Why don't more people smoke uncured pork bellies?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by stevec1584, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. I rubbed and injected a 3 lb section of belly and smoked it alongside 4 racks of ribs today. The results were nothing short of incredible. This was what I always wished my shoulder and butt meat would turn out like. Moist, flavorful, fatty and delicious. Just melt in your mouth. Good bark on the outside and tender/juicy in the middle. I made something similar to brisket burnt ends, cubed the belly chunks and sauced them late then seared it to caramelize the sauce coating. They disappeared instantly. May have been the best meat I've ever cooked, smoked or otherwise.

    Why don't more people do this? Why isn't belly more common on the competition shows and in the forums? I may never be able to make my own bacon now, because I wouldn't be able to keep the belly curing for long enough without smoking and eating it all.

    And here's some Q-View of the ribs. Had I known the belly would be so good, I would've taken pics of it. It was mostly an after thought but next time I may just focus on multiple bellies. Ribs came out great. Hit em with Grill Mates Pork rub then smoked with apple wood chunks in my ECB using the 3-2-1, foiling with brown sugar and maple butter. Maple butter + pork = heaven.

  2. People do smoke them uncured & they are really good - I like it sliced for sammiches  [​IMG]   I think it's just hard to give up much if any belly for that once you get a taste of home cured & smoked bacon  [​IMG]    so you don't hear about it as much...
  3. Hello Steve.  I understand your love of pork belly.  My question is : with all that wonderful pork fat why do you find the need to inject?  Am I missing a step here?    Keep Smokin!

  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    KC, evening.... I think he wanted to try a different flavor profile.....  Dave
  5. Truth be told, I'm still a newb, and I just picked up my injector last weekend. So injecting was more trying out my new gear than anything. I just figured I'd try stabbing it with some good tangy vinegar sauce thinned with apple juice and see what happened. Since I couldn't really inject the ribs, the belly was my only option. And Dave is right, I wanted to see what the injection might do for the flavor profile since I know apple juice, vinegar sauce and pork are usually a great combination.

    My ribs were delicious flavor wise, but the texture could use a little tweaking. They were falling off tender in some places, and I was shooting more for the competition style, on the bone but still super tender, not falling off. The edges on the outermost ribs on my stand-up rib rack got a little overcooked too, and dried out a bit as a result. My ECB ran up to 300 for periods as I'm still sorting out my Minion Method and temperature control tactics. All in all, a successful smoke though. I got great color and savory delicious bark even with foiling. Everyone loved all the meats and I had a good time prepping the meats, tending the fire, working the 3-2-1 process and savoring the results. My fire/temp control was far more effective than previous smokes and I only had to reup on charcoal once through a 7 hour cook using the Minion and a bottomless soup can in the middle.
  6. It's also great with the belly still attached to the ribs.

  7. That does sound fantastic. If I could source something like that I'd love to give it a shot. I picked up my ribs and belly side by side in the case at a local Chinese grocery. The large chain grocery stores around my area didn't even have spare rib racks in stock, let alone pork belly. So I go the ethnic market route and am happy with what I can get. The store seems to sell a high volume to the immigrant population and everything looks super fresh so I can't complain.
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bellies make great Q. The Belly meat has lots of fat and connective tissue so it is in fact Boston Butt X10. The problem is, only hardcore Pork Lovers will eat it. So many people have been or are being raised to eat Lean or Fat free, with the exception of a few slices of crispy Bacon during Sunday Breakfast, that few are willing to touch it. It is impractical to smoke off a 5Lb half Belly if you are the only one that enjoys the richness. My family are big time Pork lovers but shy away from or trim visible Fat from any meat with the exception of myself. My wife will eat the Crispy Fat of good Bark or on the edge of a grilled steak but that's it for us...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  10. You know what they say about great minds I guess? Sorry I missed your thread - I would've added my two cents. Came in wondering about it after cooking all day and sat down to upload Q-View and figured I'd throw it out there in a thread and see what the crew thought. At any rate, if you haven't tried it, I highly recommend!
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm thinkin like Martin?

    I usually leave the diaphragm in my ribs.

    Why not the ribs and belly left intact?

    Grease it up and go to bed with a smile!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. ballagh

    ballagh Smoking Fanatic

    It was on of the featured meats on pitmasters last week.

    Sent from my Sony Xperia Z
  13. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very popular here,often twice cooked.Poached,then cooled ,pressed,cut & hard fried. It's a great cut of pork however you cook it. Clarissa just posted a great belly dish over in nose to tail.
    I like it with fennel seed,cbp ,garlic,lemon zest,rosemary but there's a whole bunch of ways to tackle it.
  14. Ahh!  I understand now.  Experimenting!  Well that can only lead to some mighty fine eats!  That's how we find new ideas about what and how to smoke.  And pork belly, with all that fat is a great cut to play with.  Keep at it my friend and keep sending the results.

    Keep Smokin!

  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I took a hunk of Belly from the last round of Bacon production and made it Chinese Red Cooked style. It gets braised with soy lots of sugar and some spices like cinnamon, star anise and a few others. after 3-4 hours it is delicious and the skin, meat and fat are butter soft and the braising liquid sticks your lips together from all the gelatin. Most of the family loved the flavor but did not care for the soft texture. We deep fried most of it and more liked it crisped up but ate only the lean meat. Additionally, after frying so much of the original weight was rendered that there was not much left. Bottom line if you are not totally into the Fat, super tender meat and overall soft textures, this dish is a waste of time and belly meat. I will absolutely make it again but have to find the a group that will appreciate the glorious Chinese, " Five Layers of Heaven."...JJ

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