By Tom Mylan
2 lb. fresh pork belly
2 cups water
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light soy sauce
Four 1/2″-thick slices fresh ginger (unpeeled)
4 dried chilies de árbol
3 black peppercorns
2 star anise
3 garlic cloves
1 package hot dog buns
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, roughly chopped
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Step 2: Start by taking your chunk of pork belly and, using a long chef’s knife or the equivalent, slice it into 1″-thick slices as evenly as you can. Use long even strokes and don’t press down on the knife — allow the edge to do the work for you: this may take slightly longer, but the cuts will be much more even.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, combine the water, red wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, chilies, peppercorns, star anise, and garlic.
Step 4: Put the pork belly slices in a square cake pan or the like, pour the marinade over them, and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Then remove the foil and raise the temperature of the oven to 350°F. Cook for about another 40 minutes, giving everything a stir every 8 to 10 minutes or so. What you’re doing here is rendering the fat and softening up the pork belly in the first hour, then reducing the braising liquid so it glazes the pork slices and turns them a groovy reddish colour at the end. Continue to cook and stir until the pork has the reddish colour you’re after.
Step 5: Remove the pieces of pork belly using a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon and place them directly into your waiting hot dog buns. Garnish with hoisin and chili sauce, scallions and cilantro. Eat immediately.
Reprinted with permission from Tom Mylan’s The Meat Hook Meat Book (2014 Artisan).