Pretzel Pork Belly Po-Boy pairs the sweet richness of pork belly with the bright flavors of a colorful slaw, in one juicy mouthful!
CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE RECIPE
“The pig is an incredible animal. It can take an apple – essentially garbage – and turn it into bacon.”
While I don’t agree with his assertion that apples are garbage, the pig does give us some pretty amazing eats. I think we all have to take a moment to appreciate just how delicious bacon is. According to the bacon calendar I have hanging in the office (more about that here), it’s sometime referred to as “the conversion meat” for it’s ability to lure vegetarians away from their meatless lifestyles. That’s some power. And while we certainly love bacon around here either as base for a delicious beef stew, or highlighted a little more prominently in an appetizer, I wanted to take a crack at the origin of bacon: pork belly. A pork belly po-boy to be more specific.
Pork belly is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a cut from the belly of the pig. It’s an extremely rich and flavorful piece of meat, so keep that in mind when you dole out your portion size. The sandwich you see is definitely enough for two. In this recipe, we make a glaze/sauce with the assertive flavors of molasses, coffee, and chipotle peppers, braise the pork belly, and finally hit it with high heat to get a delicious crispy top.
The glaze is easy: everything in the pot, and simmer until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. You’ll use half to glaze the pork belly, and the remaining half as a sauce when you’re finished. I was looking for bold flavors to help cut through the richness of the pork belly, and I think this glaze fits the bill. You’ll cut a cross hatch pattern into the top of the pork belly before you apply the glaze, and then let it sit overnight to soak in. Cooking the pork belly at a relatively low temperature, you will render out a lot of fat, which will baste the meat and give it that trademark richness. You’re going to want to have a container standing by to pour off the excess fat, because you DO NOT want that amount of grease going down the sink. When it’s done braising, you’ll take it out of the oven, pat away the excess moisture, and then stick it back in the oven at a high temperature to crisp up the top. Don’t walk too far from your oven for this stage, as the line between crispy and incinerated can be a fine one indeed. But once you’ve got that done, all that’s left is to let it rest for 5-10 minutes, and then you can dig in.
This is Gonna be Slawsome!
I wanted to provide a counterpoint to pork belly in the finished sandwich, and so I thought that the cool crunch of the vegetables and spiciness of the dressing provided by a jicama slaw would fit the bill. If there was ever a recipe to break out the food processor, it would be this one. Lots and lots of veggies. See? It’s a healthy sandwich. I let the food processor handle shredding the cabbage, jicama, and carrots. I wanted the onion and bell pepper to be cut a little bit bigger, and if you’ve ever put a cucumber in a food processor, you know that you’ll pretty much just end up with paste, so I took care of those by hand. Still, using the food processor on some of the veggies cuts out a lot of manual knife work. Once you have your vegetation chopped, you mix up your dressing, pour it over the top, and toss. Now you can assemble your magnificent sandwich.
Pretzel Pork Belly Po-Boy Production
Start by whipping up some hearty, homemade pretzel rolls. Or, feel free to buy a batch from your local grocery store or bakery. If you reeeeally don’t want to use a pretzel roll for some reason (without which the title of the dish falls apart), we leave it up to you to choose something else. But pick something that’s sturdy, because you don’t want this soaking through the bun, and depositing all that tastiness on the floor.
Grab your bread, layer on the pork belly, and top it off with some of the reserved sauce for extra flavor. Then top it all with the slaw and voila! Pretzel pork belly po-boy, just as pretty as the pictures. Now go grab a beer and enjoy!
We’d like to add that the inspiration for this pork belly po-boy came from one of our readers. Mike G, this one’s for you. And if there’s anything you really want to see us make, shoot us a suggestion and we’ll take a look.
Pork belly recipe adapted from Edible Houston. Slaw recipe barely adapted from Food Network
- 2 tablespoon chipotle paste
- 2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 6 tablespoon molasses
- 2 minced clove garlic
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 pounds pork belly, in 1 piece
- 1 quart chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 -inch piece ginger, sliced
- ½ cup chipotle coffee molasses glaze
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let reduce until it has a syrup-like consistency (approximately 1 cup)
- Divide the glaze evenly: ½ for the glaze, ½ for use as a sauce.
- Remove excess fat from the pork belly until you have a ½" thick layer. Score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern, then brush with the glaze all over.
- Cover with foil, and place in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Place the pork belly in a roasting pan. Mix the spices and chicken stalk together and pour over the pork belly. The liquid should come half way up the meat.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and cook for 2.5-3 hours, or until tender.
- Remove the roasting pan and discard the liquid. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towel. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees,
- Brush the top and sides with the glaze, then cook for 10 minutes or until the top is carmelized and crispy. Make sure the top does not burn.
- Remove from the oven. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving with remaining glaze as a sauce.
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1½ cups peeled, julienned jicama
- 1 cup, peeled, julienned or grated carrots
- 1 cup shredded napa cabbage
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup julienned English cucumber
- ½ cup julienned or grated red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Whisk together the lime juice, chili flakes, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and vinegar and set aside.
- Combine the vegetables and cilantro in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes, tossing an additional 2-3 times.