The first one we made was Szechuan pork belly bites I found over at sousvidesupreme.com. They were first cooked sous vide (6-10 hours @85C/185F), then the pork belly cubes were liberally coated with a home-made Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce I found on allrecipes.com, glazed under a grill and finished off with crushed Szechuan peppercorns.
What worked and what didn’t:
I actually had a bottle of store-bought Jack Daniel’s Original BBQ Sauce lying around, but it was very sweet and didn’t pack much heat nor punch from Uncle Jack. The above recipe is highly recommended but not for the faint of heart as there is a hefty amount of booze in it. It was mentioned that you should simmer the BBQ sauce for 20 to 30 minutes, but I’d recommend about 45 minutes as it was a bit too runny for our liking.
The bites were very easy to make and tasted great as infused with honey and deliciously fragrant due to the tangerine zest and star anise. Combine that with the BBQ sauce glaze and the slightly floral and citrussy heat from the Szechuan peppercorns and you got yourself a super tasty appetizer.
The recipe was easy to follow and the measures of ingredients work well together.
The husks of the Szechuan pepper corns can be really tough and based on experience they may very well get stuck in the back of your throat, so have a really good go at them in the pestle and mortar.
Verdict: 8/10; Will definitely be made again.