If you are wanting to try something different than the same ol’ barbecued pulled pork (which BTW, is always delicious), you are going to want to give this a try. And truly, with the same amount of time and effort that it takes to make pulled pork, you can sink your teeth into one of these truly delectable “hot dogs”.
If you don’t already know, pork belly is what bacon is made from – only it’s not cured. Slow roasting with indirect heat renders the meat soft, succulent and rich in pork goodness. Leaving the skin on give the added textural bonus of crispy cracklins (think pork rinds). But wait! – once the pork belly is cooked, I slice it into thick strips and grill them over direct heat to crisp up even more and get some smoky char flavor going and then slather the slices with barbecue sauce and serve them on a soft hot dog bun topped with a vinegary Jalapeño BBQ Slaw! Yeah, baby!
For convenience and keeping the tailgater in mind, I first grill roast the pork belly and then cool it down in the refrigerator. This makes the meat easier to slice and transport if your having a party or transporting to another location to finish on the grill. Believe me, you’re gonna want rock this out to impress some peeps. 🙂
Pork Belly “Hot Dogs” with Jalapeño BBQ Slaw
makes 10 to 12 servings
One 4 to 5 pound pork belly with skin left on
1/3 to 1/2 cup barbecue rub, (I used Bull All-Purpose Rub)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 head celery, chopped into 3-inch pieces
2 sweet onions, chopped into chunks
2 to 3 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups sweet & spicy barbecue sauce, (I used Bull Snortin’ Hot BBQ Sauce)
3 tablespoons pan dripping from pork belly
Hot dog or sausage buns
Jalapeño BBQ Slaw, (recipe follows)
Indirect heat followed by direct heat grilling
Trim the pork belly to as much as a rectangle as possible. Note the direction the “bacon” is running and, using a very sharp knife or even an Exacto blade or box cutter, score the skin the same direction every 1/4- to 1/2-inch. This will help render the fat and crisp the skin to get that delicious cracklin.
Sprinkle rub liberally over the bottom and top being sure to get it into all the grooves. Drizzle the skin side with olive oil. It’s good to go at this point, but to let those spices permeate the meat, wrap with cling film and cure in the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.
Set up grill for indirect heat and let it get as hot as it can – 450ºF to 550ºF (I actually remove the heat shields over the lit burners). You want it super hot to start those cracklins a-cracklin’!
Toss together the celery and onions in a roasting pan and place the belly skin-side up over the vegetables. Place the pan over the unlit burners and pour in the apple cider. Close the lid and cook for 25 minutes. (it will take a few minutes for the inside of the grill to get that hot again). After 25 minutes, reduce the temperature and stabilize the grill to 300ºF to 325ºF. Let the belly grill-roast for another 2 hours. NOTE: This can be done in the oven to this point, if desired.
Transfer the pork belly to a cutting board, tent with foil, and cool to room temperature. Note: You can continue with the recipe from this point, but I like to refrigerate the belly overnight to make portioning and grilling the slices a bit easier.
Stir together the barbecue sauce with 3 tablespoons of pan drippings; set aside until ready to use.
Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Brush and oil the grates and Have a squirt bottle of water on hand in case of flare-ups… there will be flare-ups!
Slice the pork belly along the score marks into 1/2- to 1-inch thick pieces. Place slices on the grill for 2 minutes, flip and brush with barbecue sauce; repeat this a couple times.
This slaw is slightly sweet, kinda spicy and vinegary – I like the vinegar aspect as it compliments and helps cut through the richness of the pork belly. If it is too vinegary for your liking, add a little more sugar and a little more olive oil.
Jalapeño BBQ Slaw
One 14-ounce bag tri-colored slaw mix (about 5 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin slivers
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños (nacho rings)
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons juice from the pickled jalapeño jar
3 tablespoons sugar, plus more if desired
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Add cole slaw mix, onion slivers, and chopped jalapeño slices to a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce, vinegar, jalapeño juice, and sugar. Slow whisk in the olive oil. Pour over slaw mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!