This is one I’m particularly happy with. Theoretically it’s summer, though having gotten drenched on my way to the corner shop makes me doubt this somewhat… so what better time than to face down the weather gods and say ‘I’m having a barbecue this weekend’.
The day we cooked this, there was a full blown storm in the morning, but the fates smiled on us, and gave us some good weather in the afternoon!
Anyway, the recipe itself was delicious, sweet, rich, and with a hint of Chinese flavour. You need to do the prep work the day before, but please trust me on this, it’s worth every moment of time at the end.
Finally, the barbecue was great, and the first team up on this blog! I did the prep work the night before, but on the day, the undisputed King o’ the Grill, my Dad, did the BBQ’ing. For those who weren’t there, it was like the first issue of World’s Finest Comics, with me as Clark Kent, and Antipathti Sr as Bruce Wayne.
1kg pork belly
2 pints chicken, or other light stock (we used rabbit)
200g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
10 black peppercorns
In a large cooking pot, add all the ingredients, save for the pork, bring to the boil and stir together.
Add the pork, bring back to the boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Place a small saucepan lid or plate on top of the pork to keep it submerged, and simmer for 2 hours.
If you have a barbecue the next day, now would be a good time to prep all your other stuff. And make damn sure you have a good summer playlist. It should include I Fought the Law by the Bobby Fuller Four, Who Am I by Beenie Man, Here Comes the Summer by The Fiery Furnaces, Alphabet Street by Prince and a whole ton of Beach Boys and Gipsy Kings. If you’re lazy, I’ll stick mine at the bottom of this recipe.
Okay. 2 hours up, set the pork aside, and when it’s cool, wrap it up til tomorrow.
Seive the juices in the pan into a fresh pan then boil hard until it’s reduced to something thick enough it leaves a sticky residue on the spoon when dipped in. There’s a cheffy French word for this. Ask Julia Child.
Put the sauce (when cool enough) into a container and set aside. You can go to bed. Or sit up drinking with your Dad, who has an uncanny ability to top up your brandy when you’re not paying attention.
So, on the day, get the pork and sauce out. The gelatin and fat in the sauce will have made a jelly. Microwave it for 30 seconds and it should return to liquid form.
Using a brush or whatever ‘s to hand, paint the thick sauce onto the pork belly. Stick it on a medium barbecue (top tip- do it like the Argentinians and slope the coals high to low from one side to the other. As if by magic, your barbecue has heat settings!) And cook it till the sauce goes slightly burnt. Turn it, paint on more sauce and keep turning it and painting for about 20 minutes.
Carve into one inch chunks and eat it in a bap, with some of the spate sauce poured over. Bask in the admiration of your peers.