Decadence On a Plate: Bourbon-Glazed Pork Belly

Canapés are an excellent party food option— served in easy-to-eat, bite-sized portions to allow your guests to partake and mingle at the same time. These succulent cubes of crispy, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly doused in a sweet and tangy sauce are perfect for entertaining. What’s more, the marinade is spiked with a generous helping of whiskey, which adds extra élan to the flavor. Not only do these bourbon-glazed pork belly morsels make a sophisticated hors d’oeuvre, they are satisfying to eat and sate the stomach. And to seal the deal, they are as simple to rustle up as they are delicious.

Luscious and versatile, with alternate layers of smoky meat and tender, juicy fat, the humble pork belly is giving stiff competition to that classic favorite, bacon. It can be infused with a diverse variety of flavors and traverses several cuisines. Those of China and Japan incorporate pork belly into many delectable dishes, while in Germany, it is a central ingredient in a dish called schlachtplatte. Italians use it to make pancetta.

Pork belly is gaining rapid popularity in both haute and basse cuisine. It has more than doubled its presence in American menus since 2012, and according to the USDA, Americans are projected to eat the most pork since 2004 in this year.

Your guests will lap these up in no time at all.


  • 800g pork belly
  • 200ml bourbon whiskey
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 star anise
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Chives and sour cream

The Process

Pre-heat your oven to 160°C. Pour half the bourbon into a small, shallow tin and add the star anise. Season the pork belly with salt and pepper, put in the tin and tightly cover with foil. Bake for three hours, then remove and cool for at least an hour.

Crank up your oven to 200°C, and take out the pork from the tin. Using a sharp knife, pare the rind from the meat, leaving a small layer of fat. Cut the meat into 2cm chunks and return to the tin. Roast for 20 mins without the foil, until crisp and sizzling, turning regularly.

Meanwhile, mix the ketchup, soy sauce, honey and remaining bourbon together in a small pan. Set over a high heat and let bubble for 5 minutes until syrupy and thick. Pour over the chunks of pork and toss to coat. Return to oven and roast for 10 more minutes until sticky.

Pierce the prepared pork belly cubes with cocktail sticks.

Snip the chives into the sour cream, and serve as a dipping condiment for the pork.