Here in Melbourne, we are in the last week of the calendar’s Spring. After complaining about the cold weather and needing to heat our home for much of the first half of November – the coldest start to the month in decades – we are suddenly in the midst of our city’s longest end-of-Spring heatwave in recorded history. Go figure!
Naturally, we are now using our Weber Q to prepare the main elements of our evening meals. Until recently, the meats we char-grill on the Weber would usually be cuts from beef, lamb or chicken, as well as prawns or calamari from time to time. But over the last year or so, we have begun to add pork, veal and quail to the mix.
Last night, we cooked ourselves some cubes of pork belly, flavoured before grilling with a spicy paste. It was delicious and here is how we did it.
As you know, pork belly has a high fat content, so we render much of that fat and enhance the texture of the meat by simmering it in a flavoured stock for an hour or so. I have previously posted the recipe for this procedure.
Once the pork has cooled, we cut it into cubes, about 3cm x 3cm square. Then we apply the paste to the surfaces of each cube.You don’t have to do this very far in advance, as it is a superficial flavouring rather than a marinade; one hour is plenty.
We set up our Weber for grilling but we place an open trivet on top of the main grill, to make it easier to manage the cubes as we cook them. Once the temperature is quite high, say, 400C, we put the pieces of pork on the trivet, with one of the meaty sides facing down. After 5 minutes under the lid, we turn each piece, some of them going skin-side down, others as dictated by gravity!?
After a further 4 to 5 minutes, with some attractive charring, the pork cubes are ready to be taken off the grill.
Here are some ‘before and after’ shots. We served them with two salads: shaved fennel & fresh orange segments with some vinaigrette dressing; and chunks of boiled, fresh beetroot dressed with a combination of sour cream, mayonnaise and grated horseradish.
Paste for flavouring pork belly to be char-grilled
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp sea salt
3-4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1-1½ tbsp sherry (or red wine) vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Leftover paste can be stored in a well-sealed container in your freezer.