After the last few posts on my blog, I noticed the absence of a meat post. My man-belly craved it, I have a hunch you’re looking for meat and I thought that maybe some grilled pork belly would shake some sense into those abstaining from meat. I wrote last year about how many Greeks love to grill pork belly.
Pork belly is exactly that, the meat that’s located on the underside of the pig, the belly. Most of us have had this meat in its other form – bacon. Pork belly has to be one of the tastiest cuts of pork, might have to do with the fat content (ya think?). Last year I went bonkers by just simply grilling the pork belly and finishing with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and dried Greek oregano. For those that have herb gardens, you know that the oregano has sprouted and it’s perfectly find to use but save some for drying. Around mid-July, I will snip 2/3 of the oregano, tie and hang to dry in my basement and then rub the dry leaves from the stems and place in a jar for future uses.
The key to any good sandwich is good bread. Think about it. If you could afford to buy some real Kobe or Wagyu beef (expensive but good), grind it yourself and make your own hamburger, paired it with your condiments and some quality aged cheese and then only to slap it in between a couple of slices of white slice bread, wouldn’t that burger suck? Pick good bread for your sandwich. For these grilled pork belly and Halloumi sandwiches, I halved some homemade baguettes, lightly toasted them on the grill and inserted the juicy pork belly and grilled Halloumi.
Ahhhh yes, Halloumi cheese. The squeaky cheese (it squeaks when you bite into it). This remarkable cheese from Cyprus holds-up well over heat and it’s wonderful when fried, roasted or grilled. Many peoples love and produce Halloumi but the PDO (protected designation of origin) stuff comes from Cyprus. A Greek or middle-eastern food mart will sure offer Halloumi on their shelves. If that’s not an option and you live in the US, Christos Marketplace will mail-order cheeses to you!
My friend Tobias is hosting a Food Event and this time the island of Cyprus takes the stage. This dish with the grilled Halloumi Cheese from Cyprus fits the bill! Tobias is a personal chef who lives In Greece and blogs almost daily about his delicious food and travel experiences from Greece and abroad. Visit Tobias Cooks! and explore many of his delicious offerings.
This sandwich needs little by way of condiments…I chose crisp Romaine lettuce leaves and ripe, sweet tomatoes – nothing else. The keys to this most-satisfying sandwich are the Halloumi, the good bread and the pork belly. For this instance, I sliced the pork belly (contra), along the short side of the belly (opposite side of slicing it to form bacon slices). I left the fat and the skin on as most of the fat will render and the texture of tender pork meat, buttery thin layer of fat and the crisp, rendered skin are a combo too good to deny.
When grilling pork belly, you have to use medium-high heat on your grill and you MUST keep a watchful on them as flare-ups can and will occur. Chicken on the grill will easily flare-up so just think what pork belly will do if you wander off to the kitchen or go sit by the cooler and have a beer with the boys. Stick to your posting at the grill, watch over your pork belly and you’ll be rewarded with one of the juiciest grilled meats one can have. So simple, kinds decadent but OH so delish!
Grilled Pork Belly and Halloumi Sandwich
2-3 slices of thick-cut pork belly
coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh-squeezed lemon juice
two slices of Halloumi cheese (1/4 inch thick)
Some good baguette bread
Romaine lettuce leaves
- Pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill and you’re looking for a medium-high heat (be able to count to five when placing your hand over the heat). Using a sharp knife, cut your pork belly into 1/2 inch slices off the short side of the slab of meat. Season both sides with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Brush the grill surface well, ensure there is not residue from your previous grill session. Place your slices of pork belly on your medium-high grill and grill each side for about 6 minutes or until crisp and brown. Don’t be afraid to move your pork belly to another part of the grill if a flare-up occurs, resume grilling.
- After you have grilled your pork belly, place off to the side of your grill and keep warm. Now is also a good time to slice open your baguette and lightly toast it on the grill. Now place your slices of Halloumi cheese on the grill and sear for 1 1/2 minutes a side. Remove the grilled Halloumi, baguette and gather your pork belly and it’s time for assembly.
- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your pork belly and sprinkle some dried Greek oregano over the meat. If there are any juices from the pork in the platter, brush your baguettes with them. Place the Romaine leaves on the bottom, followed by your grilled pork belly and then the slices of grilled Halloumi. Top with the slices of tomato, sprinkle some salt on the tomatoes and grab on to your sandwich, open your mouth wide and enjoy this fabulously easy yet delicious sandwich.
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