Sunday, November 3, 2019

Texas pork belly bites!

sampled 11/3/19

I have been threatening to try smoking some pork belly for awhile now, but ran into an unexpected problem of actually finding some pork belly to smoke!  My racquetball buddy David in Euless solved that problem when he told me about U.S. Foods Chef'store in Farmers Branch.  We made the drive over there after the Blues, Bandits, & BBQ Fest yesterday and picked up an almost 11 pound  skinless pork belly for $2.55/lb.
This morning we sliced it up into large squares.  We don't have a fine mesh screen for the small size pork belly bites, so we just made them bigger to stay on our little bullet smoker's grate.  We dusted every square heavily on both sides with North Main BBQ All-N-1 steak seasoning and popped them on the smoker for 3 hours.
After 3 hours of heavy smoking, here's what we had.
A quick check with a meat thermometer found an internal temperature of 180 degrees, which is just dandy.  However I could tell from the probe going in that the tenderness was not there quite yet.  A few sample bites were delicious, but there was still just a bit of a chew.  On to the next step.  We pulled the meat from the top rack and coated it with BBQ sauce, honey, a few pats of butter, and wrapped tightly in heavy foil.  I committed one of my last bottles of original Dr Pepper BBQ sauce to the effort.  Next we pulled the meat from the bottom rack and did the same.  Both wrapped packages went back on the smoker for another 45 minutes for some steam tendering.
After 45 minutes on the smoker, I pulled the top package and tested the larger squares with a knife.  They needed just a little more tenderizing, so I wrapped them back up again and threw them back in the smoker for another 30 minutes.  The next test the knife slipped in like butter, so I added some more sauce on top and put it back in the smoker with the top open for another 30 minutes.  Here's what we got.
Out of 11 lbs, I think we ended up with about 7 lbs of delicious pork belly. There were a few squares that were a little chewy, probably the meatier parts of the belly.  The fat was perfectly rendered and turned to gravy when we bit down.  I think I'd call this experiment a success.  Especially for $2.55/lb.  The only thing I think I would change is to do the wrapped tenderizing and unwrapped caramelization in the oven.  One of the aluminum foil wrapped packages sprung a leak on the way from the smoker to the kitchen.  I think we'd like to avoid that in the future!

No comments:

Post a Comment