Smoked Pork Belly

I said it once and I will say it again. I am a sucker for pork belly. If I see it on the menu, there is a 99% chance I will order it. Amber was doing the Whole30 diet the month of June. I wanted to support her and chose to participate as well. The diet only lets you eat meat, fruits, and vegetables. Basically we could not eat anything processed, sugar, dairy, bread, legumes, nor drink alcohol. Lame. Not being able to eat bacon for breakfast was going to be an issue. You can buy uncured bacon, but it is hard to find ones without sugar. If you do find it, you pay a premium for it. I recently saw that Costco sold slabs of pork belly. I took this opportunity to smoke my own pork belly.
The slab from Costco weighed over nine pounds, and there was no skin. I did not have to remove the skin, but then I could not make cracklings. Catch-22. I did not have time to cure the belly plus it adds a lot of salt. I rubbed the meat down with coarse black pepper and Hawaiian sea salt for added color. The next time I am smoking a pork belly, I will be more liberal with the seasoning. Probably apply the rub until I see nothing but black. I asked and looked around to see what the finishing internal temperature should be. It ranged from 160 degrees to over 200. I did not want to risk having pulled pork if I went too high. My goal was to hit 175. The meat was in an oak smoke bath for eight hours.
I let the belly rest for about 30 minutes before I cut into it. Once I started cutting, I could not stop eating. It was so tasty. The meat was rich and smoky. I finally stopped eating long enough to section the slab into 3 pieces. One was for breakfast. Another for the next part of this post. The other? No idea? Any suggestions? I sliced the section for breakfast thin. They were easy to crisp up in a frying pan and was great every morning I ate them. I thought this smoking adventure was a success.
I love me some bacon burnt ends from Heim Barbecue. I also saw that Pappa Charlies was doing char sui pork belly as specials. I decided to combine both ideas into one. I grew up eating a lot of Chinese BBQ and well you know my affinity for Texas BBQ. The perfect combo. You can find char sui sauce at your local Asian market. The one I bought was from Lee Kum Kee and came in an eight ounce jar. I cubed up about three pounds of the cold smoked pork belly and covered it with the sauce. I gave it about two hours worth of smoke to get the internal temperature to 195 degrees.
Damn. The pieces were fantastic. They were sweet, sticky, and smoky. There was a ton of flavor. I ate them with a bowl of rice and was happy as a clam. I would make those again for sure. I might play with different flavors first, the next time I do bacon burnt ends.
Until next time, happy smoking...

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