Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


Wow – a double here.  It’s been OVER A WEEK since I posted and my reasons/excuses run the same gamut Jake Blues (John Belushi) gave the jilted lover (Carrie Fisher) in The Blues Brothers:

“I ran outta gas. I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from outta town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake, a terrible flood, locust’s. It wasn’t my fault!! I swear to God!!”

And just as truthful, too.

And secondly, I’m squeaking in just under the wire for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge.  It’s so late, I was even taunted by the lovely and gracious Sara about it.  Deservedly so, mind you, considering I am the host of next month’s challenge!

Yesterday, while watching Jamie At Home, I suddenly remembered I hadn’t submitted an entry, heck, I hadn’t even THOUGHT of an entry!  So, as I turned to the TV screen, Jamie started a Rhubarb Marinated Pork and I said, “OK, Rhubarb Marinated Pork it is!”

Of course, the Food Network DIDN’T post this recipe, but I managed to find a link to it on Jamie’s site, in the forum section.  Jamie uses pork belly in the recipe because he likes the layers.  I didn’t have any pork belly, but I did have some pig jowl, which is much like pork belly, so I used that.

Rhubarb and Crispy Pork

Wet Stuff:

  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 4 tbsp runny honey
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 fresh red chilie, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp five spice
  • thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Not wet stuff: 

  • 2 pounds of pork belly or jowl, cut into cubes.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Diced red chilies
  • Diced green onions
  • Cooked noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put all the wet stuff ingredients in a food processor and whiz up until juicy, then add ½ cup of water.  

Put pork in an oven safe dish (and one you can put on the stove if possible, if not, don’t fret) with wet stuff and cook in oven for 90 minutes, watching for boil over.

After dish comes out of oven, remove pork with a slotted spoon.  Cook remaining marinade for a few minutes to reduce, skimming fat, if possible, to thicken.  Set aside. 

Heat oil in sauté pan and brown pork in batches.  It browns quickly because of the honey, so don’t walk to far away. 

Serve pork and sauce over noodles, garnished with chilies and green onions, if desired.

Now, after the pork came out of the oven, I though it was going to be pretty disgusting.  Pork jowl and belly are very fatty* and I had these big, ole’ hunks of pork fat facing me.  Well, I soldiered on, not even bothering to make noodles and took one for the team, only to find out it was really good!  Now, it’s definitely a modern take on a very old dish, but that’s part of it’s charm.  Eating  hunks of fried pork fat is encoded in our genes and I immediately understood I was eating as my ancestors did.  In my last WCC entry, I made a hundred year old baked bean recipe and commented on how the beans were there to compliment the salt pork, not the other way around and this is very similar.  You can’t eat a lot of this pork and getting 2/3 of the women today to even entertain the idea is ludicrous, but that doesn’t make it bad. 

Go Jamie!



May 25, 2008 - Posted by | Pork, Recipe, Weekend Cookbook Challenge


  1. Taunted?!?!? Well, ok maybe a little. I am intrigued and iffy about this dish. But I like the idea of rhubarb and pork. Thanks for leaving your entry to the last minute! 🙂

    Comment by Sara | May 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. It does sound interesting…and given how we all (at least in public) deny eating so much fat at one time…I think this will be everyone’s secret dish. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Ruth | May 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. Mike ~ It seems we both have pork on the brain. I love that rhubarb is paired with pork instead of apples, and it is probably the tartness of the rhubarb that allows one to consume healthy doses of pork fat. A dreamy dish, to my mind.

    Comment by Shaun | May 31, 2008 | Reply

  4. Mel (or Mike) – I was hoping someone would have the recipe as Food network did not post it. Thanks for doing the search for me.(I dial up at 26.8) 😦 Rhubard is perfect here this time of year and will try this recipe next. Thanks gain. JO

    Comment by JO | June 22, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hi-

    I transcribed the recipe from the show (it always seems like the ONE recipe I want from an episode isn’t one of the two on FN’s site!) and made it a few weeks ago. Turned out really yummy. The only thing that has me reluctant to make it again is how messy it was frying those pork belly cubes. The clinging sauce made the fat pop like crazy and there was one point where if I hadn’t been wearing long sleeves I could’ve had a serious burn. Definitely worth trying, I’m just giving those who haven’t tried it yet a warning! 🙂

    Comment by Amy | June 23, 2008 | Reply

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