Pork belly is a delicious cut of meat that we find to be criminally under-used and under-appreciated. This cut of meat is what bacon is made of, before it’s cured, but we have to admit we prefer it as is. When cooked slowly and to perfection, the result is out of this world in terms of tenderness and in regards to how each bite melts in your mouth!
You need to give yourself time to prepare this meal, since it needs to soak in a brine before being slow-cooked, but we promise you the result is very well worth it. It makes an outstanding dinner for entertaining (without breaking the bank!) and your guests will be blown away by the amazing flavor you achieved; plus, you can let them think you slaved away over it! Whether or not you have an occasion for it, you really should try this pork belly, because it really can’t be beat!
Slow Cooker Beer-Infused Pork Belly
- 2-2 1/2 pounds pork belly
- 22 oz. stout
- 1-2 cups pork or chicken stock
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds, ground
- Prep pork belly by using a sharp knife to score a diamond pattern into the skin.
- Combine stout, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, cloves, mustard seeds in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer just until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Place pork into a large re-sealable bag (or a large pot with a cover) and pour cooled beer mixture into the bag.
- Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 24, flipping occasionally to distribute brine.
- Remove meat from brine (reserve the brine), rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and (cutting pork into smaller pieces, if necessary) sear meat on all sides.
Note: once you place the meat down, don’t move it. You want to get a good char and moving it around prevents that from happening.
- Remove from heat and let rest until cool.
- Pour 1 cup reserved brine mixture (strained), apple cider vinegar and brown sugar into the slow cooker and stir to dissolve. Then transfer pork to slow cooker.
Note: pork should not be fully submerged in liquids.
- Carefully add pork stock until pork is 1/4-1/2 submerged, then turn on LOW and cook for 6-8 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 160º F).
- Transfer to serving plates, garnish with fresh herbs and serve with roasted veggies or potatoes.
Optional: you can sear meat again (with another 2 tablespoons olive oil) after cooking in the slow cooker, if you want to get an even crispier outer crust.
Recipe adapted from Food52