Braised Pork Belly with Muscadine Glaze

by Mark Abernathy
Loca Luna & Red Door Restaurant, Little Rock, AR

Seves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 pound slab pork belly  
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Thai Sweet Hot Chili Sauce 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray a roasting pan with 2" sides (large enough to fit the pork belly in a single layer, or, prepare 2 pans and cut the pork belly in half) with non-stick spray and line with foil.  Score the fat sides of the belly in a diamond pattern, just until you hit the muscle/meat. Season the belly on both sides with salt and pepper and rub into the cuts. Spread the vegetables on the baking dish and lay the pork belly on top, fat side up.  Bake on top rack of the oven until the fat turns golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn it over and bake until golden brown another 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven. 

Mix together the chicken stock, orange juice, Thai sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, thyme, garlic cloves, and add to the pan. Cover the entire pan tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for two hours. Check after 1 hour, add a little water, just to cover the bottom, if the vegetables are looking dry.  After adding the water, cover tightly and return to the oven for the final 1 hour of cooking.  Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 1 ½ hours. 

Glaze

  • 1 cup orange Juice
  • ½  cup Muscadine (or raspberry) jelly
  • ¼  cup sugar
  • ¼ cup red onion diced 
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced 

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to an active simmer until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.   

Cut the pork belly into 3 inch cubes or 1” - 2” thick slices. Brush with the glaze and place on a foil lined baking sheet, fat side up.  Brush a final coat of glaze on the fat side and place under the broiler until the top starts to bubble, timing depends on your broiler, probably about 2-4 minutes.  Remove and serve over grits, greens or mashed potatoes.