Recipe: Richard Bainbridge's 'banging' Southern barbecue style pork belly

Richard Bainbridge's Southern-style pork belly

Make Richard Bainbridge's Southern-style pork belly - Credit: Katja Bainbridge

The sun is out.  And the future is, fingers crossed, looking brighter too. Who knows what will happen on June 21? But for now Father’s Day is coming up. We’re thinking of things we can do for our dads and what we can buy them. We’ve lost so much time over the last year and a bit that I think it’s so important we mark this day and do something special. 

And what’s better than a barbecue? This week I’m sharing with you a dish I did on Saturday Kitchen a couple of months ago. It’s an incredibly easy way to get the flavour of Southern barbecue into your cooking without all the messing about. 

If you think what British people think of as a barbecue it’s burgers, sausages, possibly a kebab, maybe some shellfish. We might play around with salads and bits and pieces.  

A barbecue shouldn’t be a man standing in a ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron with tongs and a grill of burnt sausages with raw middles. We need to put these visions of the 80s and 90s in the bin and start again. I’m talking long, slow bakes that’ll be ready by the time everyone gets to your house. With some finishing touches like pickled onions, baby gem salad and cornbread. 

When you actually go into what a barbecue is – a proper Southern barbecue – it's all about community, friends and family. Bringing everything together. We don’t have that culture here. 

The history of barbecuing is quite interesting. It came from South America and was like a tiered system out on the farms. So the farmer of the cattle and the land would get the good stuff – maybe the fillet. A tier down and you might get the ribs. The next lot of people the legs. And if you were at the bottom you’d get the cow’s head, tail or hooves.  

They started digging these big holes and slowly cooking the cuts to make them absolutely delicious. It’s all about trying to get the best out of something and I love that idea. Letting the ingredients speak for themselves. That’s what my recipe is all about. 

It uses our own R Bainbridge barbecue sauce – something I developed for our provisions range in lockdown. I found a lot of commercial sauces overly sweet and packed with liquid smoke. They had no depth of flavour. So that’s where our products come in. Our Elderflower BBQ Sauce has Norfolk elderflowers infused into vinegar and that’s used as an ingredient. It’s great with pork. The spicy one is banging with chicken. And the coffee one is superb with beef.  

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Get together with your ‘tribe’ this weekend or over Father’s Day, go outside and cook up this fantastic pork dish. 


Richard’s easy barbecue pork feast for four 

Ingredients 

1.5kg pork belly, bone in, skin removed  

1tbsp Dijon mustard 

To finish – whisk in a small cup or bowl: 

2tbsps barbecue sauce (preferably R Bainbridge Elderflower BBQ Sauce) 

1tbsp cider or white wine vinegar 

For the spice rub – mix and store in a container: 

120g light brown sugar 

25g paprika 

60g sea salt 

1tbsp chilli powder or flakes 

1 clove crushed garlic or 1tbsp garlic powder 

1tbsp ground cumin 

1tbsp ground black pepper 

Pinch cayenne 

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Bring the pork to room temperature before cooking. Rub all over with the mustard and liberally dust with spice mix. Rub that in too. 

Lay a large piece of foil on a surface and put the pork on top, fat side up. Spoon over the barbecue sauce/vinegar mix and wrap the whole thing up tight so no liquid can escape. 

Place in a deep-sided roasting dish and add a cup of water or beer. Bake for 3.5 to 4.5 hours until the meat feels soft through the foil. 

Open carefully, minding the steam, and turn the oven up to 220C. Sprinkle another layer of spice mix and pop back into the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes until caramelised. Check every 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and loosely cover. 

Serve in slices in the middle of the table with some more of the spice mx for sprinkling.