Perfect as an appetizer or along side dinner. Crispy pork belly lardons, sliced thin and tossed with cast iron roasted Brussels sprouts all drizzled in easy honey garlic sauce.
Calling all bacon lovers!! And Brussels sprout lovers for that matter. Those two BFF ingredients are about to come into our lives hand in hand and coated in sweet and savory honey garlic sauce. Here are the major take home points about why these sprouts are skipping to the front of the class:
- roasted, perfectly browned sprouts (aka the 'balance' to indulgent pork belly)
- crispy, salty, savory pork belly
- like a generous serving of bacon
- more pork flavor, less smoke
- honey garlic sauce is sweet, savory, and just the right amount of gooey
So what makes these pork belly Brussels sprouts better than your average sprout and pork dish? It's all about the lardons friends.
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What are pork belly lardons?
So what exactly is this delight bite of bacon? Well, it's kind of exactly that. Pork belly lardons are like the superman of bacon, just before it goes through the smoking and slicing process. Perhaps that makes it Clark Kent, but either way, it's saving the day to add deliciousness to boring dishes.
Pork Belly is usually available in a slab, strip or pre cut pieces. You can also find it bone-in, but for this you'll want it without the bone. Turning it into a 'pork belly lardon' means you'll be cutting it into thicker pieces, about ¼ inch to ½ inch in thickness. Think of it as a pork belly crouton.
Making pork belly lardons is very simple. Dry and salt them the night before to extract moisture and intensify flavor. The following day, trim off any skin and cut the pork belly strip into 4 to 6 inch pieces, lightly salt again. Then you just roast, slice, and crisp up in cast iron pan.
How to make honey garlic pork belly brussels sprouts
We know how to make the pork belly. All we're missing is some sprouts and a gooey garlicky sweet sauce. The thing that's also great about these pork belly Brussels sprouts is that they're a one pan recipe. Using a cast iron skillet is hands down my favorite way to get this done.
By using the same pan you'll do a few things:
- any seasoning, fat, flavor that roasts off the pork belly will coat the sprouts,
- that adds flavor and fat to help roasted them beautifully brown.
- the entire pan is already hot throughout which will help it to cook evenly and faster
- fewer dishes (hell to the yes!)
You could even roast the pork belly in the cast iron to begin with but the pork belly is pretty liberally salted so just taste test before salting the sprouts. This cast iron skillet is constantly in my rotation!
When it comes to prepping the sprouts, my most recent obsession is to trim off the bottom and then quarter them. I discovered this makes for the crispiest, crunchiest and tastiest sprouts for these tacos and haven't looked back.
While the sprouts are a-roastin' mince up some garlic, mix it into honey and drizzle drizzle drizzle when the sprouts are hot out of the oven.
Then all you have to do is try not to snack on the whole thing while you're waiting for the rest of dinner to be done. Good luck!
Honey Garlic Pork Belly Brussels Sprouts
- 1 to 1 ¼ pounds pork belly
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- salt for seasoning
- 1 pound brussel sprouts (trimmed and quartered)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- Make the pork belly: The night before - or at least 6 hours - dry the pork belly and season liberally with salt.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the long piece of pork belly into 4-6 inch pieces and lightly salt. If there is a thick skin attached, trim it from the pork belly. Drizzle a sheet pan lightly with 1 tablespoon oil, lay the pork belly pieces onto the pan and roast for 20 minutes.
- Heat cast iron skillet on the stove top while letting the pork belly cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, slice the pork belly into 'lardons', about ¼-1/2 inch thickness.
- Drizzle the skillet with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and sauté the pork belly lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to get hot. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 5 minutes until brown and crispy.
- Roast the Brussels Sprouts: Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stir well in the pan to so Brussels sprouts are coated in the oil and pork fat.
- Return the cast iron skillet to the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 375°F, stirring about halfway through. While the sprouts roast, mince the garlic, stir into honey and set aside.
- After roasting, add the honey garlic sauce to the pan and stir to coat the pork belly and Brussels sprouts.