this, you could see the meat had changed colour, with a darker shade than pre brine.

I then smoked them over indirect heat for 4 hours at about 110c using apple wood chunks soaked in water.

At this point I cranked up the heat to around 170c and started to mop the slices with BBQ sauce every 10 minutes. (Sauce recipe here) After a few mops, a lovely thick sticky glaze was starting to appear, with lots of caramelisation, and joy of joys, the skin was starting to pop and crackle. I left them for a final 20 minutes to crisp up even more then pulled them from the fire.

They were absolutely delicious. The perfect combination of crunch from the skin, the really sticky, highly flavoured glaze, then soft and moist meat within. Served with cauliflower rice (which feels like it must be bad for you, but isn't at all) and a simple chopped salad. Give the cauliflower a go, you'll probably be as surprised by it as I was.

Put the florets from a whole cauliflower in a food processor and blitz until rice/cous cous sized. Stir fry it in a little oil, until it starts to soften, this doesn't take too long at all. When it's really hot, stir in a whisked up egg until it's distributed all the way through keeping it on a high heat to set the egg. Then stir in whatever you fancy, I like diced carrot, peas and sweetcorn, all precooked. Then to finish stir through some sesame oil and some light soy sauce to taste. Shouldn't need any more seasoning, but that's entirely up to you. It's a really healthy alternative to fried rice

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