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Episode 411: Sandwiches Hit the Grill

The Ultimate Triple-Decker BLT

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The Ultimate Triple-Decker BLT

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 6 to 10 days for curing the bacon
  • Yield: Makes 2 large sandwiches, serving 2 to 4
  • Method: Hot smoking; direct grilling

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4-pound slab pork belly, lightly scored on both sides at 1/8 inch intervals 

For the cure: 

  • 1/3 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cracked or freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Prague powder or Insta-cure #1

For the sandwiches:

  • 6 slices bread
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 12 slices cured bacon (from above), grilled or pan-fried

Recipe Steps

1: Make the cure: Place the salt, sugar, pepper and Prague powder in a small bowl and mix well with your fingers.   Sprinkle half the cure on one side of the pork belly, rubbing it into the meat with the palm of your hand.   Invert the pork belly and rub the other side the same way. 

2: Place the rubbed pork belly with any extra cure in a large resealable plastic bag.   Cure on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator for 6 to 10 days, turning the bag over twice every day.   Liquid will release from the pork belly—it’s supposed to, as the rub becomes a brine.   Leave it in the bag. 

3: Drain the pork belly in a colander and rinse well.   Blot dry with paper towels. Let it dry until tacky on a wire rack in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 

4: Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 170 degrees. Place the wood chunks or chips on the coals or in your smoker box. Lay the cured pork belly on the grill grate and smoke for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Let cool, then refrigerate. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and grill or pan-fry until crisp. Refrigerate or freeze the remainder.

5: Assemble the sandwiches: Lightly grill the bread over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside. Grill or pan-fry the bacon slices until crisp; drain on paper towels. For each sandwich, spread mayonnaise on two slices of bread (one side only). Spread the third slice of bread on both sides with mayonnaise. Lay lettuce leaves on the bottom slice against the mayo-slathered side. Top with sliced tomatoes and 3 slices of bacon. Lay the bread with mayo on both sides on top. Repeat the sequence with lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon. Top with a final slice of bread, mayo-side down. Repeat for the second sandwich. Slice in half with a serrated knife and serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 4:

Crowd Cow
Kalamazoo Grill Nomad Grill
Start N Grill Workman Publishing

Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2022 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein