This sweet and sticky Glazed Pork Belly is cooked in two stages. First, the meat is boiled with seasonings and then fried before being cooked in a brown sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine reduction. Served with steamed rice, this is a meal that would please the toughest critic!
I’m back with another pork belly recipe, Dear Reader! This time around, it’s this Glazed Pork Belly. Doesn’t it look divine? It’s so easy to make, but it looks like it has been slow-braised all day. Nevertheless, it takes only an hour from start to finish, but you don’t need to tell anyone that! Let them think you worked on it all day and then sop up all of that praise.
This recipe, unlike my other pork belly recipes, starts by boiling the cubed meat into a pot of water that has been seasoned with fresh ginger, green onion, and garlic. Not only does that infuse the meat with flavour, but the boiling tenderizes the pork and rids it of some of the fattiness. As you know, pork belly has a lot of fat! I know the fat is most of the appeal to a piece of pork belly, but sometimes, one just needs to cut out some of the greasiness without compromising the meat. Boiling will do just that!
MORE PORK BELLY RECIPES
One of the most popular dishes at Lord Byron’s Kitchen is my Easy Baked Pork Belly. As much as I love that recipe and would never grow tired of it, I wanted to show you that grilling pork belly can be just as easy and just as delicious. Grilled Pork Belly Skewers relies on the marinade and high heat to get the most out of this wonderful piece of meat.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with pork belly, it does have a lot of fat content. Steak has what we call marbling, which is in its most basic form, fine lines of fat running through the meat that melt during cooking and keep the steak tender and moist. Well, if steak has marbling, then pork belly, in comparison, has layers of fat. But, it’s delicious!
That’s what makes pork belly so perfect for a smoker. In contrast to most cooking appliances, a smoker applies a slow and low cooking method. This slow and steady heat helps to render out some of the fat and break down the fibers. When the fat in pork belly renders out, it acts as its own baste. Recall how you have to take your turkey out of the oven every hour or so at Thanksgiving to baste it? There’s no need to do that with pork belly. It takes care of itself.
It just made sense to me to smoke it. And, I had to add the barbecue sauce, because I love the contrast of the two together. The deep smokiness is paired so well with the sweetness and spiciness of my favourite store-bought barbecue sauce. It was a win! Another successful pork belly recipe joined the others here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen!
WHAT IS PORK BELLY?
Pork belly is an inexpensive, fatty cut of meat from the underside of the pig near the loin. Spareribs also come from this area. When kept whole, the cut looks like a brick of meat with a thick layer of flat running along the top and smaller layers of fat marbled throughout. A whole side of pork belly can weigh close to 12 pounds.
Pork belly can be cooked so many ways, but the most common and most recognizable functionality of pork belly is bacon. The side of pork belly is stripped of its fatty outer layer and then smoked, cured, and sliced thinly. With a good recipe, a smoker, and some patience, you can make your own bacon at home. It seems to be everyone’s go-to breakfast meat.
Pork bellies are more traditionally seen in the cuisines of northern Europe and Asia. It’s traditionally used in cuisines where it plays both a starring role, like in a pork belly bao, and a salty add-on to other dishes, like pancetta.
WHAT PORK BELLY SHOULD I USE?
I’ve seen pork belly in two different formats. The first, is a solid piece that resembles a package of thick cut bacon. It is usually about an inch or an inch and a half thick. It may or may not have the skin still attached and running along the top side of the pork.
The second format looks like extra thick cut bacon that has been laid flat. It’s usually found layered on a Styrofoam meat tray. Most packages have four or five slices that are layered in a slightly overlapping fashion. For this Glazed Pork Belly, you will want a solid piece of pork belly – about 2.5 pounds in total. The skin was left on the pork belly, but I removed it. I find that the skin in this type of recipe is just too chewy and almost inedible.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
FOR THE BOILING PART OF THE RECIPE
- Pork Belly – Buy your own and trim it or have your butcher do it for you. You will need 2.5 pounds. Remove and discard the skin. Trim away the top layer of fat, but be sure leave about 1/4 of an inch behind. Next, cube the meat into large 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is best. Give it a good wash. No need to peel it. Cut off a piece about the size of a quarter and slice it into 4 or 5 slices.
- Green Onion – Take one bunch and wash it well. Chop them in half lengthwise and set aside.
- Garlic – You will need two cloves that have been peeled and cut in half.
FOR THE FRYING PART OF THE RECIPE
- Oil – Just a bit of oil for frying. Olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, etc. Any oil will do just fine.
- Brown Sugar – This is the main part of the sauce. It will add sweetness and will help to caramelize the pork.
- Light Soy Sauce – To add flavour while keeping the sodium level lower.
- Dark Soy Sauce – This adds flavour and colour.
- Rice Wine – It’s a Chinese cooking wine. Any cooking wine will do. Mirin is a good substitute.
- Ground Black Pepper – You will need quite a bit of this – remember, you’re seasoning a lot of pork!
- Green Onions – For garnish.
- Sesame Seeds – For garnish.
HOW TO MAKE GLAZED PORK BELLY
Start by adding the prepared pork belly, sliced ginger and garlic, and green onion pieces to a deep pot with a heavy bottom. A Dutch oven works great for this recipe. Add enough water to just cover the pork. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, allow the pork to cook for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain well and discard everything except the pork. Wipe the pot clean to prepare it for the next step.
Over medium-high heat, add the oil and the drained pork pieces. Cook, turning the pork occasionally, until the pork is browned on all sides. This will take about 7-10 minutes. Next, reduce the heat to low and add the brown sugar. The sugar will melt and caramelize. Be sure to help it along by stirring the pork around so that every piece is coated with the brown sugar.
Now, add both soy sauces and the rice wine. Stir well and continue stirring for the next five minutes. The liquid will combine with the brown sugar and turn to a glaze. Finally, add one cup of water and stir well. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. If the glaze becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of water, but do not cut the 10 minutes simmering time short. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
Glazed Pork Belly
- 2.5 pounds pork belly, skin removed, fat cap trimmed
- 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into 4 slices
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 1 bunch green onions, washed and halved
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons rice wine
- 1 cup water
- green onions, sliced, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- Add the pork belly, ginger, garlic, and green onion pieces to a deep pot with a heavy bottom. A Dutch oven works great for this recipe. Add enough water to just cover the pork.
- Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, allow the pork to cook for exactly 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, strain well and discard everything except the pork. Wipe the pot clean to prepare it for the next step.
- Over medium-high heat, add the oil and the drained pork pieces. Cook, turning the pork occasionally, until the pork is browned on all sides. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
- Next, reduce the heat to low and add the brown sugar. The sugar will melt and caramelize. Be sure to help it along by stirring the pork around so that every piece is coated with the brown sugar.
- Now, add both soy sauces and the rice wine. Stir well and continue stirring for the next five minutes. The liquid will combine with the brown sugar and turn to a glaze.
- Finally, add one cup of water and stir well. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- If the glaze becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of water, but do not cut the 10 minutes simmering time short. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.