Barbecued Pork Belly with Filfelchuma and Pineapple Salsa - Josh Katz

London based chef Josh Katz is a protégé of Yotam Ottolenghi and specialises in Middle Eastern and North Africa flavours and cooking techniques. 

Here he guides us through his Barbecued Pork Belly recipe using the Crane C6 griddle pan.

Ingredients

Brine

  • 500ml just-boiled water, plus 8 litres water
  • 600g table salt
  • 400g caster sugar

Pork Belly

  • 1 x 4–4.5kg pork belly, boned
  • 200g Pork Rub
  • 4–5 Turkish chilli peppers
  • 2 large onions, sliced into 2cm rounds
  • 150ml runny honey
  • 300ml water
  • 100ml white wine
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp Filfelchuma
  • ½ bunch of thyme

Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • 100g sugar
  • 80ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 4–5 spring onions, green parts only
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

For The Brine

In a container large enough to hold the pork belly (a saucepan works well), add the salt to the hot water and stir to dissolve, forming a sludge-like consistency. Top up with the remaining water, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Submerge the pork belly in the brine and leave in the fridge overnight.

To Cook The Pork belly

Preheat the oven to 130°C.

Remove the pork belly from the brine and pat dry. Score both sides of the belly with a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern, up to 0.5cm deep. Rub the pork all over generously with the rub.

Scatter the chilli peppers into a roasting tray or casserole dish large enough to accommodate the pork belly, and lay the onion slices as a bed upon which the pork will sit. Transfer the pork, skin-side down, on top of the onion and drizzle half the honey directly over it and the remaining half into the pan. Add the water and white wine, followed by the bay leaves and filfelchuma. Throw the thyme over the pork and cover the pan tightly with a double layer of tin foil, making sure to crimp the foil along the edge of the roasting tray. Transfer the pork to the oven and cook for 2 hours, basting periodically with the pan juices, before turning the pork over to cook for a further 3 hours, until tender and all but pulling apart with the lightest of pressure.

Once cooked, carefully lift the pork from the roasting tray and transfer it to rest on a cooling rack. Strain the cooking liquor through a fine sieve into a heavy-based saucepan. Place over high heat and simmer to reduce to a thickened sauce with a glaze-like consistency thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Cool and refrigerate.

Wrap the pork belly in clingfilm and return it to the cooling rack, set over a shallow tray, pressed with a heavy weight overnight in the refrigerator. I like to use another roasting tray filled with water as a press, but heavy tins should also work just fine.

The next day, take the pork belly out of the fridge and allow it to come back to room temperature. Set a barbecue up for single-zone direct grilling over medium-high heat.

For the Pineapple salsa

Roll the pineapple in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the pineapple directly over hot embers, until well charred all over. Remove from the grill and hack into rough pieces.

Combine the sugar, vinegar and orange juice in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, cayenne and cumin as well as the pineapple chunks, and continue to cook over low heat for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened. The salsa should be quite dry. Season with salt to taste and leave to cool a little. Fold the spring onion greens and coriander through the mix once nearly cool.  

Combine the sugar, vinegar and orange juice in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, cayenne and cumin as well as the pineapple chunks, and continue to cook over low heat for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened. The salsa should be quite dry. Season with salt to taste and leave to cool a little. Fold the spring onion greens and coriander through the mix once nearly cool.

To Finish the Pork Belly

Slice the pork into 2.5cm thick slabs. Reheat the glaze. Grill the pork belly slices on both sides, brushing continually and generously with the glaze until well charred and warmed through.

To Serve

Serve the pork accompanied with some filfelchuma, pineapple salsa and kebab bread.

Recipe from Berber & Q by Josh Katz (Penguin Randon House).