BBQ50/17: Cherry Smoked Pork Belly:
I went out for lunch with my wife last week to a local restaurant. The menu looked good, the restaurant is highly regarded and it wasn’t cheap but the pork belly I had was overcooked, tough and dry. Thinking about it afterwards I remembered the pork belly I had cooked previously and how nice it was so I decided to cook it again for myself and banish this bad meal from my memory! Looking through my “to cook” list I saw Cherry Smoked Pork Belly in the Grillstock book so lined it up.
I ordered a pork belly flat from Farmison and got 2kg of Yorkshire Pig for £19.99. Looking on the site they have Gloucester Old Spot which I would always order given the choice.
The night before the cook I made the sweet rub from the book: sea salt, soft brown sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ground allspice, ginger and ground cloves. I sealed this up until the morning.
In the morning I cut the skin off the pork belly leaving about 1cm of fat behind. I filled my rub shaker with the sweet rub and covered every part of the pork belly and left it to sit out to get up to room temperature whilst I set up the smoker:
I put 2 bags of heat beads in the bottom of the smoker and lit half a chimney of lumpwood charcoal which I then poured onto the heat beads. After about half an hour I put the smoker together, filled the water tray (foiled) and put 3 chunks of Smokewood Shack Cherry wood on the lit charcoal. BBQ Guru have sent me a replacement Pit Viper so I set the Guru up to run at 225f. At that point I put the pork belly on the top shelf, fat side up.
I kept adding a few chunks of cherry every hour for the first 3 hours.
After 6 hours the internal temperature hit 80c so it was ready to come off. The colour of the meat from the rub and the cherry smoke was fantastic:
I foiled the pork up to rest for half an hour before taking it to to slice:
I enjoyed this meal, it was a hundred times better than the meal out as the pork belly was tasty, juicy and tender! The rub worked really well, I could pick out quite a few of the spices as I was eating the pork and the cherry smoke provided a great colour but also a great mild, fruity smoke taste to the meat.
A really simple cook but good results at the end.
Things to change next time: Not a great deal. The pork belly had bones running both ways at the bottom, don’t think I have seen that before but it was quite hard to cut it. It would be easier to cut if you didn’t have those bones going both ways but it was good quality meat and tasted great!