Passion for Pork

Chef Nathin Bye: Pork Belly from Brine to Braise

Sharman - Saturday, March 16, 2013
Hawaiian Pork Belly

Every year the Downtown Business Association in Edmonton organizes Downtown Dining Week – 10 days of to experience smoking deals on set menus at restaurants throughout the downtown core. For the 10th anniversary, the DBA has attracted 30 restaurants to serve up two-course lunches for $15 and/or three-course dinners for $25 or $50.

Since I love a bargain and I love food, I have been anticipating this for weeks. I’ve scoured the menus over and over, and this year I was happy to see that Alberta Pork is making an appearance on many of the menus.

To start DTDW off, I met my friends Kerrie and Ben for lunch at Wildflower Grill. For $15 I enjoyed a Grilled Vegetable Salad with smoked tomato vinaigrette to start, followed by Chef Nathin Bye’s pork feature (aka a little piece of pork heaven.

The dish featured sous vide pieces of pork belly and pork loin, and complimented with prairie greens and BBQ corn relish (both with loads of bacon!).

Chef Bye was kind enough to modify his sous vide approach to pork belly to a home-cook friendly version to brine and braise pork belly.


Pork Belly Brine
Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Nathin Bye, Wildflower Grill

This recipe will yield enough brine for a 2lb pork belly.        

Downtown Dining Week Pork lunch feature @ Wildflower Grill


2          cups     water
3          TBSP   kosher salt
½         TBSP   whole peppercorns
½         cup      brown sugar
½         TBSP   minced garlic

½         EA       lemon
5          sprigs   fresh thyme

6          cups     water 


  1. Get your butcher to clean and trim the pork belly for you.
  2.  If you would like…trim the pork belly into smaller pieces that are easier to manage.
  3. Bring all ingredients except the second measure of water to a boil.  Once combined, boil for one minute.
  4. Combine mixture with second measure of water, and cool off completely.
  5. Place the pork belly in the chilled liquid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 36.  You may have to adjust the pork belly every six hours or so to make sure it is in the brine.


Pork Belly Braising Liquid
Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Nathin Bye, Wildflower Grill


1          cup      diced white or yellow onion
1          cup      diced carrot
1          cup      diced celery
6          cups     pineapple juice
1          cup      apple juice
6          TBSP   minced garlic
1          ea         dried ancho pepper, dried chipotle pepper



  1. Combine all ingredients together and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid has boiled for 2 min, place the brined pork belly in liquid, cover with aluminum foil, and continue to simmer on medium heat for approx 4 hours.
  3. The amount of time will vary depending on how thick the pork belly is and how tender you would like it.  Three to four hours will still be slightly firm but moist and tender, five to six hours will be fall


Downtown Dining Week is on until Sunday March 24, 2013. Don’t miss it!