A Blas na hEireann Gold award winner 2016, this rub straight from the award-winning restaurant, smokehouse and microbrewery of the same name in Cork City is a combination of salt, pepper, sugar, herbs and spices and can be used to flavour meat in any dish. Unlike a marinade, the dry rub forms a tasty crust on the exterior of the meat when grilled. If grilled, the sugar will caramelize and form a crust to seal in all the flavor and juices. Just about any meat can be rubbed before going on the grill or in the oven.
For this recipe, substitute pork or beef ribs, or any cut of fatty meat you like!
Ingredients:500g piece of pork belly
Around 6 heaped tablespoons of Elbow Lane Smokehouse Dry Rub
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon honey (or sugar, or maple syrup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1. Diagonally slice half cm cuts 1cm apart down the skin of the pork belly (skip this step if you aren’t using pork belly) - these slits will help get flavour into the meat and aid in making the crackling later on.
2. Massage the dry rub into the meat all over- get your hands right in there, ensuring the meat is thoroughly coated. Be generous with the rub. If you don't like to handle raw meat, pop the pork and dry rub into a freezer bag or something similar and get to work rubbing from the other side of the plastic.
3. Wash your hands, lots of hot water and soap. Leaving aside meat poisoning, you don't want to dry rub your eyeball accidentally later on.
4. Leave the pork to marinade in the dry rub overnight or at least for an hour in the refrigerator- the longer the better.
5. Next day (or later) make up the braising liquid by adding all of the ingredients to a pot, heating gently to melt the honey/sugar. Try not to lose too much of the the liquid to evaporation.
6. Take the pork out of the refrigerator and wrap up in good size piece of aluminium foil (to hold the braising liquid), sealing across the top where the foil meets, leaving one of the two sides open.
7. Transfer the aluminium wrapped meat onto a baking tray, pour in the braising liquid slowly and carefully. Close up the open end of the foil wrap, ensuring the entire piece of pork is now sealed in and there are no leaks.
8. Place in an oven preheated to only 90°C, slow cook for approximately 3 hours.
9. When the time is up, carefully remove the pork from the aluminium foil being careful to not spill the braising liquid. Don't burn yourself!
10. Pour the beautiful braising liquid into a saucepan and put over high heat to reduce it by half. This should take about 15 min- it's nearly done when the sauce is bubbling like caramel. notice this happening leave over the heat for another 2 minutes.
11. If you went with pork belly, use a sharp knife to slice off the fat and the skin from the meat- brush the reduced sauce all over both the pork skin and meat.
12. This is the crispy part. Place both meat and skin piece a grill on full heat for around 10 minutes. watching like a hawk to make sure nothing burns.
13. Every few minutes, brush down both pieces with your reduced sauce. Turn the meat regularly but keep the crackling piece facing skin side up. You want this to dry out so it turns into crackling.
14. You may have to turn the heat of the grill down and leave it in for longer than the piece of meat to get desired result. It is done once you notice the skin has started to bubble all over. Leave to rest for a few minutes, this will allow it to crisp up.
15. If you went with ribs or another piece of meat that doesn't involve crackling, same story, brush down with your sauce and place under a hot grill for a short time, making sure they don't burn. Or barbecue!
16. Slice up the meat and crackling and serve with any sauce left over! Nom nom nom.