Smoked Pork Belly

3 lb Pork belly, skin off, no bones
1 lb Kosher salt
½ lb Brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Cracked black pepper
2 cups Apple wood or hickory chips for smoking
1 Tablespoon Coriander, whole (this and the following spices are optional)
1 Tablespoon Fennel seed, whole
3 pieces Star anise
1 stick Cinnamon
2 Onions, rough chopped (no need to peel)
2 Carrots, rough chopped (if washed well, no need to peel)
2 stalks Celery, rough chopped
1 head Garlic, rough chopped (no need to peel)
2 quarts Chicken stock

1. Combine salt, sugar and pepper.
2. Heavily coat pork belly in cure and wrap in plastic (or place in a Ziploc bag). It should take all of the cure. Refrigerate for at least 3 days, preferably 5. Flip the belly once every day to keep the cure even.
3. Rinse and dry the pork belly.
4. Start a charcoal grill or smoker, and using low heat, smoke the belly until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. (At this point you have essentially made bacon).
5. Using a large pot, toast the spices dry.
6. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sweat the vegetables until they begin to caramelize.
7. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
8. Add the smoked pork belly and return to a simmer. Braise slowly for 2 hours.
9. Remove from heat, and allow the pork belly to cool in the liquid, preferably overnight in the fridge.
10. Remove pork belly from the liquid, reserving every last drop (you will use it to braise collard greens!).
11. The pork belly can be easily cut while cold. Suggestion: Cut it into 1” thick slices by 4” long. Sear these in a skillet and warm through in the oven.

Ham Hock Collard Greens

1 Ham Hock
1 Onion, peeled, small diced
2 Small carrots, peeled, small diced
1 stalk Celery, small diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 lbs Collard greens, stems removed and leaves cut into 1” pieces
6 cups Pork belly braising liquid (see Smoked Pork Belly Recipe) (Chicken stock may be substituted)

1. Pick all meat off of ham hock and dice.
2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large pot, and cook the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until soft. A little caramelization is ok.
3. Add the ham hock meat and cook for a minute more.
4. Begin to add the collard greens, about a 1/3 at a time, folding them into the cooked vegetables. It will take about 2 minutes of folding per batch.
5. Once all collard greens have been incorporated, add the pork belly braising liquid and the ham hock bone. Bring to a simmer and braise slowly for 30-45 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely in the liquid, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
7. Reheat to serve, and check seasoning. If using pork belly braising liquid, additional salt shouldn’t be needed. If using chicken stock you may need more salt. Extra liquid can be saved and/or frozen for use the next time.