Level of difficulty 3
Sous vide processing–beets
Preheat the sous vide bath to
183 F/84 C
Vacuum seal the beets and stage into the pre-heated sous vide bath.
Set a timer for 2 hours. When the time has elapsed remove the packaged beets from the bath and shock in iced water until they achieve 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate to 40 F/4 C until time of service.
Sous vide processing–pork belly
Lower the temperature of the bath to
135 F/57 C
Vacuum seal the pork belly and stage into the pre-heated sous vide bath. Set a timer for 24 hours.
Recommended method of shocking
Once the time has elapsed, the packages can be removed from the bath and submerged in iced water to chill. As a convenient alternative, we recommend using a siphon to remove the water from the vessel. After turning off the immersion circulator, refill the vessel with iced water–most immersion circulators will continue to measure the temperature. If the water’s temperature exceeds 70 F/21 C after fifteen minutes, repeat the cooling process. When the packages have settled at this temperature, siphon out the cold water. Remove the Lipavi rack with the pork belly packages and refrigerate at 40 F/4 C. This method saves space and allows for cold air to circulate around the packages. In the chilled state, they can be safely refrigerated for up to two weeks.
For best results, smoker/oven temperatures should range between
180 F/82 C and 225 F/107 C.
Use the method explained HERE to coat the refrigerated pork belly with the prescribed rub or your own preferred version. Load into a Lipavi steel rack and stage into the pre-heated smoker (or oven) for four hours or until the internal temperature reaches between 140 F/60 C and 165 F/74 C–whichever achieves your preferred level of crispness. The flavor of smoke will be effectively imparted and the surface of the pork will be fully caramelized/Maillardized.
While you wait for the pork belly in the smoker, remove the beets from the bags and rinse in cold water. Pat dry and remove the skin–sous vide processing makes this step easy. Use a paper or cloth towel to rub the surface of the beet and the skin will come off. Rinse again and keep dry. Beets are very “inky” and stain everything they touch–even dry/wet towels. Wash your hands well before touching the other ingredients in the recipe.
Cut the beets into 1″ squares as pictured (or other desired shapes). Stage the cut beets into a bowl and cover with cold water until service.
In a small sauce pan, combine the 0.5 cups/120 ml molasses with the 0.5 cups/120 ml white vinegar. Bring to a a steady simmer and reduce by half to 0.5 cups/120 ml. Allow to cool and stage into a squirt bottle or other appropriate container for drizzling.
Leave the root end of the Brussels sprouts intact! Holding the root end, slice thinly on the mandolin–watch your fingers and don’t try to slice it all the way to the root end. This can also be done with a sharp knife–just slice as thin as possible. Stage the sliced sprouts into a bowl, sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Do not add lemon juice or vinegar at this point or the sprouts will darken.
Cut the tomato and avocado into small dice–sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon juice to retard darkening if desired.
Slice the pork belly thick enough so that it stands up on the plate–you may have to “square” the bottom side in order to do this–trimmings become snacks for the cook!
Put a large pinch of the shaved Brussels sprouts on one side and drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice if desired. Drain the beets well and pat dry. Arrange the beets in front of the pork belly, sprinkle the avocados and tomatoes around and inside the border of the plate. Drizzle with the molasses vinegar and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Pork belly is very versatile and is amenable to many different flavor combinations and profiles–in the picture below, it is served with arugula salad with shaved broccoli stem, golden tomatoes, grilled scallions and a braised cherry.