Sticky Pork Belly & Roasted Sweet Vegetables
Pork belly is so deliciously rich, it goes a very long way – a very good thing when you have a visiting son planning to entertain a bunch of old school mates over food and beers writes Sandra Tate…
I also like pork belly as you can get amazing results in 6-7 hours, a lot less than pulled pork, but just as sensational. I personally prefer to cook it on the bone but ask my butcher to not only score the rind, but also carefully detach it from the joint so that at the end of the cooking time on Kamado Joe I can put it in my oven at high temperature to turn it into the most amazing crackling.
In the morning I got my 3kg pork belly joint up to room temperature and rubbed under the rind and over flesh with a mix of 50g sea salt and 30g freshly ground black pepper. Make a sticky BBQ sauce by mixing 2tsp tamarind paste; 2tbsp runny honey; 3 large cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped; 1tsp red chilli powder; 3tbsp tomato ketchup. Set aside for second stage of cooking.
We’re talking low and slow cooking, so get KJ to a steady 130°C with the heat deflector at low level and a drip tray on it. Place the grill rack at the higher level. Sit the joint on the rack with bone side down. Cook undisturbed for 3 hours. Now lift off the rind and set aside for cooking indoors – apply the sticky BBQ sauce liberally over the surface of the meat (don’t worry about rib bones underside). Cook a further hour than sit the joint on a roasting tray and wrap loosely in foil. Leave a further 2-3 hours.
Inspired by Ottolenghi – an hour before the pork is going to be ready, trim a 1.2kg butternut squash and remove seeds. Cut into quarters then into 1cm wedges. Peel 2 large red onions and cut into 1cm wedges. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and toss with 3tbsp olive oil, a pinch of chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Roast at 220°C for 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and colouring. While the veg cooks, place the pork rind on a tray, skin side up, lightly salt the surface and cook at the top of the oven until golden and blistering (you will have to periodically drain fat from the tray. Make a dressing by mixing 3tbsp tahini with 1tbsp lemon juice, a small clove garlic, crushed to pulp, and enough water to turn it into a creamy consistency. Remove the tray of vegetables and add 30g toasted pine kernels and lots of fresh rocket leaves. Drizzle over with tahini dressing.
Remove the foil from the pork and carve into meaty ribs t serve up with sweet veg and crackling.