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Planning a pork belly tomorrow

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm going to do a piece of pork belly on the smoker tomorrow.  I have about 5 pounds of belly with the skin still on.  My plan is to cook it essentially like I do pork shoulder and serve it as pulled pork.

 

I'm thinking about injecting a little apple juice, although I don't think that's necessary.  Probably 4 hours or so of smoke, then wrap it with some sugar to finish it.  I've been injecting my pork shoulders lately (Chris Lilly recipe) and they have been fabulous.  I wouldn't have thought to inject this cut given the high fat content, but I saw a Killer Hogs video on youtube that looked really great.

 

Questions:

 

1. What are your thoughts on injecting?  If I do I'll keep it really simple, probably straight apple juice, maybe with a little sugar added.

 

2. I'm going to pull the meat off the skin, I don't plan on serving the skin, just using it to help hold the moisture in when smoking.  I was on the fence about whether to get skin-on or off, but the butcher said he thought it would have more flavor with the skin.  Thoughts?

 

3. I'm thinking about trying to turn the leftover skin (after smoking and pulling the meat off) into cracklins.  Maybe just put it back on the pit with to crisp it up?  I'm not sure that will give me anything but a leathery mess though.  I have a great recipe for cracklin bread though (I usually just substitute crispy bacon).

 

Appreciate any input on this.  I'll post pics as I'm cooking it.

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK, here's where I am on the Pork Belly.

 

I started with a 5lb slab of fresh pork belly from the local butcher.  Looks like a nice piece!

 

 

I mixed an injection of 1.5 cups of Apple Juice, 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of kosher salt.  I injected it all over, I was a little surprised it "took" that much injection, that's about what I use on a 9 or 10 pound Pork butt.

 

I oiled the skin side and salted it with coarse sea salt.  I don't plan on serving it with this pork, but I'm going to try to turn it into craklins for use another day.  We'll see.

 

Then I rubbed it with a mix I made yesterday using maple sugar, turbinado sugar, alderwood smoked salt, paprika, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, black pepper, celery seed, onion and garlic powder.  I had to play with the chipolte and sugars to get enough sweetness and enough bite at the end.  I think this will work pretty well.

 

Then on the smoker at 225 for at least four hours, I'll foil it when it gets enough color.  I put a lot of rub on it, I'm hoping for a really tasty bark and super juicy insides.

 

post #3 of 8
Standing by for the finished pics! I have four bellies in the freezer waiting for cooler weather to make bacon. I plan on reserving a half of one for doing a straight up smoked belly.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Four hours in, needs a lot more time.  The smoker (Traeger) seems to be running a little cooler on "smoke" -- the auger motor burned up and I replaced it, I guess it just turns a little slower.  Crud.  It's going to be tough to get this done by 8pm for dinner...  I'll give it another hour or two of smoke and then wrap it and turn up the heat to get it cooked.  I hate doing that.  The beans need a couple more hours of smoke too.

 

 

post #5 of 8
Oh no! Not a Treager! Hopefully you get it done in time!

My Cousin is a big Treager guy, but he has one of the original ones built back when they were made in the Oregon, not China. He hasn't had any issues with his.

My mom won a Little Tex Elite a year or so ago. Have it to me. Did a couple cooks in it and the sold it. Not my cup of tea, never was.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post

Oh no! Not a Treager! Hopefully you get it done in time!

My Cousin is a big Treager guy, but he has one of the original ones built back when they were made in the Oregon, not China. He hasn't had any issues with his.

My mom won a Little Tex Elite a year or so ago. Have it to me. Did a couple cooks in it and the sold it. Not my cup of tea, never was.

 

The Traeger has been OK for me.  I've kind of outgrown it now, it's one of the S-M-H models.  I've had it over 5 years, and I cook on it almost every night.  During the week it's usually simple stuff (sausages, chicken, skirt steak), but it's in use pretty much every day, rain or shine, year round.

 

I just started building a Stumps clone last weekend, but that won't be something I can use every night.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Crud.  

 

I take back every nice thing I ever said about the Traeger.  

 

At 6:30 the pork was at 135ish.  My wife mentioned that Felicia Day was making an appearance at the local book store (she's the red headed actress that plays the hacker on Supernatural).  So I thought, "leave the pork on smoke for a couple of hours while we go to the book signing, it should be close to done by time we get back".  The Traeger flamed out probably an hour before we got home, the meat was at 115.  So I re-started it, foiled it with some turbinado sugar and set the smoker on "medium" (300-350).  Maybe it will be done in another hour or so.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, it didn't get done in time for dinner.  What a drag.  I pulled it off a little after midnight, it's resting now.  Maybe it will be dinner tomorrow.

 

I'll have to try this again another time.

 

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