Long Road Chili: Smoked pork belly chili

Smoked Pork Belly Chili: the crown jewel of autumn

Rain has plagued your journey down the Long Road. For days, you have slogged along, some days in a light mist, others a torrent that almost obscured your hand before your face. The air carried a constant chill. The brilliantly colored leaves stood in stark contrast against a slate sky. When you finally found shelter and a warm fire, a bowl of delicious smoked pork belly chili was waiting for you. Your bones were warmed; the journey was worth it for this savory bite.

This dish is meant to be shared, as it yields over a dozen cups. It’s perfect for tailgating, or sharing with friends while sessioning some new microbrews.

Recipe Notes

I would recommend playing with the spice rubs; this was made with Dash Cunning, but you could easily substitute any of the other rubs, and it would be just as good, albeit with a different taste profile.

For the beer in this pork belly chili, I used Elysium Immortal IPA, though you could substitute just about any beer you want. Please, for the love of little apples, use good beer, preferably a local microbrew or respected brewery. Don’t subject your food, mouth, or liver, to bad beer.

This is another dish inspired by the Acquisitions Intoxicated series on Twitch (Tuesdays, 12 noon PCT). I highly recommend it.  And I believe that Jerry Holkins’ (@TychoBrahe) reaction to the dish says it all:

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Long Road Chili: Smoked pork belly chili in your belly
pork-belly-chili
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
pork-belly-chili
Instructions
  1. Cut diagonal slits through the skin on the pork belly, 1" apart, then cut intersecting slits at the same spacing so that you create an "X" pattern. Take care not to cut into the fat. This is to allow the rub to penetrate more of the meat.
  2. Cover the pork belly with the Spice Rub.
  3. Heat your smoker to 250 degrees. If your setup includes some kind of liquid pan, add 2 bottles of beer (these are over and above the beer called for in the recipe). Put the pork belly in the smoker, and add the wood of your choice, according to the smoker instructions.
  4. Smoke the pork belly until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat, and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.
While the pork belly is smoking
  1. Prepare your other ingredients.
Once the pork has completed its rest
  1. Chop the pork belly up into 1/2" chunks.
  2. In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the pork belly. Cook until the fat renders and the pork belly has browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the ground beef and ground pork. Add some salt and pepper, and cook until the meat is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  4. Add the peppers and the onions. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until onions start to become translucent and begin to brown.
  5. Add the garlic. With a spoon, push the ingredients in the pot to the sides to expose the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the beer to deglaze the pot, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits off the bottom. Redistribute the ingredients and stir. Cook until the beer has reduced by about half.
  6. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and beans. Return to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium low. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste along the way, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  7. Mix the water, masa harina, and chili powder into a thick paste.
  8. When the chili has cooked down, slowly add in the masa harnina paste. This will start tot thicken the chili.
  9. If you desire thicker chili, start adding in the corn starch 1 teaspoon at a time and stirring in, allowing to incorporate. Take your time with this, as if you add too much in, the chili can get too thick.
  10. Cut the tops off of the rolls, and carefully dig out the insides, taking care not to pierce the outside of the crust.
  11. Heat your grill to high. (If you don't have a grill handy, you can use a broiler with the shelf set to the highest placement.) Place the bread, hole side down, on the grill (or facing up if using the broiler). Toast the roll.
  12. Fill the bread bowls with chili. Add a few pieces of plucked cilantro, and a teaspoon of sour cream. Squeeze a 1/8" slice of lime onto the chili. Add cheese, if desired.
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Easy Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw is a perfect side for any barbecue, and surprisingly easy to make. It goes great as a side dish, or stacked on top of a pulled pork sandwich or hamburger.

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Easy Cole Slaw
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk the wet ingredients in a bowl. Add the cole slaw mix, and toss in the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Saint Brian’s Beer Battered Onion Rings

Beer battered onion rings, when done properly, should be crunchy on the outside, tender in the middle, and slightly sweet, as the acid has been cooked out of the vegetable. The onion itself should be hidden inside the fried batter, and the batter should neither slip off the onion at first bite, nor should it be overly thick.  And when they are done correctly, onion rings can be a divine side.

The secret is in the batter. While any beer may do, I would recommend finding a microbrew that you like, preferably something local.  Around here, that could be Victory Brewing, Sly Fox, Yards, Evil Genius (who, by the way, have some of the best names for their beer)…there’s just too many to list.

The other secret is making sure that the oil is hot enough, between 370-375 degrees F. If it’s too cool, it won’t cook the rings fast enough and you’ll end up with mushy rings. No es bueno.

Pork Recipes
Beef Recipes
Chicken Recipes
Side Dish Recipes
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Saint Brian's Onion Rings
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Peel the onions, cut into 1/2" slices, and separate.
  2. Mix the cider vinegar and 2 cups of beer in a non-reactive bowl. Add the onion. Allow to marinate for 1 hour, no longer than 2 hours. Remove the onions, and pat dry.
Cooking
  1. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in 3/4 of a cup of the beer until combined and slightly lumpy. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1.4 cup until the desired thickness is reached; the batter should fall off of the whisk in a steady stream.
  3. Heat the oil to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Pour some flour in a separate bowl, and dredge the dry onions in the flour. This will give the batter something to stick to.
  5. Add a third of the rings to the batter, and then carefully move the rings one at a time to the heated oil. BE careful not to crowd the rings, as they won't cook properly. Allow to fry for about 5 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a baking sheet with a paper towel. Remove any floating bits of batter, and continue to fry in small batches.
  6. Serve on their own as a side, or with Saint Brian's Barbecue Sauces for dipping.
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