Beer Braised Pork Belly & Rhubard BBQ Sauce

BearPaw Catering makes it’s first splash with a little bridal shower for our dear friends Mindy & Bryan.  They’re gettin hitched this summer, so no better time than too try out a few tasty morsels.  My menu was inspired, as always, by selecting a few Colorado treats; Pheasant Eggs from Louviere Farms,  Fresh Walleye and Rhubarb – spring is great for Rhubarb!

Key ingredients in the basket – the menu takes shape;  Poached Pheasant Egg on Tequila Cured Copper River Salmon, Beer Braised Pork Belly with Rhubard BBQ and  a simple Fried Walleye on Cucumber Napa Slaw!

We’ll put our sites on Beer Braised Pork Belly with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce today!

Beer Braised Pork Belly
Pork Belly with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

This is a two day affair; day one’s all focused on dressing the pork belly for it’s big day. Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 2-4 lbs of pork belly, skin on ( I keep it in one big piece – but that takes a nice sized Dutch Oven.  Cut into large pieces if needed)
  • 3 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • Couple of local brews – I used FCB Chocolate Stout from Fort Collins Colorado

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and rub it all over each side of your pork belly. Place in container and slowly add the brews.  The liquid should reach just below the top of the belly (as any good brew will do!).  Seal it and store in the fridge for a day or two.  On day two (or three), it’s time to walk this bad boy down the aisle to an oven for a nice long 3 or 4 hour braise.  Take the pork belly out of the refrigerator, remove from marinade, set aside – DON’T RINSE IT!!  Season all the pork with salt and pepper, on all sides. Gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps oil (canola or olive)
  • 2 to 3 carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 2 to 3 celery ribs, cleaned and diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, large dice
  • 2 bay leafs
  • Small bunch of oregano
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 more of your favorite brews

A Dutch Oven’s ideal, but any large pot will do.  Just remember – Don’t stuff the pot – leave a little room for it too breath!  Place it on a burner and heat, add the oil, carrots, onions, and celery, sweat ’em off a bit.   No burning the veggies!  Next add the brew, raise the heat to a medium, high heat.  Let this cook for about 15 minutes, reduce the beer and concentrate some amazing flavor.

Time to place the pork belly, skin side up in the Dutch Oven on top of all the veggies and brew.  Press a few peppercorns in the top, toss in the bay leaves, cilantro and cover with the chicken stock.  Put the belly in a preheated 275 degree oven for 3 hours.  Before and after will look something like this….

While that’s braising – let’s whip up some Rhubarb BBQ Sauce!

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Spring time in the Rockies; Rhubarb’s popin up everywhere!  This tangy, sweet & spicy treat is perfect for pork & poultry.  Prep and cook times are equal at 30 minutes each.

Gather the following ingredients

  • 2 to 3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 cup  brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup black-strap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • few dashes of hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup ginger root


In a pan, bring the rhubarb and water to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer  for 5-6 minutes or until the rhubarb is fork tender. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.  Take the cooled rhubarb mixture and blend using a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside.

Next – saute onion in oil until tender, add garlic; saute 1 minute.  Add all but the ginger root – we have a bit of a trick for this ingredient! Fold in the rhubarb puree until blended.

For the ginger root – wrap the chopped root in a small piece of cheese cloth and tie off.  We want the essence of the ginger to help the sauce – but we want to remove it before use!

Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat to LOW – simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.  Watch the volume as it might cook down a bit – if needed – you can add a little water.  Use this like any BBQ sauce – baste, glaze or dipping! Store the extra in the fridge.

So here’s our finished dish…..We take the pork belly, cut into cubes and starting skin side down in a saute pan we crisp it – just like you’re cooking bacon!  Once done – place on a small plate drizzled with the Rhubard BBQ sauce & top with chives! (The strawberry garnish is simple – sliced strawberry,s chopped dill tossed with a touch of olive oil, pinch of cayenne and dry mustard – let them sit aside for 30 minutes)


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