Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a recipe for miniature braised pork belly sandwiches on fresh from-scratch buttermilk biscuits. These delectable finger foods are perfect as mouthwatering appetizers or a light main course option.
2 cups salt
1 cup sugar
12 cloves garlic
12 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 gallon water
1. Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let cool.
2. Submerge the pork belly in brine and let soak for at least 6 hours.
3. Once the belly has soaked, you're ready to braise the meat (recipe and instructions follow).
3 pounds pork belly
2 medium-sized onions, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 celery rib
1 head of garlic, crushed
1 gallon chicken stock
1. Heat a 12-inch roasting pan on the stove at high heat.
2. Add a thin layer of grapeseed oil and sear the pork belly, fat side down, until golden brown or 5 to 8 minutes. Remove pork belly and set aside.
3. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until onions begin to brown. Add chicken stock and garlic, and submerge the pork in the liquid.
4. Cover the roasting pan with a lid. Put in a 250-degree-F oven and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until a butter knife easily pierces through the pork belly.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
6. Remove from liquid and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch-thick strips, then into 1-inch squares.
7. Arrange pork belly pieces on a sheet pan. Place pan into a 300-degree-F oven and warm through.
8. Place belly onto biscuits (recipe and instructions to follow) and top with jam and chow chow.
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Use your fingertips to rub the shortening into the flour mixture until it is the texture of coarse meal.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the dough comes together.
4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, pat the dough out into a square about 3/4 inch thick.
5. Spread the soft butter crosswise over the center third of the dough. As if you were folding a letter, fold up the bottom third of the dough to cover the butter, and fold the top third down.
6. Pat the dough out once more into a square that is 3/4 inch thick, and repeat the folding again.
7. Roll or pat the dough out to a thickness of about 1 inch. Cut out biscuits with a 1-inch round cutter dipped in flour.
8. Arrange the biscuits with sides touching on the prepared baking sheet.
9. Gather the scraps of dough and gently press them together, being careful to handle the dough as little as possible. Pat into a square that is 1 inch thick. Cut out the remaining biscuits and place them with sides touching on the baking sheet.
10. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the melted butter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Combined recipes yield enough for approximately 20 people.