You are walking down the aisles at your local Costco and you spy what looks like Thick cut bacon strips in the meat department. It is way too thick to be bacon and the sticker on the tag says, “Pork Belly Slices”. They typically around about 10 inches long and 1-2 inches thick. Is it bacon? How do you cook it? Well for starters, it is not bacon, it is what bacon is made from. Bacon is what you would get if you cured this meat for a few days and then smoked it, what we are teaching you to do here today is to cook it without having to wait for a few days. I hope you are hungry because Costco portions are huge, and this is a high calorie meal. If you find pork belly at another grocery store or local butcher, you can still make this recipe, you will just need to cut your belly into 1.5” thick strips before we start.
When I got called to the stage at the world food championships for ribs, I was very excited and happy, but I wasn’t surprised. I had spent all summer winning awards for my ribs including taking home first place at the Montana state rib championships. I know you’re wondering, what does this have to do with pork belly? Well, my recipe for ribs was a cherry pecan glazed rib, and it turns out that flavour combination works on all sorts of different pork cuts. So here I am going to teach you how to take pork belly and make it sing with the same flavours I used at the world rib championships.
Pork belly is what bacon is made out of, but it is not bacon. Bacon is cured meat and pork belly is the uncured version. This recipe is to make little pork dice that will melt in your mouth while also being jam packed with flavour. These little cubes are fatty and flavourful, so make sure to fast in advance or spend some extra time on the treadmill. Pork belly contains about 50% fat, so the goal here is to render down some of that fat to soften each bite but also to cook the meat and apply enough smoke to make them dance across your taste buds.