Companion to Ultimate Pork Belly Sliders

In preparation for the big game coming up this week, I wanted to create a recipe that would knock my friends’ socks off who came to my football party. Something that you don't always see but also something simple and filling.  

What I decided on was a delicious pork belly slider. It's something that can be eaten on a delicious sweet roll or, if you’re like me, you can dress it up with all the fixings of coleslaw, pickles, and a sweet BBQ sauce to really set it off. The real beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity so let’s dive in. 

To Start

We picked up a 4-pound skin off pork belly from the local grocery store.

Trimming on this cut is extremely minimal, essentially, we’re just trying to carve off any high points of fat so that we don't create pools of liquid as that delicious bacon fat renders from the inside out.

Seasoning

Next, we just need to season the top and for me that starts with some yellow mustard to help those seasonings stick.

You’ll want to hit the belly with both an all-purpose rub, something with that salt content in it to really draw the natural flavors out of the meat. After the all-purpose seasoning, I like to use a sweet BBQ rub just to give it some of those traditional BBQ pork flavors.  

That's all there is to prepping this belly, we don’t worry about the back because there's so much of a fat cap that any seasoning would just drip off, so we just let that bacon fat do what it does and render.

Smoking

When it comes to cooking these sliders, it’s a two-step process.

To begin, we set our Char-Griller AKORN® up for indirect smoking with your favorite charcoal and smoking wood at 275°F

Let that pork belly bathe in the smoke until two things happen, one is it develops a beautiful mahogany color and two the bark is set to the point where if you touch it it doesn’t come off on your fingers.

For us that came at around 2 hours in with an internal temperature of 175°F in the center of the pork belly.

Grilling

At this point it’s time to change directions, pull the belly off of the AKORN® to rest for a few minutes while at the same time we will pull the Smokin’ Stone out of the AKORN, stir our charcoal, and open all the vents to get this grill ripping hot because we are about to sear this belly.  

As the grill heats up, go ahead and begin slicing the pork belly into quarter inch thick strips.

You may notice that while the fat is starting to render it's still very present. By searing these slices what we will achieve is a soft and crispy fat much like that of a ribeye steak. I assure you it will be fantastic so season the slices up with your all-purpose rub again and get them on your now 600°F AKORN®.

We are frying bacon almost at this point so be mindful of the fire that those fat drippings will create. I like to do about 3 minutes per side to get those good sear marks from our cast iron grate.

Finishing Touches

When you’re happy with the sear go ahead and get them off, close down your vents, and break out your Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Nearing the home stretch there's not much left to do. Go ahead and slice the top off of your entire pack of sweet rolls so you now have one top and one bottom.  

Place the top aside and begin arranging your seared pork belly on the bottom so you have full coverage. If you need to cut some special pieces of belly to do this, that's fine.

With the bottom covered, put the top back on and for bonus points melt down some butter and add a little garlic into it then brush the tops of your rolls.

Put the rolls into a prepared pan and get them back on the AKORN® which should be cooler now, and let them crisp up for about 10 minutes.

After a short wait, all that's left to do now is take a long knife and go ahead and cut your sliders apart.

At this point the choice is yours. Do you eat it spartan style? Or do you go whole hog and just see how much coleslaw and how many pickles will go on top?  Do you use a sauce and if you do, do you go Kansas City or a Carolina mustard style?  

These can all be hard choices but the one thing to take solace in is that at this point, there are no wrong choices. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

See the recipe here: Ultimate Pork Belly Sliders

Blog Courtesy of Cookout Coach

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