Pork Belly Adobo Sandwich

I was craving a BLT the other day but as usual I wanted to totally twist it up.  My mind went straight to pork belly instead of bacon, and I quickly thought of this classic Filipino adobo preparation my friend Bianca and I cooked together a few years ago. For the lettuce part of the "BLT" I made some honey and ginger bok choy, and at that point I had such a good sandwich that I didn't even need to find a tomato replacement.
Adobo starts with putting a bunch of stuff in a pot.  No need for searing meat or sauteing onions.  Easy stuff! It also uses way more bay leaves than any other recipe I have ever seen, so it's a great way to clean out those old herbs! Or an excuse to buy new fresh ones like I did.
While that simmers away, slice the bok choy into long strips.  This was a tedious part of the recipe, but I think having the bok choy in this shape actually made a big difference in the final dish.
Wilted greens, and in goes the garlic and ginger.
There is also honey, sesame oil, chile oil, sesame seed, chile flake, and soy sauce.  Yum!
Ok, the belly is tender but not falling apart.  Time to sear it up. Then pour a little of the strained out braising liquid over it.
This sandwich is KILLER.  If a food truck was slangin' these for lunch in Boston it would be the talk of the town.
The tender and sour flavor of the meat goes so well with the spicy sweet bok choy.  A hint of sriracha mayo sort of melds with the adobo sauce to form an umami bomb that explodes with each bite.
The soft but sturdy and lightly toasted bread not only holds in this beast of a sandwich but creates great textural contrasts with the tender meat.

Pork Belly Adobo Sandwich

  • Adobo
  • 1.5 Pounds Pork Belly cut into 1 inch by 2 inch pieces
  • 10 Cloves Garlic
  • 10 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Bok Choy
  • 6 Heads Baby Bok Choy
  • 1/4 Cup Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Chile Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Chile Flake
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seed
  • 1 Splash Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • Sandwich
  • 4 Ciabatta Rolls
  • 1/3 Cup Mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha

Instructions

    Adobo
    1. Very lightly salt the pork belly. There is a lot of soy sauce in the recipe so you don't want to over salt.
    2. Put all the adobo ingredients into a pot and bring to a strong simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours until the belly is tender but not falling apart.
    3. Remove the belly from the pot. Strain the sauce and place into a bowl or glass measuring cup. Skim most of the fat from the sauce.
    4. In a hot frying pan or a cast iron grill pan, heat up some oil and sear the belly to brown on both sides.
    5. After the belly is browned, turn the heat down and drizzle the sauce onto the belly. Stir well and allow to cook 5 minutes in the sauce.
    Bok Choy
    1. Cut the bok choy into thin strips with both stem and leaf on each strip.
    2. Add the chile and sesame oil to a ban and heat it up.
    3. Add in the bok choy and saute until it wilts.
    4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 5 minutes.
    5. Add in the soy sauce, honey, sesame seeds, and chile flake. Stir well. Cover and allow to cook together for 3 minutes.
    Build the sandwich
    1. Lightly toast the bread.
    2. Mix the mayo and sriracha together and evenly distribute it to the 4 bottom buns.
    3. Put the pork belly onto each sandwich along with plenty of sauce.
    4. Top with the bok choy. Put the top bun on and serve immediately.