Being an avid food TV watcher I have viewed the cooking of the great Southern American BBQ pork with mouth watering envy many a time, but have yet to experience the finger lickin’ ecstasy of eating it. The American BBQ pork is an art form that requires dedication and know how, not to mention a large pit in which to roast a beast. In other words in is not something you are likely to cook at home. A fact that has left me dribbling into my pillow, a world of broken dreams.
I have however, discovered an Alton Brown recipe that comes close to emulating the amazing American BBQ pork roast. Not only does it give you a great sticky, moist, tender and tasty piece of slow cooked pork belly or rib, it also has some fantastic techniques for cooking any meat slowly and making a delicious sauce afterwards in any style cuisine you can imagine! Here is my adaptation of the recipe with the basic technique laid out for you to see. You will be the master of slow cooked meat from this day forward!
Techniques to add to your repertoire
Learn how to make a special marinade for your meat that, along with the cooking juices, will make a deliciously sweet and sticky BBQ sauce. This can be used for any slow cooked meat and the spices can be changed to make it match any cuisine style.
Also learn a great way to slow cook any meat without a slow cooker and without your meat drying out.
Ingredients (serves 4):
Meat – I use pork belly usually as it is the most readily available, but pork ribs or even lamb or beef ribs would work as well. In fact any fatty, gelatinous cut of meat will do. For 4 people use about 500g although it is so delicious that any amount you put on the table will be devoured!
dry rub (you can make up loads to use excess next time)
8 parts brown sugar (use tablespoons to serve 4)
3 parts salt (use tablespoons to serve 4)
1 part chilli powder (use tablespoons to serve 4)
1 part spices (or 1/2 teaspoons of 6 different spices, below are my suggestions but use the appropriate spices for the particular cuisine you are after:
1/2 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or any vinegar)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce or failing that 1 tablespoon of salt)
1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Diagonally slice half cm cuts 1cm apart down the skin of the pork belly (skip this step if you aren’t using pork). Don’t worry about being perfect but these slits will help get flavour into the meat and aid in making the crackling later on.
Massage the dry rub into the meat all over. Do this vigorously so that the meat is amply covered, don’t be shy! The pork belly won’t bruise, so work all your frustrations out on the piece of meat. You can always do this by putting the meat into a plastic bag first so that you don’t get your hands dirty. Otherwise wash your hands – pork smearings is not something you want to be spreading around the kitchen.
Leave the pork to marinade in the dry rub overnight or at least for an hour in the refrigerator.
Once the meat has finished marinading make up the braising liquid by adding all of the ingredients into the pot and heat gently to melt the honey. Make sure it is done gently and that you take it off the heat as soon as possible. You don’t want the liquid to evaporate.
Take the pork out of the refrigerator and wrap it up in aluminium tinfoil. Do this by tamping across the top of the foil where it meets, leaving the two other sides open. You can close one of these sides, but leave the other open. This is where you are going to carefully pour in the braising liquid. Make sure you transfer the aluminium wrapped meat onto a baking tray before you add any liquid. This will reduce the chance of the foil tearing.
Securely finish wrapping up the meat so there is no leaks and put into an oven preheated to 90°C. Leave of at least 2 1/2 hours and preferably 3 hours.
Carefully take the meat out of the aluminium foil being careful to not spill the braising liquid and to not to burn yourself! Pour the precious braising liquid into a saucepan and put over high heat to reduce it by half. This should take about 15 min and it is not done until you notice the sauce bubbling like caramel sauce. This means that the sugar in the sauce is caramelizing into a thick sticky yummy goo! Once you notice this happening leave over the heat for another 2 minutes.
If you have pork belly use a knife to slice off the fat and the skin from the meat and brush the reduced sauce all over both the pork skin and meat. Put under a grill on full heat for 10-15 minutes. watch carefully to make sure nothing burns and keep applying more reduced sauce to the meat and skin. Turn the meat regularly. Keep the crackling piece facing skin side up. You want this to dry out so it turns into crackling. You may have to turn the heat of the grill down and leave it in for longer than the piece of meat to get desired result. It is done once you notice the skin has started to bubble all over. Leave to rest for a few minutes – this will allow it to crisp up.
Then slice up the meat and crackling and serve with any sauce left over!
Yum yum pigs bum!