MMMM…. Pork Belly. So, so good, my favourite meat of all time. When you are cooking Pork belly in your BBQ you need to find that perfect balance between juicy tender meat and light crispy skin. With the simple steps I take, you get this result every time.
Take your pork belly and trim as necessary, if you have to, remove the bones from underneath (keep them to the side, and chuck on the grill at the same time as your pork belly, they will be a perfect snack about half way throughout the cooking time.)
Finely score the skin with either a sharp knife or a standard box cutter type blade. make the scores only through the skin, not down into the flesh. space the scores about 5mm apart, it may seem like a big gap, but as the skin contracts in the cooking process, this leaves you with a perfect crackling in the end.
Liberally grind some salt over the top and rub in thoroughly with your fingers, then rub in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add all your hens to a large roasting tray, crushing and ripping them up to release their flavours, then add the apple juice straight into the tray. Lay the pork flesh side down into the tray and leave to marinate for approx 30 minutes, heat up your BBQ during this time, so it is nice and hot when you are ready to go.
Just before you put the pork in, place a roasting rack in the tray so the meat is not sitting in the liquid and stewing, but sitting above it throughout the cooking process.
Your BBQ needs to be scorching hot (the internal temp, not the plate, you don't want heat underneath the tray or the liquid will evaporate and your meat will dry out. About 220-240 degrees C when the meat goes in. You want the skin to start rendering fat very quickly.
Once you see the fat starting to bubble up through the scores, turn the temp down to about 180, and then leave it for about 1 hour before even opening the lid. If you are looking you are not cooking.
Give it a check after an hour , the meat should be turning a nice pale white colour, the skin should be starting to bubble up in places and starting to sound crispy when you tap with your knife. This is the time you need to use your judgement, depending on the size your pork may be ready at this stage, stick a knife down in between one of the scores toward the middle, if the juice that runs out is clear, you are probably close to being done, depending on your crackling/skin.
Once the meat is done, take it off, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. You should be able to easily carve through the skin and all so you end up with nice juicy slices of meat and crispy skin topping each piece.
Salad & Dressing
Toast your walnuts in a slow pan till the start to change colour, you don't want them to be coloured to much, but the aroma changes as they start to roast. As does the flavour.
Finely slice your pear into a julienne (little matchsticks) and combine with the fresh rocket, nuts and a sprinkling of chives.
Next combine the blue cheese & creme fraiche into a small mixing bowl. Break up your cheese and whisk until smooth, then add your milk to thin the mixture down to a nice runny consistency. Add in some fresh pepper, a small sprinkle of salt and some fresh chives for colour, then mix through the salad (or serve on the side as I do as we have someone allergic to blue cheese in our house)
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