If you’ve never had pork belly before and you’re a serious fan of bacon, then you will instantly fall in love with this tender and extremely flavorful cut of meat! Pork belly is so rich, and let’s be honest, it’s basically uncut bacon anyway so a small slice per person is all you need, which means you’ve got a decadent meal to feed a large crowd. This is indulgence in it’s purest form… a huge roast of bacon, yes please!
We’ve stuffed the pork belly with delicious, tangy pickled pears. The vinegar and ginger in the pears help to cut the fat and brightens up the flavors of the pork. Then you have the deep, rich bourbon mustard sauce to accompany the pork belly… which also served as the same flavors that marinaded the pork overnight! The flavors are incredible! I’ve already made this stuffed bourbon mustard pork belly twice and I can’t get enough of it.
As I mentioned above, this is a great dish for a gathering or party. The richness of the dish means your guests don’t need a ton to feel full and deeply satisfied. The recipe, though it may look complicated, is actually quite easy. The steps are divided across two days. The bourbon mustard marinade is also the base for the sauce (once you whip up the marinade, you save half for the sauce the next day.) The only thing that may be a bit tedious is prepping the tangy pears to stuff the pork belly with. Oh, and likely rolling up the pork belly. If it’s you’re first time stuffing and rolling up a huge slab of meat, it may take some extra maneuvering or maybe an extra hand.
Let’s talk about what to drink with this pork belly. I would suggest a:
- medium-dry cider
- Tuscan Chianti Riserva that’s more on the acidic side
- Côtes du Rhône Villages
- crisp, acidic Riesling
- crisp, white burgundy wine with a hint of lemon on the palate.
The goal is to refresh your tastebuds in between bites. When you’re enjoying a cut of meat with more fat content you want a beverage that will help to cut through the fat and cleanse your palate. Sipping on a wine or beverage with higher acidity will help to revive your palate.
Last but not least, a hearty salad made from endives, arugula and/or radicchio, maybe some blue cheese, cranberries and pumpkin seeds will be the ideal side dish.
- 5 - 6 lb piece pork belly, ideally skin still on. 16in in length
- 1 cup bourbon*
- 1 cup stone ground mustard
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Sea salt
- 7 - 10 pears
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 6 tbsp white sugar
- 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
- 2 spring onions, sliced thin
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
- 3 tbsp flour
Prepare the pork belly by scoring the skin side in a diagonal checkerboard pattern; approximately 1 inch spacing between lines. Do not cut completely through fat or into meat. Flip pork belly over and poke meat with a fork about 1 inch apart.
In a medium bowl, mix together bourbon, stone ground mustard, smoked paprika, and ½ cup brown sugar. Reserve more than half of the marinade and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator to use for the sauce later. With the remaining marinade, rub the pork belly all over, putting on a nice thick coat. Generously season pork belly with sea salt. Place on a sheet pan and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator 12 hours up to overnight.
After marinating, remove pork belly from refrigerator and let sit out, covered, for 1-2 hours (to bring to room temperature). Remove excess marinade and pat pork belly with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. You can leave any extra stone ground mustard on the pork.
Meanwhile, core and slice 3 pears (about 1/4th inch thick). Heat vinegar, sugar, and ginger pieces in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add pears and gently simmer for 2 minutes. Remove pears from liquid and cool. Save vinegar mixture and ginger pieces, do not toss!
Preheat oven to 325°F. Position a rack on lower third of the oven.
Place the pork belly skin side down on a cutting board or leave on sheet pan. Layer the pickled pears on one edge. Carefully roll the pork belly and secure with butcher’s twine at regular intervals to hold the rolled pork together.
Cut the remaining 5-8 pears in half (amount is based on the size of your roasting pan.) Lay pears, flat side down, at the bottom of a roasting pan, tightly filling up the bottom. This will be the base to set the pork belly on.
Into roasting pan add 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, garlic cloves and ginger pieces from vinegar mixture. Place pork belly on top of pears. Lightly drizzle pork with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
Place pork belly in oven and roast for 1 hour. Rotating pan 180 degrees, check to make sure the pears at the bottom are not burning (add more water if needed) and roast for 1 more hour. Remove from oven and lightly tent with foil. Rest meat for 15 minutes before carving and serving with sauce (see below) and pears from roasting tray.
When pork belly is about 30 minutes from being done, place reserved Bourbon Mustard marinade in a small saucepan. Add ⅓ cup of reserved vinegar mixture. Simmer on medium low to cook off the bourbon and vinegar. In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoons flour together with ½ cup water to make a “slurry”. Whisk this into the sauce. Continue to whisk as sauce begins to thicken, adding a small amount of water if too thick. Once pork belly is finished roasting add a few tablespoons of the juices into the saucepan. Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency. Serve with pork belly and pears.
*I like Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, but you can easily go with something a bit cheaper.
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #designsofanykind on Instagram. We enjoy seeing what you create! With love from my kitchen to yours,