with Ben Ford
source: https://chefsinsight.com/ben-ford/

Pork belly lettuce wraps w/ pickled watermelon + chili glaze

Makes 12-14 lettuce wraps
  • 2 lbs. pork belly
  • Marinade
  • ¼ c. tbsp. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ c. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. sake
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • Pickled Watermelon
  • ¼ medium watermelon, the rind including ½ inch red flesh
  • ½ c. rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ c. water
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1” knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Garnishes
  • 1 wedge pickled watermelon, sliced thin
  • 1 Persian cucumbers, sliced thin
  • ½ serrano, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • Lime wedges
  1. Make pickled watermelon.
  2. Peel the watermelon leaving the green inner rind intact. Cut the watermelon rind into 1-inch-thick slices.
  3. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, star anise, and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the watermelon rind and boil for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a container. Cool and then refrigerate.
  4. Combine all ingredients for marinade and marinate pork belly for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat smoker to 230 ℉.
  6. Smoke belly for 2 hours. (Note: If you don’t have a smoker, go straight to the next step and braise in oven for 4 hours instead of 3)
  7. Preheat oven to 275 ℉.
  8. Remove from smoker and place in a roasting pan, fat side up. Add the marinade and add mixture to the bottom of the pan. Liquid should reach ¾ of the way up the pork belly or what I like to call “gatoring”. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Braise in oven for 3 hours.
  9. Remove pork belly from pan and slice 1/2” thick and 3” long. In a hot pan or grill, sear the pork belly on both sides.
  10. Combine in large bowl, combine garnishes and toss to mix. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve: Place one piece of pork belly on each lettuce cup. Spoon chili glaze over each piece, and top with garnishes. Serve with a wedge of lime.