Fennel, Orange and Mead Belly of Pork


Hey yo this is litty for real omg.

Some context

Taryn Barker, owner and head butcher at The Little Butcher in Port Moody invited me out to break down a whole pig with her one day. It's a really special event - why? because most pigs arrive block ready (also known as 'primal cuts') where they are already broken down. When you have a whole animal come to your shop you have absolute control over how you want to butcher it, which cuts to take, and how you want to present them to your customers. it's very cool, very special, and very old school. it takes time and Taryn and her team make it so they can provide the best they can for their clients. i got to witness and partake in the process. Here is how I cooked some pork belly I took off the animal. #blessedbelly

Let time and technique sing. 

In the words of the beastie boys, your mantra in cooking this dish is expressed:
"Let it flow, let yourself go
Slow and low, that is the tempo"

Your gear.


  • sauce pan
  • high sided baking dish

Shopping list

  • belly of pork
  • salt and pepper
  • fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cup of mead
  • 1-2 cups of veg or bone stock
  • zest and juice of orange
  • 2 bay leaves
  • onion
  • bulb of fennel

cook time: 3 hours @ 200-250 Degrees Celsius 



Phase 1 of 3

  • First thing do is to preheat your oven, turn it on. let it start rumbling so by the time you got everything ready to roll you slide it in and chill.
  • score the pork skin in a cross hatch, then rub salt and fennel seeds into it. This not only seasons the meat but the salt draws out moisture and will yield a f***ING crunchy top when it's cooked. it also looks very pretty and intentional. set it aside.

Phase 2 of 3

This step is fun, you feel like a real cook (because you are one) - sautéing your veg to build deep and delicious flavour


Order of attack:

1. in a sauce pan, sautee onion, fennel and fennel seeds in butter (or olive oil, whatever you want). Salt lightly, this will draw out moisture and expedite the process. Keep the heat on high and veg moving. You'll start seeing beautiful fond (french for caramelizing food residue in the corners of the pan). this is good. build this, but keep it moving.

2. When the veg is translucent and slightly brown add black pepper, orange juice/zest, and mead. Adding liquid will lift all that beautiful flavour off the sides of the pan and serve as welcome reinforcements to flavour the pork. add remainder of stock and simmer for 10 mins or so to bring it all together.





Phase 3 of 3

Get your high sided baking dish at the ready. I used my grandma's old school corningware (everyone has this in their kitchen, if not who are you? do I even know you?)

Put the pork belly in and pour the stock/vegetable mixture just to the top of the pork belly.

why? because this gorgeous liquid will season and keep the belly moist during the cooking process and the exposed skin will turn into cracklins, duh. Bake uncovered at 200-250 degrees Celsius for 2-3 hours. Check on it every hour to see how it is. YOu can't f*** this up, man.



You're welcome. If you like this, wait until you've tried my dumplings.