Chef Michael Allemeier’s Root Beer Braised Pork Belly
Michael Allemeier is a culinary arts instructor at SAIT Polytechnic and former winery chef at Mission Hill Family Estate in Westbank, B.C. Allemeier is a guest chef on Food Network’s Cook Like a Chef. In 2001, Allemeier was awarded the title of Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC), Canada’s highest professional culinary accreditation designation. He describes his style of cooking as “Cuisine de Terroir.”
He also happens to live next door to my sister in Calgary.
I had heard stories about ‘Michael’ long before I met him. Since he moved next door to my sister Shawna, she has been treated to a bounty of culinary delights from Christmas parties to backyard BBQs.
Shawna asked me to come down to Cowtown for the first weekend in June. I was hoping that I would have a chance to meet Michael and pick his brain on all things pork related. More importantly, I was eager for a chance for him to teach me a thing or two in the kitchen.
I really wanted him to like me, so I did the best thing I could think of. I brought him some Berkshire Irving Farms pork.
I was nervous when I knocked on his door. But when the door opened and I Presented my cooler full of meat, I was greeted with a big hug and remarks on how much I looked like my sister.
As I helped unveil the goods, Michael was immediately pleased with the pork I had brought, explaining that the colour of the meat was a lovely pink and that the fat was a nice bright white.
He had suggested trying a few things with the meat. The first of which was his recipe for Root Beer Braised Pork Belly. Inspired by the use of coca-cola in some Mexican pork dishes – Chef Allemeier has developed this recipe to rave reviews.
Yield 1 pork belly
1 lean pork belly – cut into four squares (if skin is on score)
1 fresno pepper – cut in half
1pc ginger – peeled and cut in half
10 cloves garlic – crushed
4pc green onion – root cut off
2pc cinnamon stick
2 bay leaf
4pc star anise
1L root beer
250ml soya sauce
375ml red wine
150g brown sugar
3L chicken stock
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring up to a simmer – skim as it comes to a simmer. Cover with plate and simmer for two hours.
- Turn off heat and let sit for one hour.
- Remove belly from liquid. Press belly between two sheet trays while loosely wrapped in parchment paper – press over night.
- Strain cooking liquid and cool.
- Next day – remove fat and discard fat.
- Portion belly to 150g pieces – keep them rectangle in shape!
- Add pressed belly to cooled cooking liquid and store until needed.
- Heat in liquid and glace until crispy.
I had gone to the Edgar Farms Asparagus Festival with my sister and her kids early in the day, so we gave a few stalks to Michael to grill up on the BBQ which he plated with the belly. I’m not a pop drinker, but I am a huge fan of root beer a bite of this dish.
Paul Rogalski, chef and co-owner of Calgary’s ROUGE Restaurant, and his wife were also over for dinner. As Paul took a bite of the root beer braised belly, he said it reminded him of one of his best food memories.
The menu included a pork theme that evening – part two of my dinner at Chef Allemeier’s including a lesson on smoking coming soon.