Crispy Pork Belly Sandwiches with Meyer Lemon Relish

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You need to begin this recipe two days ahead as the pork belly goes through two brining processes: the wet brine keeps the meat nice and moist, and the dry brine contributes great flavor. The Meyer lemon relish offers a tangy finishing touch. Plus: More Pork Recipes

Crispy Pork Belly Sandwiches with Meyer Lemon Relish. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
Photo: © Antonis Achilleos
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs
Yield:
8 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless, meaty fresh pork belly, fat trimmed to 3/4 inch and scored

Wet Brine

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 quarts boiling water

  • 2 quarts ice water

Dry Brine

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 whole clove

  • 1 allspice berry

Braising Liquid

  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 celery rib, chopped

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 3 cups chicken broth

Meyer Lemon Relish

  • 1 large Meyer lemon—peeled, peel very thinly sliced

  • 1 shallot—1/2 minced, 1/2 very thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced chives

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sandwich

  • 8 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted

  • Whole-grain mustard

  • Chopped frisée

  • Meyer Lemon Relish

Directions

Make the Wet Brine

  1. In a large pot, combine the salt, sugar, bay leaves, and boiling water; stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the ice water and let cool. Add the pork belly and refrigerate overnight.

Make the Dry Brine

  1. Drain the pork belly and pat dry with paper towels. In a small skillet, combine the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin, clove, and allspice and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes; transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely.

  2. Coarsely grind the spices and rub them all over the pork belly. Transfer to a platter, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Braise the Pork Belly

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rinse the pork, scraping off most of the spices, and pat dry. Heat a large, deep ovenproof skillet until hot. Add the pork, fatty side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 minutes.

  2. Scatter the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots on either side of the pork belly and cook until softened slightly, 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart.

  3. Transfer the pork to a platter and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice in half so they will fit on the ciabatta.

Make the Relish

  1. Finely chop the lemon pulp, discarding any seeds, and transfer to a bowl. Add the lemon peel, minced and sliced shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, chives, parsley, olive oil, and crushed red pepper to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the Sandwiches

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, fry the pork slices in batches over moderately high heat, turning once, until crisp, about 4 minutes.

  2. Spread mustard on the roll bottoms and top with the sliced pork belly, frisée, and a generous dollop of Meyer Lemon Relish. Close the sandwiches, cut in half, and serve.

Make Ahead

The whole braised pork belly can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The relish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Lush Washington state Merlot.

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