Pork Belly So Good It'll Make You Sing

Spoon Fork Bacon's crispy take on our #TopChefHome challenge will have you licking your lips all summer long. 

As we mentioned earlier this summer, Top Chef Home Edition is back! It's where we put your cooking skills to the test and see if you have what it takes to be a Top Chef. Throughout the summer in addition to challenging you, we're teaming up with your favorite food writers around the web and putting them to the test, too.

Our theme for July is BBQ and we've asked Spoon Fork Bacon to take our Top Chef Home Edition BBQ Like a Boss challenge. Check out SFB's delicious take on this dish and then step up to the plate and show us your own take on this meal.

With summer in full swing, barbecue is always on our mind. And when we think about barbecue three things usually stand out: rub, smoke, and sauce. That pretty much brings us to today’s recipe, which we created for Bravo’s Top Chef Home Edition. The challenge we’re participating in is the “BBQ Like A Boss,” which consists of creating a great dish incorporating the three components I mentioned above (rub, smoke and sauce). When thinking about this challenge we noticed that brisket, tri-tip, and ribs really seem to take center stage when it comes to barbecue so today we have a very easy recipe for crispy grilled pork belly that is rubbed in a simple blend of spices and finished with a tangy vinegar-bbq sauce.

When dealing with pork belly you want to make sure to leave the skin-side scored and then untouched. The rub is really meant to flavor the meaty-side so the skin/fat side can render out nicely and become crisp and delicious. Our dry rub is quite simple and no-fuss with the exception of ground ginger. We added ground ginger to this dry rub because it doesn’t impart an intense flavor like its fresh counterpart, but the combination of pork and ginger overall go really nicely together.

The key with a fatty dish like pork belly is to start on super high heat to allow the skin to brown and crisp, and then to lower the heat significantly and allow the meat to cook low and slow. This way you’ll get soft, juicy, kissed by smoke meaty goodness with a crispy crackling surface, which is exactly what you want! The onions and beer also provide a nice bed for the pork belly to sit on to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn and that the meat slightly steams and stays moist.

Finally, we’ve finished our pork belly dish today with a vinegar based barbecue sauce. Why vinegar based? We think it pairs nicely with the pork belly and the tang from the vinegar helps to cut through some of the richness from the meat. So there you have it folks, our dish for the “BBQ Like A Boss” Top Chef Home Edition Challenge. All you need to do, is pick a challenge off the site, make it and post it! That’s it! So easy, and so fun! There are so many challenges to choose from too, so good take a look and see what peaks your interest! If you’re looking for something a little different but still 100% delicious to grill up this summer, you should try this pork belly with vinegar-bbq sauce. It’s easy to make and a total crowd pleaser!

Crispy Grilled Pork Belly with a Sweet and Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Makes 1 (2lb) pork belly

Ingredients:

Vinegar bbq sauce:

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 teaspoon racked black pepper, optional

Meat: 

1 (2 1/2 lb.) slab pork belly with the skin on

4 yellow onions, roughly quartered and chopped

2 (12 fl. oz.) bottles beer of choice, divided (can use broth as non-alcoholic option)

Dry rub:

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill to 450˚F.
  2. For vinegar barbecue sauce: Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth and completely blended. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Place pork belly on a clean cutting board, skin-side up and score the skin. Pat dry with a paper towel and flip over so the meat-side is up.
  4. Place all dry rub ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour rub over meat-side of belly only and rub over entire surface.
  5. Place onions and one bottle of beer into a roasting dish, in an even layer, and top with pork (meat/rub side down).
  6. Place roasting dish into the hot grill and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes.
  7. Lower heat to 250˚F and continue to cook for about 1 hour. Remove lid and add remaining beer. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.
  8. At this point the fat should have rendered and the skin should be extra crispy.
  9. Carefully remove the pork belly from the baking dish and transfer onto a cutting board. Allow the slab to rest for about 10 minutes.
  10. Chop into pieces and serve atop sliced white bread with a generous drizzle of the vinegar barbecue sauce. 

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