PBLT on the PBC
Today's recipe is SUPER easy and makes for a great appetizer. You do want to make sure you block out time to make this, but the end result is SO amazing AND it pretty much cooks itself!
The PBLT is the Pork Belly Lettuce Tomato. It is pork belly burnt ends with a cherry tomato and romaine lettuce on a skewer. Stay with me, it isn't hard to make.
Burnt ends are usually made with the point of the brisket. In this recipe, we are using the same cooking method, just with pork belly.
The first step is you want to get your grill or smoker ready at around 275ºF. I chose to use my Pit Barrel Cooker. The Pit Barrel Cooker is known as the work horse on my grilling deck. Consistently, it will pump out some of the BEST low and slow cooks. It is the PERFECT choice for this cook also! I used lump charcoal, as well, to get that clean smoke to add another layer of flavor.
It takes about 30 minutes to get the PBC rolling and ready. During this time, you can head inside and prep the pork belly.
MOST of the time, the only pork I use is Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork out of North Carolina. I've gotten to know them over the years, and they do selective breeding and it makes some of the purest and most flavorful pork you have EVER tasted.
To prep the pork belly, I cut it into 2 inch strips. You can cut it however you like, but it will shrink in the PBC during the cook process. Once you have cut the whole pork belly into strips, cut those strips into 2 inch (whatever size you want) cubes.
Flavoring it is the best part. I like to use Kosmo's Q Rubs and Sauces. I think he has developed some of the best flavors on the market, but you can use whatever you want! For this cook, I went with the Dirty Bird Hot and the Honey Killer Bee.
I spread the cubes on a cutting board and put a liberal coating of the Dirty Bird Hot on as the first layer. Then put a lighter layer of the Honey Killer Bee. Grab the cubes and mix them all around until they are fully coated. Transfer the burnt ends to a wire rack and let them sit out for ten minutes before putting them on the smoker. Trust me, getting the meat to sweat will only make it MORE flavorful in the end.
After the meat sweats happened, take the burnt ends and put them on the smoker. Right before this, I added two chunks of hickory wood. You can do this, it never hurts. The lighter woods usually for best for pork; cherry, hickory, oak, peach, apple, etc. Put the burnt ends on the grate and let it ride for about one hour. For this recipe time and temp don't necessarily matter. It's all about feel and flavor.
After the hour, open it up and turn the burnt ends over to get some more caramelization and flavor from the fire below. The reason for having them on the wire rack is because the drippings from the fat drop on the hot coals and create a steam effect that keeps it moist and adds, yet, another layer of flavor. Once they are turned over, wait another thirty to forty-five minutes.
Take them off the smoker and transfer them to an aluminum pan. Pour your favorite bbq sauce on-top of the burnt ends. I chose the Kosmo's Q Apple Chipotle for a sweet heat. I also added a little Oak Hill Farms Hot Honey.
Mix it all together to get an even coating across the burnt ends. Put a foil top on the pan, leaving one corner exposed for more smoke to impart its flavor. Wait about 30 minutes to complete.
The wait is over, now it is time to put everything together! You take your burnt ends from the smoker, remove the foil, and place one of the pieces on a skewer. Take a cherry tomato and slide that on behind it. Finally, fold a sliced piece of romaine lettuce on add it to the bottom of the skewer. Repeat for all the burnt ends and plate.
The end result should look something like this:
Place the plate where the appetizers are and watch the pigs fly! This simple recipe really makes a fun twist on a classic summer staple. Below is the full recipe.
1. 1-3 lbs of skin on pork belly
2. 5 tbps of Kosmo's Q Dirty Bird Hot
3. 2 tips of Kosmo's Q Honey Killer Bee
4. 15oz of Kosmo's Q Apple Chipotle BBQ Sauce
5. 2 tbps of Oak Hill Farms Hot Honey
6. Wooden skewers or toothpicks
7. 1 package of vine ripe cherry tomatoes
8. 1 head of romaine lettuce
Bring your smoker up to 275ºF
Cut the pork belly into 1 to 2 inch strips, followed by cubing them into 1-2 inch cubes.
Place the burnt ends onto a wire rack and season, making sure to coat evenly.
Leave the burnt ends out at room temp, for 10 minutes after seasoning, to allow the meat to sweat.
Place on your smoker, on the wire rack, for up to 1 hour.
After 1 hour, flip the burnt ends for even cooking. Leave for another 30-45 minutes.
Remove from the wire rack and transfer into a pan. Add the BBQ sauce and hot honey. Coat them evenly. Add foil top, leaving one corner open for smoke.
Put the burnt ends back on the smoker for another 30-45 minutes.
Remove from the smoker and place one burnt end on a skewer, add a cherry tomato behind it, followed by a folded, sliced piece of romaine lettuce.
Plate, serve, and see all the smiling faces!
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