During cold winter weather, we immediately think of smoked pork belly. It goes fantastic with thick Dutch pea soup, sauerkraut, mashed potato, and carrot-onion stew.
Slice the fat from the pork belly straight to the meat in lines 2 cm (1 inch) apart. This gives the fat a better chance to soften. The brine and later the dry rub can also reach the meat better.
In this case, we will be dry brining. The taste of the pork belly remains more present, and the outer surface will dry out a little more.
You pack the meat in cling film or a large ziplock bag and leave it in the fridge overnight. The salt in the brine will soak into the meat for some extra flavor and help cells retain more moisture. The rest of the brine ingredients do not penetrate more than a few millimeters into the meat.
After brining overnight, rinse all brine from the meat. Otherwise, the meat would become too salty.
Be sure to pat the meat dry with some paper towel. Grease the pork belly with some olive oil so that the rub sticks better.
Our dry rub contains little salt because it was already abundant in the brine. For the rest, we opted for a slightly larger sugar ratio. The combination of salty pork belly and sugar works very well.
The pork belly goes on the barbecue with an indirect temperature of about 120°C (250F). Slightly more or less is allowed, but be careful that the temperature does not exceed 150°C (300F). The sugars in the dry rub would burn and become bitter.
We throw a block of applewood on the coals. This way, the meat gets a mild smoke flavor but a beautiful brown color. Insert a core thermometer into the meat and then let it lie until it has a core temperature of about 75°C (170F). This can take about 2 hours.
When the core temperature has been reached, we pack the meat in a piece of aluminum foil. This will speed up the cooking and make the meat softer. Insert the core thermometer through the foil into the meat and leave it to a core temperature of 90-92°C (195-200F).
Let the meat rest for 15 minutes and then cut into equal slices. Try not to overeat because it has to end up on the table.
- 1.5 kilo of pork belly (3.3lbs)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 150 gram of rock salt
- 75 gram of brown sugar
For the dry rub
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of pimenton (smoked paprika)
- 2 teaspoons of garlic granulate
- 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon of coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes
- Slice the fat in lines 2 cm apart down to the meat
- Mix the salt and brown sugar and sprinkle it over the pork and leave in the fridge overnight
- Prepare a 2-zone barbecue at approximately 120-130°C (250-265F).
- Rinse the brine from the pork belly and pat it dry with some paper towel.
- Mix the ingredients for the dry rub and sprinkle the meat on all sides.
- Place the pork belly on the barbecue and insert a food probe into the meat. Cook the pork belly to 75°C (170F).
- When the core temperature has been reached, wrap the pork belly with foil and cook the meat to a core temperature of 92°C (200F).
- Let the meat rest for 15 to 20 minutes, then slice it into slices about a half-inch thick