· Food For Thought
Recipe of the Month: Smoked Pork Belly Bánh Mì - Inspired by Vietnamese Bánh Mì
If you haven't tried Vietnamese bánh mì sub sandwiches, you're missing out. Whether you've tried it or not, you'll definitely love this Smoked Pork Belly Bánh Mì Recipe. Although pork belly is common with traditional bánh mì, the Western-styled smoked pork belly provides a delicious, smoky twist to the Vietnamese sandwich.
A brief history of bánh mì sandwiches: it uses French baguettes. These baguettes were once only eaten with butter and a platter of meat or cheese by the French and Vietnamese - it was not intended to be eaten in the form of a sandwich. In 1954, after the French defeat in the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ, the French could no longer enforce their strict cultural traditions and cuisine onto the Vietnamese people. As a result, Vietnamese people began putting the "side" ingredients in between the bread and thus, the bánh mì sandwich was born. Since then, the food has evolved and spread across the world as a favourable budget- and calorie-friendly meal.
As the ingredients need a 12 hour preparation time, we advise you read through the recipe and get started a day before you actually want to eat the bánh mì.
- 2 lb. pork belly with the skin off, sliced into 2” strips.
- 5 Tbsp. of Kansas City’s Cowtown – The Squeal Hog Rub
- 5 Tbsp. of Dirty Bird Rub by Kosmos Q
- 1/3 cup apple juice
- 1/3 cup Kosmos Q Sticky Asian Rib Glaze
Ingredients for Marinade:
- 1 cup Bullhead Barbecue Sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup Vietnamese fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Kosmos Q Sticky Asian Rib Glaze
- Juice of 1 lime
Ingredients for Pickled Vegetables:
- 1 Carrot, peeled and julienned
- 4 oz. daikon, peeled and julienned (1/4 of full daikon)
- ¾ Cucumber and julienned or 3 mini cucumbers
- 1 Jalapeno seeded (or suit to taste) and sliced in strips
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp hickory smoked salt
Ingredients for Creamy Cilantro Lime Sriracha Mayo
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha or Huy Fong Fresh Chili Garlic Sauce
- ¼ cup Cilantro (packed)
- 1 Lime, Juiced (fresh squeezed)
- ½ tsp Salt
- Crushed Garlic (to your liking)
Directions for Creamy Cilantro Lime Sriracha Mayo:
STEP 1: Get your handy dandy food processor or blender and combine all the ingredients. Make sure you're only using the ingredients for the Creamy Cilantro Lime Sriracha Mayo - don't be that person that tries to stuff your baguette into the blender.
STEP 2: Blend it all up until you get a creamy and aromatic mix.
STEP 3: Place the delicious concoction in a squeeze bottle or container and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight. Feel free to make extra because you can use this on other dishes on another day.
Directions for Marinade:
STEP 1: Combine the Bullhead Barbecue Sauce, soy sauce, Vietnamese fish sauce, Kosmos Q Rib Glaze, and lime juice. Whisk it until you get a nicely blended homogenous mixture
STEP 2: Place the pork belly in a large sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the pork and massage the marinade into it through the bag.
STEP 3: Squeeze out the air and place the pork belly in the refrigerator and let it marinate overnight for up to 12 hours.
Directions for Pickled Vegetables:
STEP 1: Chop up all the vegetables julienne style and set it aside for now
STEP 2: Whisk the salt and sugar into the warm water until it's dissolved. then, add the rice vinegar and the white wine vinegar to the liquid.
STEP 3: Pour the pickling liquid over the carrots, cucumber, jalapeno, shallot, and daikon, in a sealable container or jar.
STEP 4: Make sure the vegetables are totally submerged in the liquid. Make sure the container or jar you use is tightly sealed.
STEP 5: Refrigerate overnight while you fight the temptation to give it a taste.
This is the moment you've all been waiting for. Now that you've got all the ingredients prepared, let's get to the best part - cooking that beautiful pork belly.
STEP 1: Get your smoker or barbecue up to 300°F while you contain your excitement.
STEP 2: Go ahead and remove that pork belly from the marinade and leave the excess marinade in the bag.
STEP 3: Cut the slabs of pork belly into cubes that are about 1 1/2" thick on each side.
STEP 4: Season the cubes in The Squeal Hog Rub by Kansas City’s Cowtown and Dirty Bird Rub by Kosmos Q. Make sure every bit of the pork belly is covered - there's no such thing as being too generous with the rubs here.
STEP 5: Neatly place the pork belly cubes onto a grilling rack - try to not have them touching each other too much.
STEP 6: Transfer the whole thing over to your smoker or grill. Be careful and watch your step - this is not a time for butter fingers.
STEP 7: Smoke the pork belly until they reach an internal temperature of 200°F. This will take about two to three hours so feel free to crack a drink or take a nap while you wait.
STEP 8: Remove the rack of pork belly from the grill and place the cubes into a shallow pan. Next, add apple juice and Sticky Asian Rib Glaze all over the cubes and mix it all up without accidentally getting some of your drool in there.
STEP 9: Cover the pan full of cubed deliciousness with foil and cook it until the cubes reach an internal temperature of 165°F. This should take about another 30 to 45 minutes or so. Be sure you're keeping track of the temperature this time - so put that drink down for now and whip out your trusty Bluetooth Barbecue Brain 2.0 or any other thermometer that has probes.
Side note: you don't necessarily need a thermometer with probes, but a probe thermometer with Bluetooth connectivity is recommended for best results - the last thing you want to do here is to burn your pork belly on the last step of making the best sandwich you'll ever taste.
STEP 9: While you wait for those cubes to get up to temperature, take your other ingredients out of the fridge and get ready for assembly.
STEP 1: Slice your baguette open horizontally - make sure you leave the bun hinged on one side. Feel free to lightly toast the bun as well.
STEP 2: Now that you've taken your smoked pork belly off the grill, add some of those chunks of meat candy into your bun.
STEP 3: Top with the picked vegetables you prepared earlier, spread evenly across the entire sandwich. To avoid a soggy bun, shake off some of the liquid before you add the vegetables.
STEP 3: Drizzle that creamy cilantro lime sriracha mayo all over the top of the pickled vegetables. If you prefer, you can also spread this sauce on your bun before placing the pork and vegetables in.
STEP 4: Lastly, top it off with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
STEP 5: Enjoy and remember napkins - you might be in for a deliciously messy ride.
Recommendations to Try Out:
- Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Smoked Beef Wellington
- Cowboy Compound Butter - you can try spreading some of this on your bánh mì as well.
Recipe written by barbecue enthusiast Andrew Plaza. Follow him on Instagram for more barbecue goodness by clicking here.