All About Beer Magazine - Volume 37, Issue 5
September 12, 2016 By
(Photo by Jon Page)

Because I was raised in Germany, this classic combination of pork and apples holds a special place for me. It has the truly timeless decadence of pork belly balanced by hints of natural apple sugars heightened with honey and gentle vinegar tartness in the brine. The use of malt extract and hop pellets (both of which can be found at your local homebrew store or online) brings a heightened level of synergy in beer pairing. Plate the dish with three 1/2” slices of pork belly, top with the apple wedges and spoon about 2 tablespoons of pan sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme and minced roasted red peppers.


For the dry-hopped apples

2 cups water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon clover honey

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed Cascade hop pellet

3 Gala apples

For the malt extract glazed pork

1/4 cup liquid light malt extract

2 tablespoons clover honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 pounds pork belly

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (per cup of pan drippings, for slurry)


For the dry-hopped apples

(Be sure to start apples at least three hours before your meal.)

1. In saucepan, heat water, vinegar, clover honey and salt to 80 degrees F to make brine. Meanwhile, crush hop pellets with mortar and pestle.

2. Peel and core apples. Slice each apple into 8 even wedges.

3. In a 1-quart container, combine brine, apples and hops.

4. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.

For the malt extract glazed pork

1. Be sure to start the dry-hopped apples at least 3 hours before your meal.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the light malt extract, clover honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

3. Place pork belly in a hotel pan and pour glaze over top. Marinate for 1 hour, flipping pork at 30 minutes. Reserve glaze.

4. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line sheet pan with foil and place cooking rack over pan. Place pork belly on cooking rack and put it in the oven.

5. Cook at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes, then turn oven up to 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until pork has a dark, caramelized color and an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Pull out of oven and allow pork to rest 10 minutes.

6. Pour reserved glaze (about 2 cups) into saucepan over medium-high heat. When sauce starts to simmer, add cornstarch slurry, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Cut pork into roughly 1/2-inch slices and serve drizzled with 2 tablespoons of sauce and three slices of dry-hopped apple.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

The Chef’s Pairings: Honey Beers

Brewers continue to experiment with specialty ingredients, pushing the boundaries of flavor. Since a good beer deserves a good meal, All About Beer Magazine asked chef Jensen Cummings of the Brewed Food movement to taste three beers infused with honey and offer tasting notes and pairing suggestions. Get more pairing ideas and recipes at

Rogue Honey Kolsch

ABV: 5% | Kölsch-Style Ale w/ Rogue Farms Hopyard Honey
Tasting Notes: This beer pairs so well with our homage to the classic combination of pork and apples. The sweetness and light acidity of the apple along with intense richness of pork belly play well with the subtle, not dominating, hints of honey balancing the biscuit malt dryness. Really tight carbonation and clean finish reset your palate after every supple fatty bite of pork.

Saint Arnold Icon Gold / Texas Honey Saison

ABV: 6.4% | Saison w/ Texas Wildflower Honey
Tasting Notes: With assertive honey character and a full mouthfeel, it was to me already a sauce worthy of some pancakes or bacon. That’s what got me thinking of a.m. food. After a few more exploratory sips, I kept coming back to wanting to pour it all over a plate of chicken and waffles. Maybe not literally over the plate, but knocking it back while enjoying your favorite version of the classic brunch dish will make for a world-class pairing!

Burial The Keeper’s Veil

ABV: 5.5% | Saison w/ Honey & Flowers
Tasting Notes: This well-layered beer finishes so dry and savory, yet the richness of the honey and the elegance of the wildflowers added such complexity. One of the most versatile beers to pair I have encountered in quite some time. Not many things I would not drink this with. For me, the old-school ice cream sundae with a quality vanilla ice cream, salted chocolate sauce, whipped cream and some candied bacon, just to flip it on its head a bit, really brings a smile to my face.