I haven't made a gourmet sandwich in a while so I finally decided to take it upon myself today (actually the last couple of days). Braised pork belly comes together with a bright Meyer lemon relish that is oh so satisfying. I'm not going to lie, this pork belly sandwich with meyer lemon relish is the most time-consuming one I've made yet, but it's completely worth it at the end.
Braised Pork Belly Sandwich with Meyer Lemon Relish
- 3 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 lb boneless pork belly
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
Meyer lemon relish
- zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 tablespoon shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon capers
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 4 ciabatta buns
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 large tomato sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
- Combine salt with sugar, and hot water, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Let cool, add the pork belly and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Drain the pork belly and pat dry. Combine the coriander with garlic powder, fennel, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture onto the pork belly, covering all sides except for the skin.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or braising pot over medium heat. Lightly sear the pork until golden brown on all sides. Add the white wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and continue cooking the pork in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Remove from heat and let rest for 30 minutes. Slice the pork belly.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Meyer lemon relish. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the mustard aioli. Mix stone ground mustard with mayo in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Smear each bottom bun with mustard aioli and top with arugula, sliced tomatoes, pork belly, and the Meyer lemon relish. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Like I mentioned before, this pork belly sandwich with Meyer lemon relish takes time so make sure you plan at least 24 hours in advance.
For the first day, you want to brine the pork belly in a solution of water, salt, and sugar. Why brine? The solution will penetrate the meat and will help the pork become tender and moist. Make sure you do not brine the pork for more than one day because this can make the pork very salty!
The following day, drain the brine and pat dry the pork belly. Combine the seasoning mix including coriander, garlic powder, cumin, fennel, and black pepper, and coat the meat on all sides except for the skin. You can also use a skin-less pork belly in which case, coat all sides with the spices.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or braising pot over medium heat and sear the pork belly until golden brown. You don't want the heat on high or else the spices can burn.
Add the braising liquids and bring them to a boil. If you don't like white wine, you can substitute it with chicken broth. Cover the pot and continue braising the pork in the oven until it's fork-tender.
Meanwhile, make the Meyer lemon relish. Finely chop the parsley and combine it with olive oil, Meyer zest and juice, minced shallots, garlic, capers, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. If Meyer lemons aren't in season, you can use regular lemons instead.
Remove the pork from the oven and let it cool slightly to make it easier to slice. Assemble the sandwiches with the stone mustard aioli, arugula, sliced tomatoes, pork belly, and Meyer lemon relish.
I've prepared this sandwich with many different sauces including hoisin balsamic and spicy aioli, but my favorite has to be this Meyer lemon relish. The Meyer lemon adds a tanginess that balances the fatty pork belly so well.
When sharing these sandwiches with my husband, he commented, "You can sell these. Pork belly sandwich food truck?" I'll take that compliment!
For more sandwich inspiration check out these Korean bbq beef sliders!