Slow Cooker Beer-Infused Pork Belly
2-2 1/2 pounds pork belly
22 oz. stout
1-2 cups pork or chicken stock
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds, ground
Prep pork belly by using a sharp knife to score a diamond pattern into the skin.
Combine stout, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, cloves, mustard seeds in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer just until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Place pork into a large re-sealable bag (or a large pot with a cover) and pour cooled beer mixture into the bag.
Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 24, flipping occasionally to distribute brine.
Remove meat from brine (reserve the brine), rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and (cutting pork into smaller pieces, if necessary) sear meat on all sides.
Note: once you place the meat down, don’t move it. You want to get a good char and moving it around prevents that from happening.
Remove from heat and let rest until cool.
Pour 1 cup reserved brine mixture (strained), apple cider vinegar and brown sugar into the slow cooker and stir to dissolve. Then transfer pork to slow cooker.
Note: pork should not be fully submerged in liquids.
Carefully add pork stock until pork is 1/4-1/2 submerged, then turn on LOW and cook for 6-8 hours (or until internal temperature reaches 160º F).
Transfer to serving plates, garnish with fresh herbs and serve with roasted veggies or potatoes.
Optional: you can sear meat again (with another 2 tablespoons olive oil) after cooking in the slow cooker, if you want to get an even crispier outer crust.