[Foodie] Beer-Braised Pork Belly Tacos

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Happy Two Thousand Fourteen friends!

Can’t believe it’s already the start of a brand new year – full of anticipation, impending adventures, unforeseen challenges, and of course, a roller coaster of excitement!

Per usual Christine Juang fashion, I was thinking about all the possible things to come this year and all the things I want to accomplish and… I started freaking out. How do I cram all these plans into ONE year? Can I even do them? I thought I would have more time before I had to start thinking about that….goodness gracious. Am I pushing myself hard enough to be the best me possible? I don’t even want to think about new year resolutions…. How am I even bringing God the most glory in any of this? Am I being diligent with what God has given me? What is he going to think I can handle in 2014??? [This is seriously my thought process in the span of maybe 30 seconds.]

And then of course – God calms all my worries and anxieties with 5 simple verses.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:30-34

Be still my soul, and do not worry, for the Lord your God has all things in his hands.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Ok so. First recipe of the year – Pork Belly Tacos!!!!!

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I’ve realized that I love pork belly. Why? Because it feels like I’m eating fancy bacon. And who doesn’t love bacon?!?!!? Gosh I would put bacon in everything if I could. But yes. Pork Belly Tacos, let’s get to it!

I literally had no clue how to make my pork belly tacos as mouth watering and juicy as possible so I search the internet seas for inspiration and references, added my own kick and ta-da! Yum 🙂 I already want to make them again!!!

[Please skip to the bottom for a full recipe and directions!]

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Unfortunately if you’re not a patient cooker, this might be a little painful for you. It definitely was for me. You’ll need at least 2.5 hours of prep/cook time, which sounds a little crazy for about 2.5 minutes of eating time BUT I promise it’s worth it. To make this meat as yummy as possible, we’re going to braise them or more simply, slow-cook them, first on the stove and then in the oven.

Oh gosh what to do while you wait for TWO HOURS??

Knowing that I was about to get my grub on, I….

  1. Went for a 1.5 mile run (ugh I know I’m weak sauce.)
  2. Did all the dishes.
  3. Put away ALL my laundry (you don’t understand what a feat this is)
  4. Watched an episode of Project Runway

Not too bad! Even though I opened the oven to “check” on it in anticipation more times than I should have, they looked and smelled like perfection when I finally took them out. I couldn’t help but sneak one or two to uhhh…”check” on if they were really ready 🙂 They were.

And BAM! The pork belly was ready for PHASE TWO! Throw that pork belly onto a hot pan along with some olive oil and the braised juices from the pork until it’s nice and crisp (I always like mine a little on the crispier side!) and finally you’re done!!!!!

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Putting together a taco really is like making a masterpiece and mine always includes guacamole, onions, cilantro and in this case, some grilled peppers. And finally getting to eat this pork belly taco was well worth the wait. 🙂

What a way to end the week and to start the year! Hope you all had a great first week of the year, too!

Happy eating!

~Juang

Pork Belly Tacos

INGREDIENTS

  • One Pound of Pork Belly, Cubed
  • One Teaspoon of Chili Powder (adjust for spiciness)
  • One and One Half Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • One Teaspoon of Salt
  • One Eighth Cup of Brown Sugar
  • Two Chipotle Peppers [Optional for more of a kick]
  • One Mexican Beer [or any Brown Ale]
  • One Cup of Yellow Onion, diced
  • Three Tablespoons of Olive Oil (One for Chipotle Peppers, Two for Searing)
  • Grilled Red and Green Bell Peppers  [Optional]
  • Diced Onions and Cilantro [For toppings]

DIRECTIONS

  1. Season the pork belly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let it marinade for 10-20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. In a blender, liquefy the chipotle pepper with one tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Get a large skillet nice and hot. You’ll want to give the pork belly some room on the pan so if you have a smaller pan, try cooking the pork belly in batches.
  5. Cook the pork belly in the skillet with each piece facing down, about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Once the meat is nice and browned, transfer the pork belly to a oven-safe dish.
  7. Pour in Mexican beer until meat is just covered. Mix in chipotle mixture, chili powder, brown sugar, and diced onions. Let it braise in the oven for two hours.
  8. Once the meat is done, take it out of the oven and heat it up on a skillet with olive oil and remaining juices from the braised pork until desired crispiness!
  9. Serve with any fillings you’d like – onions, cilantro, peppers, guacamole, etc. Enjoy!!

[Note] If you don’t want to cook with alcohol, that’s totally fine (cooking is the only time I touch that stuff) because there are plenty of substitutes. Instead, try beef stock and one-fourth cup of brown sugar or one cup vinegar and one cup orange juice.

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