Barbeque'd Pork Belly, Charred Watermelon, Pickled Rind

Barbeque'd Pork Belly, Charred Watermelon, Pickled Rind
Barbeque'd pork belly, charred watermelon, pickled rind

Chris Kobayashi

Barbeque'd pork belly, charred watermelon, pickled rind

This barbequed pork belly recipe takes some planning in advance, but with the sweet and tarty contrast from the charred watermelon and pickled rind, it's well worth the wait to show off to your guests.

Ingredients

For the pork cure:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, hard stems removed
  • A few sprigs parsley
  • A few sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup kosher salt

For the braised pork belly:

  • 1 pound pork belly, skin removed
  • beef stock
  • BBQ sauce (make your own or store bought)

For the watermelon:

  • ½ small watermelon, seedless preferably
  • ½ cup pickled watermelon pickle liquid
  • 1 squeeze lime juice
  • 1 food storage bag, just large enough to fit the watermelon
  • Salt and aleppo pepper

For the pickled watermelon rind:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced

Directions

For the pork cure:

Prepare the cure. Place all the cure ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all the contents are homogenous.

Sprinkle the cure over the pork and let sit for 10 hours and refrigerate. Do not cure longer than 10 hours.

For the braised pork belly:

Rinse the belly with water and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the belly fat side down in an oven-safe skillet just big enough to fit. Bring temperature to medium low and render the fat from the pork. Skim away fat and drain from pan. Save the fat to use for the crisping process. Cook for about 10–15 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove pork and drain away all remaining fat. Return pork to skillet fat side down and add beef stock and about a cup of BBQ sauce halfway up pork. Place a lid on the skillet and bake for 2 ½ hours.

Remove the lid and flip pork. Spoon liquid over pork and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and allow pork to cool to room temperature. Reserve.

For the watermelon:

Clean the rind off and reserve for pickling. Place the ingredients in the bag and VAC @ -10.***

Remove from the bag and blow torch until nicely charred. Sprinkle with salt and aleppo pepper.

For the pickled watermelon rind:

Place all the above ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cleaned prepared watermelon rind to the pickling liquid and allow to cool. Place in a food storage bag and VAC at-20.***

Reserve.

To finish the dish:

Crisp the pork in the reserved fat. Deglaze with the braising juice and baste. Place the pork on 4 individual plates. Garnish with the rind and the charred watermelon.

Pork Shopping Tip

Bone-in cuts tend to be slightly less expensive than their boneless counterparts, and have more flavor.

Pork Cooking Tip

According to the USDA, the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pork Wine Pairing

Tempranillo, dolcetto, gewürztraminer, or muscat with roast pork; carmènere with  pork sausage; sangiovese, pinotage, or richer sauvignon blancs for stir-fried or braised pork dishes or pork in various sauces; syrah/shiraz, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nero d'avola, or primitivo with barbecued spareribs or pulled pork, or with cochinito en pibil and other Mexican-spiced pork dishes.