Pork belly is surprisingly hard to find. I read on a blog to call around to high-end grocers and butchers and after wasting and hour and half doing that to just order it online. I guess there isn’t that much call for it and everybody just slices it into bacon. I made two calls and found it at Columbus Meats in Vancouver – an awesome family run butcher. Below I will outline how I cooked this using my set up of high heat DCS gas BBQ and Primo kamado grill. (think big green egg) I have outlined at the bottom how to do it if you aren’t lucky enough to have the dual BBQ set up.
I bought a 4.5 pound piece and cut it in half. I cooked half and vacuum sealed the other to freeze and enjoy another day.
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus whatever time it takes to get your BBQ(s) to temp)
Cook Time: ~3 hours
Foodstuff you need for this:
- 3-4 pound boneless pork belly
- 2 Tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. multi-coloured peppercorns (black will do fine)
- 1 tsp. flaked sea salt
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 bottle white wine
- 5 Tbsp. flour
Equipment stuff you need for this:
- pestle and mortar or (preferably spice grinder)
- cast iron pan
- Potato smasher or reasonable facsimile
Toast fennel and whole peppercorns on the stove in a dry pan. Combine fennel, pepper and flake salt in a pestle and mortar to grind up or if you have been smart and invested in a spice grinder, use that.
Rub down the pork belly with ~¾ of the olive oil and then rub it down with the fennel rub mixture.
Depending on the length or the carrots and celery and the size of your cast iron pan, cut the carrots and celery in thirds and then in half lengthwise. Cut the onion into ¼ chunks. Remove the skin of the garlic cloves and, using a wide knife, smash the cloves. Throw it all into the cast iron pan. Add a ¼ cup of water.
The BBQ should be as hot as you can get it now. Put the cast iron pan in for ~15 minutes or until the top (skin) is golden brown and bubbling. Transfer to the smoker/bbq which will be at 350 for 1.5 hours. Add ¾ of the bottle of wine to the pan and cook another hour.
Put the pan directly on the stovetop on medium heat and add flour. (I usually put about ¼ cup hot water in a measuring cup to stir the flour into before pouring into any gravy so it isn’t lumpy) Cook while stirring for about a minute and then add some wine. Use a potato masher to smash all those vegetables up. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes while stirring occasionally. If it’s too thick add water a little at a time. I tried adding more wine but the sauce ended up tasting too much of wine… shocker. Strain through a sieve and serve in small dipping bowls or if you’re confident in how tasty everybody will think it is then you can drizzle over the pork belly after completing the next step.
If your pork belly ended up getting to the temperature to pull (~190) then pull it all apart and chop up the crispy skin. If not, slice it or chop it. I like to slice it. The crispy skin is like spectacular pork rinds…
If you don’t have both a gas bbq and a charcoal bbq/smoker you can use your oven for the high heat portion. Whatever you are using you will need to pre-heat it to the highest it will go. Kamado grills like Primos or Big Green Eggs can get blazing hot so that would work too but I just have never been confident in the ability to ramp the temperature down. Those things hold heat like nobody’s business…