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Crunchy Chicharron Pork Belly Bites

Crunchy Chicharron Pork Belly Bites

  • RECIPE TYPE

    Pork

  • SKILL LEVEL

    Medium

  • GRILL TIME

    5+ hours

  • METHOD

    Smoking

  • SERVINGS

    Serves 4-6

In the vast world of culinary delights, few dishes boast the perfect symphony of flavors, textures, and aromas quite like smoked crunchy pork belly. This gastronomic masterpiece takes us on a journey through the artistry of smoking, showcasing the transformation of humble pork belly into a crunchy, succulent delight that titillates the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression on our senses.

The Smoking Ritual:

Smoking pork belly is not merely a cooking method; it's a ritual that pays homage to the timeless craft of culinary perfection. The process begins with selecting the finest cut of pork belly, with its layers of meat and fat promising a divine combination of juiciness and crispiness.

As the pork belly basks in the aromatic embrace of a carefully crafted rub, the smoking chamber becomes a stage for the slow dance between wood smoke and meat. The choice of wood, whether it's hickory, applewood, or mesquite, adds a layer of complexity to the flavor profile, infusing the meat with a unique smokiness that elevates it to a culinary masterpiece.

The Transformation:

Watching pork belly undergo the smoking process is akin to witnessing a metamorphosis. The collagen within the meat breaks down, rendering the once-tough pork into tender, flavorful bites. The fat, on the other hand, transforms into a crispy, golden layer that envelops each slice, creating a harmonious balance between the crunch and the melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

The Crunchy Revelation: 

The defining moment arrives when you sink your teeth into a slice of smoked crunchy pork belly. The audible crunch is a prelude to a symphony of flavors that unfold with each bite. The smokiness from the wood, the savory notes from the rub, and the succulence of the meat create a medley that captivates the palate. The contrasting textures, with the exterior offering a satisfying crunch and the interior yielding a burst of juiciness, leave an indelible mark on the taste buds.

Pairing Possibilities:

Smoked crunchy pork belly isn't just a dish; it's a versatile canvas waiting to be paired with complementary flavors. Whether served as an appetizer, nestled in a taco, or as the centerpiece of a decadent sandwich, the possibilities are as expansive as the culinary imagination. Accompany it with a zesty slaw, a tangy barbecue sauce, or a refreshing cucumber salad to elevate the experience further.

Conclusion:

Smoking crunchy pork belly is a culinary celebration that transcends the ordinary. It's a testament to the marriage of time-honored techniques, quality ingredients, and the creative spirit of those who dare to venture into the realm of culinary artistry. So, the next time you find yourself in the presence of this smoky sensation, savor each moment, relish the crunch, and pay homage to the culinary maestros who transform pork belly into a symphony for the senses.

Now, with all of that being said, sometimes cooks don’t come out exactly how we planned.  For some reason unknown to me, we had a bit of a time getting that skin to bubble.  We even tried using the torch as well as putting in a raised rack with the skin side down over the hot coals.  Next time I will probably just remove it from the smoker and throw it in the oven under the boiler for a bit.  We did get crunchy skin and soft, tender belly meat but it was definitely as pleasing to the eye as we would have liked.  See, even we can have things not go our way.  The important thing to do is to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to whatever you are dealing with.  If you have a cook not turn out as expected, relax, sit back and chill out knowing that it happens to all of us.  Yes, ALL of us!  I hoe you enjoyed this, remember to subscribe to the channel.  We are approaching 100,000 subscribers and will be doing lots of special things when it happens.  So be a part of the FOGO Family.  Share the channel with friends.  The more subscribers we get, the faster we will hit 100K!  Until then, remember to get out and grill and catch us the next time on The FOGO Life. Captain Ron out…….

Directions:

  1. Remove the pork belly from the packaging and cut it to the size piece that you want. Place it in the BBQ Prep Tub.   Now using your filet knife or a Jaccard, poke about 1,000,000 holes in the skin side of the pork belly. (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration)  Now coat the entire skin side with a generous coating of salt.  It should be thick.  Place in the refrigerator, uncovered for at least 24 hours, 48 is even better.
  2. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking at 275°. We used FOGO Briquets utilizing the snake method.  If you are not sure what the snake method is or how it works, see this example.    Drop 2 FOGO All Natural Fire Starters in a Blazaball and set it at the beginning of the snake and pile briquets right on top.  Use your grill torch to ignite the starters.  Add 3 Barrel Proof Blocks in a row on top of the snake right at the beginning of it.  Get the grill burning at a steady 275° by adjusting the vent settings. 
  3. Remove the salt from the top of the belly. Scrape it all away using the filet knife.  Flip the belly over and slice it into 2”x2” squares, being careful not to go all the way through.  Just slice as far as the skin.  Season the entire meat side with the Rub, making sure to get it down in between all of the cubes.
  4. Place the belly on the grate, meat side down, directly across from the fire. The fire should be burning on one side and the meat should be straight across from it.  Place the lid back on the grill with the exhaust vent straight across from where the fire is burning. Cook for 3 hours.
  5. Remove the belly from the grill using tongs and place it in your BBQ prep tub with the skin side down. Generously coat the entire meat side with BBQ sauce.  Use the basting brush to get the sauce down into the grooves we cut in earlier.  Flip it over and paint the skin with a coat of vinegar. 
  6. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a work surface. Flip the belly over onto the foil with the meat side down.  Crumple the foil up around the entire belly except for the skin.  Leave the skin exposed so that you have a pork belly foil boat.  Place it back on the smoker and let it roll for another hour.  Now add more lit charcoal and get the temperature up to 475-500°.  Let it go until the skin bubbles and gets crunchy.
  7. Remove the belly from the grill and carefully remove it from the foil.
  8. Slice into squares and serve. Soft and crunchy all at the same time!

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