I take part in a couple BBQ Forums and although everyday brings a new set of great recipes to add to my "I've Got To Try This" list, today's blog post is dedicated to one of the most amazing recipes I've seen in a long time. It come courtesy of Cha Cha BBQ Hut in Andes, New York. When I first saw the results of this recipe I knew I had to try it. My resulting product was simply one of the best cooks I've done in ages. It's a long process, 3 weeks, but man was it worth the wait. With permission from Frank Davis of Cha Cha Hut BBQ, here's my take on his recipe.
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons jalapeno vinegar (the vinegar from a jar of pickled jalapenos)
- Pork Belly
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan on the stove. Heat enough to dissolve everything. Set aside to cool. When the vinegar mixture cools put your pork belly in a plastic bag and add the mixture. Seal and refrigerate for 3 weeks. Turn your bag over every 5 days. Don’t be temped to shortcut the process, it’s worth it.
Once the curing process is finished, season with your favorite rub and smoke the pork belly for several hours at 225 to 250 degrees until it reaches 165 degrees internal. Cool and slice away. This isn’t bacon and won’t taste anything like bacon, but the sweetness and spice will just tickle your taste buds.
I think when I do this the next time I’m going to cook the pork belly longer to try to render a little more of the fat out of it. This would make for better sandwiches if served cold.
This isn’t a traditional cure. Instead of “curing” the meat and acting like a preservative this cure is designed to infuse the flavors into the pork. The salt content is very low so it may be closer to a brine than a cure. But no matter what you call it, the flavor it gives the pork belly is quite nice. I’m a huge fan!
The first thing I made with the Cha Cha Hut Pork Belly was a sandwich. Because I didn’t get as much fat rendered out of the pork belly I sliced a bunch and pan fried it a little so it got crispy. Watch it when you do this because the sugars from the honey and rubs will burn quickly.
Once the belly was crispy I made me up a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado. Also added some Cowboy Candy for a little added sweetness and heat. (Recipe for Cowboy Candy coming up tomorrow). This was an awesome sandwich. I cannot believe the amount of flavor this pork belly packs. You’ve just got to try it.
How’s this for a sandwich?
I took the other hunk of pork belly and cut it up in 3/4 inch chunks. After seasoning heavily with rub I put them back on the smoker and started cooking them just like I would brisket burnt ends. This method worked great. I ended up with little pieces of pork belly candy that just fell apart and melted in my mouth.