Yards ESA is easily in my top five “most likely to session with” beers. The impressive balance of burnt sugar and caramel in the malt with just the right hop bitterness yields an awesome food beer that is highly quaffable most any time of year. One of my favorite characteristics in a great beer is not only how it tastes, but how the barley flavor shines through with tea-like characteristics and a nice sweetness of toffee. And Yards nails it with this fine malt beverage favorite. For more beer cookery advice, hit @guerillaultima on Twitter and be ready for a big surprise.
Note: Yards Pale will be the required citrus for the cabbage.
Brine for the Belly
• 32oz. Yards ESA
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 tbsp. molasses
• 1 tbsp. sweet soy sauce
• 1/4 kosher salt
Bring the above to a boil, set aside to chill at a minimum of 70°. Pour over your belly, until it floats, slightly weighed down with a plate in a deep plastic storage container or Ziploc bag. After 12 hours, rotate the belly ensuring all sides have contacted the brine. After 24 hours, remove from the brine and pat dry. Rub the belly with 1 tablespoon each of the following: ground star anise, Szechuan peppercorn and allspice. Once rubbed, place the belly in a roasting pan just large enough, with 24oz.Yards ESA, braise for 3 hours at 300° or until just fork tender. Once finished, rest for 30 minutes and refrigerate.
Sauté 2oz. sliced garlic, 2oz. sliced ginger and 4oz. minced white onion until translucent. Add your braising liquid with 2 cups rice wine vinegar, 1 bottle of Yards ESA, 1 cup sugar and reduce to a glaze consistency (in stainless steel of course).
Next is Cabbage
Take 12oz. Napa cabbage, julienne very fine and soak in cold water, 20 minutes. Remove the cabbage and drain well. Place in a bowl and macerate with 2 tbsp. salt for 1 hour. During this hour, in a blender, combine 1/2 cup Yards Pale Ale, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1oz. garlic, 2oz. ginger, 2tbsp. Sriracha, 1 tbsp. fish sauce, 2 tbsp. white miso, 1 tbsp. sambal chili, 1 tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce & 1tbsp. sesame oil. Puree. Mix with the cabbage and allow 20 minutes for the flavors to come together. Next, smoke the chilled pork belly.
Smoking the Chilled Pork Belly
I recommend doing this outside in a smoker, but a Dutch oven will also work well.
Mix 1/4 cup each of the following:
• Jasmine rice
• Chinese black tea
• White Sugar
Elevate with a grill grate in a Dutch oven, using foil balls as support, the pork belly. On one side, place the braised belly, and the other side a small mound of the tea smoke mix. Place the end with the tea smoke mix directly over a low flame. Once smoking occurs, cover tightly and smoke for 25-30 minutes. Once finished, chill once again to be skewered.
Cut your pork belly into large cubes, and sear deeply brown in a sauté pan of preferably an electric griddle. Once seared and hot, dip the sticks in your Yards ESA reduction, and serve your cabbage either on top or alongside. For additional fun, drizzle the reduction all over the place, bring out your inner Jackson Pollack and impress your friends on first Friday with this vegan hater treat. However, next issue we do have a wonderful vegetarian beer dish that is enjoyable for everyone…including me. Cheers!