Maple Glazed Smoked Pork Belly
One 3-4 pound uncured pork belly piece
1-2 cups of soaked fruit wood chips (eg: apple, cherry)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp crushed red chili peppers
1 cup water
1/4 cup quality bourbon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp apple cider
1/2 tsp dried chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped green onions
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
Marinated Pork Belly:
12-24 hours ahead of time, combine marinade ingredients in food processor and blend until garlic is finely chopped. Place pork belly in a large resealable plastic bag and pour over marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the Keg for direct grilling at 250°F and add 1 cup wood chips.
Place the pork belly into a similar sized rectangular disposable aluminum tray and pour marinade and 1 cup water over top. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal edges tightly so that steam does not escape. Place in the Keg and cook for 5 1/2 hours.
Remove pan from Keg, and with foil still sealed tightly, allow pork belly to rest in the liquid in the pan for 2 hours.
Smoking and Glazing:
Add second cup of soaked wood chips to the Keg and open vents to bring oven temperature to 375°F. Remove pork belly from pan and reserve cooking liquid. The pork belly will be quite delicate at this point and will require gentle handling during the final grilling process. In order to facilitate this, organize to have a wire grilling basket on hand. The basket will help maintain the rectangular shape of the pork belly and prevent the skin from sliding around. If not available, use a wire rack and a very large spatula for carefully turning the pork belly on the grids. Place pork belly skin side down on a wire grilling basket. Place on the Keg and allow skin to crisp for 15 minutes. Monitor for flare ups.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze by combining bourbon, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, cider vinegar and red pepper flakes in a glass dish. Carefully remove pork belly from the Keg and brush all over with glaze.
Return to the Keg and cook for 5 minutes, carefully turn, apply remaining glaze and cook for another 5 minutes. The pork belly will be finished when the glaze caramelizes on the meat and is a beautiful glossy dark brown.
Scatter chopped parsley, green onions, salt and pepper on the cutting board and sprinkle with apple cider vinegar. Carefully remove the pork belly from the basket or wire rack and place on top of this mixture. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Turn and rub mixture on the other side. Gently cut into one and a half-inch square cubes, continuing to dredge in the finishing mixture.
The reserved cooking liquid can be used as a flavourful sauce, once the fat has been poured off. Pour reserved liquid into a large glass measuring cup. Pour off the fat that has floated to the top. Skim or spoon off the final inch or so, using a tablespoon. Add any remaining glaze to this mixture. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for another 10 minutes. This sauce is delicious poured onto the prepared pork belly and simply boiled new potatoes and wilted kale cooked with garlic and lemon juice.