Wood-fired 24 Hour Sous Vide Pork Belly

This is really a simple recipe despite the description in the title. We most often eat pork belly in the form of bacon – which is delicious – but more and more you can find uncured and unsalted slabs in the meat counter that allow you the chance to experiment with a different flavor profile.

Typically pork belly is braised — where it becomes tender with the fall-off-the-bone texture of a well cooked spare rib. But by using sous vide you can create a more steak-like feel which is great on a sandwiches or as an appetizer. By glazing it with the reduced cooking liquid you can further incorporate the concentrated flavors created by 24-hours in the water bath. I roasted it briefly in the wood-fired oven which added an additional layer of smoky complexity.

2 lbs fresh pork belly, trimmed square

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup white wine

several sprigs of fresh thyme

granulated garlic

salt

pepper

Preheat the sous vide water bath to 155 degrees F.

Combine the soy sauce and white wine and set aside. Divide the pork belly into roughly four equal pieces and season generously with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Place the meat into plastic bags and then add 1/4 cup of the soy sauce and wine mixture to each bag. Place one or two thyme sprigs in the bags and then vacuum seal, or alternatively, submerge them in the water bath until the air is removed and then seal.

Cook the pork belly in the water bath for 24 hours and then remove them from the bags and set aside. Drain and reserve the liquid. Reduce the liquid on the stove top until it forms a slightly thicken glaze.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush on the glaze and then place the pork belly into the hot oven until golden, brown and delicious. Rest briefly and then slice the meat against the grain and serve.

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Dan McCoy

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