Gingerbread Pork Belly
This is the ultimate holiday appetizer for any meat lovers in the room. Let me just spell it out for you: crispy, roasted pork belly in a gingerbread-inspired hoisin sauce. Feeling carb-y go for a pork bun! Feeling naughty and a little nice? Sauté some veggies in pork fat and serve. You can’t go wrong with this unless you’re vegan….
Let’s cut to the chase. WTF is gingerbread pork belly? That sounds horrifying ??? Well, no. It is not horrifying. Here’s why. Gingerbread cookies are sweetened with molasses. In fact, the strongest flavors in gingerbread cookies are molasses, ginger and nutmeg. On the flip side, hoisin is a sweet, sticky sauce used in Asian cooking, and it also can contain molasses as a sweetener. Hoisin tastes like soy sauce and sugar had a spicy baby — not spicy in the “ow my mouth burns” way, but in the “oooo yasss I feel ginger hittin my nose” kind of way. For this beautiful recipe, I decided to wed the beloved hoisin and gingerbread. I spiced up my hoisin sauce with some nutmeg, cinnamon and lots of ginger. I then added soy sauce and some minced garlic to balance out the sweet spice. And that’s how you get gingerbread hoisin sauce. You’re freakin’ welcome.
My original plan was to make a pork bun with some traditional bao buns, but I could not find any near me (devastating,) so I decided to sauté some green beans and sugar snap peas in pork fat and then serve the pork belly on top. Do whatever you want with this, it’s supposed to be a happy holiday, and the only rules you have to follow are your own.
Gingerbread Pork Belly
- Roasting pan or sheet pan
- 2 1/2 lb pork belly skin on and bone-in (you can also use a cut without the bone)
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
Gingerbread Hoisin Sauce
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce *can make your own, I used pre-made with molasses in it. If you are making your own, simply add 1 tbsp molasses to yours, instead of honey or other sweeteners
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon or to taste
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg or to taste
- 1/4 cup coconut oil *can sub for sesame or vegetable oil
- 1 bunch green beans
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- Pork fat (leftover from roasting)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the gingerbread hoisin sauce, until thoroughly mixed. Pour 2 tbsp in a separate bowl and set aside. We will use this at the end for searing the pork.
- Place the pork belly onto a flat surface and dry it off with a paper towel. Put it skin side up, and score the top with a sharp knife. Slice diagonally across the pork belly (about 1/4-1/2 inch apart.) You can score it the other way as well, resulting in perfectly cubed cuts on the pork skin, but I kept it simple and went one way. The purpose of this is to help the juices infiltrate the meat, and also cook the meat faster and evenly.
- Once the pork is dry, sprinkle it liberally with salt on all sides.
- With a brush or spoon, coat the pork belly in the gingerbread hoisin rub on all sides. You can also use your hands. Make sure every inch is covered, and leave some garlic on top. (This is excluding the 2 tbsp of gingerbread hoisin that you set aside.)
- Place the pork belly skin side up onto a rack, in a roasting pan or on a sheet pan. If using a sheet pan, line it with foil, and create cupped edges so that it will catch the pork fat as it drips off of the rack.
- Roast the pork belly for 45 minutes. Flip it and roast for another 35 minutes, until the internal temp is at least 145-150.
- Let the pork belly rest 10 minutes.
- While the pork belly is resting, season another pan with some of the pork fat. Add the vegetables and sauté for 7-8 minutes, or until preferred doneness. Set them aside.
- Flip the pork belly skin side down, and find the bones on the opposite surface. Slice horizontally to remove the bones of the pork belly. Put it back on the roasting rack skin side up, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Internal temp should be about 160-170 when you are done. Let it rest another 10 minutes.
- Slice into 1-inch thick strips, across the pork belly.
- Season a skillet with the rest of the pork fat and the remaining hoisin gingerbread marinade. Sear the pork belly slices until crispy (4-5 min each side) and then remove from the heat.
- Plate on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with more sesame seeds and red chili flakes. Serve immediately!