Braised and Charred Black Currant Pork Belly Recipe

Sweet and savory come together to showcase pork belly, the hog’s most trendy and flavorful cut.

From "Hog"
June 2015

  • Black Currant Pork Belly
    This recipe combines flavors of dark sweet berries, anise, pepper, citrus and of course, the rich salinity of pork belly.
    Photo by Paul Winch-Furness
  • Hog
    "Hog" covers every cut imaginable and every branch of pork cooking, including slow-cooking, one-pot suppers, weekend roasts, fresh and flavorful salads, breakfasts, sausages, hams, bacon and smoking.
    Cover courtesy Octopus Publishing
  • Black Currant Pork Belly
  • Hog

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Hog (Octopus Publishing, 2015), is a 352-page love letter to all things porcine, featuring more than 150 proper pork recipes from the snout to the squeak. Author Richard H. Turner, Hawksmoor executive chef and founder of Meatopia UK, is a man who loves and respects pigs deeply. Turner provides industry expertise and features guest contributions from a host of international chefs and cooks. With features on everything from the most relevant of the 200 breeds developed to pastoral piggery, butchery, buying pork and more, everything you could possibly want in a pork cookbook is here.


• 1¾ cups cassis
• scant 1 cup water
• 1 onion, quartered
• 3 garlic cloves, halved
• 1 strip of lemon peel, about ¾ inch wide and 3 inches long
• 8 peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 3 strong licorice candies, either hard or chewy, or 2 teaspoons licorice syrup
• good, fatty pork belly weighing 3¼ to 3¾ pounds, rind removed
• 2 cups frozen black currants
• 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons mustard powder
• plenty of sea salt flakes

To serve
• salad leaves
• lemon
• red wine vinegar
• sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
• olive oil
• boiled potatoes
• Dijon mustard
• capers
• butter
• red onion


The pork belly was a present for a weekend invitation and the bottle of cassis happened to have been rolling around in the trunk of my car for quite some time. My sister’s freezer was crammed with black currants and her kitchen has a large inglenook fireplace. Given the choice I would always prefer to cook over wood than on a stove. So there you have it! Good things come from a little snoop around in the freezer, a quick scout of the surroundings, and a vague knowledge of what lurks in a messy car.

1.Pour the cassis and water into a large saucepan and lay the pork belly in it. Around the pork add the onion, garlic, lemon peel, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and licorice.

2.Put the pan on the stove and bring the liquid up to a gentle wobble, and then cover the pan with some doubled-over foil. Close it up around the edges, leaving one or two little airholes here or there. This will allow the meat to steam while bringing up the temperature to a simmer. Cook the pork like this for 2 to 2½ hours. It should be tender to a deep prod with a knife, but on no account should it be falling apart. Remove the meat from the pan and let cool. The sauce should be the consistency of cough medicine. Pour the frozen black currants into the pan, bring the sauce back to a simmer, and, when hot, press all the currants with a potato masher.

3.Put the onion quarters from the sauce into a nonreactive bowl and press the rest of the sauce through a sieve on top of the onions. Stir in the vinegar and let cool.

4.Light the charcoal on your barbecue—only when the embers appear whitish gray and orange are they ready to cook on.

5.In the meantime, divide the pork into 2 pieces. Scatter the mustard over your work surface along with plenty of salt. Roll the pork in it.

6.Using a pastry brush or a new paintbrush, slap the black currant lacquer over one side of each piece of pork and lay it, painted-side down, over the coals. Paint the unpainted side now. Slap some around the edges and ends too. When the side that’s cooking appears to be blistered and charring, turn it over and brush with more sauce.

7.Repeat the brushing and turning stages until all of the sauce has been used up. Occasionally give the pork another good sprinkle of salt. Remember, too, that the sides of the pork will need attention with painting and charring, so stand them on their narrow sides to do so.

All in all, the 2 pieces of belly want to cook for about 20 minutes over the embers, and by the time they are ready they should have built up many layers of sticky, charred, crusty, oozy, and glistening deliciousness.

Very good eaten with a salad of mustardy leaves, which you have sharply dressed with lemon, red wine vinegar, salt, and oil. I also like to accompany the pork with boiled potatoes, cooked to the point that they are crumbly at the edges, then mixed with Dijon mustard, capers, butter, minced raw red onion, salt, and pepper.

More from Hog:

Asian-Style Pork Rib Recipe
Bacon Salt Recipe

Reprinted with permission from Hog: Proper Pork Recipes from the Snout to the Squeak by Richard H. Turner and published by Octopus Publishing, 2015.

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