We’ll Teach You How to Smoke Some Pork Belly (Without a Smoker) Just Because It’s 4/20February 26, 2020
There have been numerous rumors about the origins of 420 but lets get down to the real story. We have a group of San Rafael High School students in California back in the 1970’s to thank for the universally recognized term. It was a joke, a secret code for their activities, and the time their activities would take place. Less than a decade later, pot smokers round the world were using it.
While not everyone reading this may be an aficionado of all things Mary Jane, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate 420. Today we celebrate 420 not by smoking some pot, but by smoking some meat. This is a food blog, after all.
Smoking meats has a long and ancient history. Originally done by primitive cavemen as a way to preserve meat and fish; it has become a cooking technique that adds an amazing depth of flavor.
Smoking meat at home is much easier than you think. Wood chips are readily available in major shopping mall hardware stores and other than that all you need it some aluminum foil, a cheap baking tin, and an oven. As you’ll see in the recipe it’s a very simple process. One warning though, make sure you have a well-ventilated kitchen. You will have tons of smoke seep out of your oven.
Now in homage to those post pot munchies we’re doing a play on Kansas City BBQ with Asian flavors. Our meat of choice, pork belly. Why pork belly? More like why not pork belly! Pork is a wondrous meat. Juicy, tasty, and fatty it really benefits from the flavor smoking adds. For the glaze we’re using two main ingredients, strawberry and tamarind. The strawberry provides a nice sweetness while the tamarind cuts through and balances the glaze. The end result is smokey , sweet, sticky goodness.
Strawberry-Tamarind Glazed Smoked Pork Belly
Ingredients: Pork Belly
- 500g pork belly
- rock salt and pepper
- 1kg hickory hood bag
Ingredients: Strawberry-Balsamic Glaze
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
- 1/2 (or 2 tbsp) red onion, minced
- 1 pc sili labuyo, sliced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper, crushed
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp star anise
Procedure: Strawberry-Tamarind Glaze
- Cut the lemongrass roughly 3 inches above the root and mince. You only want to use the base of the lemongrass stalk. If you include the darker green mid and top section you’ll get quite a bit of bitterness.
- Add all the ingredients in a saucepot and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Pour into a blender and blend at medium speed until smooth. Don’t over fill the blender or you’ll have to explain to your significant other why the kitchen is covered in a red mess. Start the blender on low and work your way up to medium.
- Pour the blended glaze through a strainer to remove the strawberry seeds and any chunks into a bowl and set aside.
Procedure for the Pork Belly
- Carefully remove the skin leaving as much fat on the pork belly as possible. You have the option of frying up the skin chicharon style to snack on while the pork belly smokes.
- Make diagonal cuts into the fat of the pork belly about 1/2 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep to create a crosshatch pattern. This doesn’t need to be perfect but it gives the glaze a place to penetrate and develop the sticky goodness we’re looking for.
- Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper then pour about half of the prepared glaze on the pork. Massage it into the cuts you made and make sure the pork is well covered.
- Position your oven rack in the lower 1/3 of your oven and preheat to 250 degrees Celsius.
Procedure: Wood Chips
- Soak half the wood chips in water for 20 minutes. This helps make sure you can develop a lot of smoke.
- Line a cheap baking tin with aluminum foil and add remaining wood chips.
- Place baking tin on top of a burner set to medium heat.
- Once the wood has started smoking and a flame has developed you’ll be adding about half the wood that’s been soaking in water. Make sure to shake off excess water before adding it.
- Place it at the bottom of your preheated oven along with a pan of water. The water ensures you’re smoking in a nice moist environment.
- Place your Pork Belly on a wire roasting rack in the oven. You could put it in a roasting pan but using a wire roasting rack ensures the smoke gets to penetrate the pork belly evenly.
- Set a timer for 2 hours 30 minutes. Check on your oven from time to time. You should see smoke seeping out. If it looks like the smoke is thinning out add some more wet wood chips.
- After the timer goes off or your pork has reached an internal temperature of 80 degrees C at the thickest part pull it out and turn your oven up to 450 degrees C.
- Add the remaining glaze to the pork belly and stick it back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You want the glaze to get nice and sticky. Don’t worry about a few burnt bits! Those are the best parts!
- After the glaze is nice and sticky, pull out the pork belly and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy! I highly recommend serving with mashed potatoes!