The Happy Home Cook: Slow-braised Pork Belly and Pineapple Adobo

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Reprinted with permission from The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey – from Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond.

Marvin Gapultos' The Adobo Road Cookbook

Marvin Gapultos' The Adobo Road Cookbook

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus overnight to mature
Cooking Time: 4 hours


1 tbsp coarse sea salt, or kosher salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
8-10 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
¾ c (185 ml) dark Filipino cane vinegar (sukang Iloko) or apple cider vinegar
2 ½ lbs (1.25 kg) slab pork belly
Water, to cover
1 fresh ripe pineapple (2-3 lbs or 1-1.5 kg) peeled, cored and cut into 1-in (2.5 cm) chunks


Combine the salt, black pepper, bay leaves, garlic and vinegar in a large nonreactive pot or enameled Dutch oven. Nestle the pork belly into the pot, skin side down, and then pour in enough water so that the liquid comes halfway up the pork belly. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, and then cover and gently simmer over very low heat for at least 3 hours, turning the pork belly over once midway through simmering.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow everything to cool to room temperature. Once cool, place the pot in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and uncover. Carefully remove and reserve any congealed fat from atop the cooking liquid. Using tongs, remove the pork from the cooking liquid and place it on a cutting board. Cut the pork into slices that are about ½-in (1.25 cm) thick by 1-in (2.5 cm) wide and set it aside.

Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until the liquid reduces to about 1 cup (250 ml) and thickens slightly – depending on how much water was used, reduction may take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and discard the bay leaves.

While the sauce is reducing, heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved pork fat in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. If you were unable to reserve much pork fat you can use vegetable oil instead. Working in batches, gently cook the slices of pork belly until lightly browned and jiggly, 1-2 minutes per side, and then transfer the pork belly slices to a large serving platter.

If the pan is dry after cooking the pork belly slices, add another tablespoon of reserved pork fat, or vegetable oil, and heat over medium heat. Working in batches, saute the pineapple chunks until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side and then transfer the pineapple to the platter with the pork belly. Pour the adobo sauce over the pork belly and pineapples and serve with steamed rice.

Pork Belly and Pineapple Adobo (Source: The Adobo Road Cookbook)

Pork Belly and Pineapple Adobo (Source: The Adobo Road Cookbook)

Cook’s Note: Instead of browning the pork belly and pineapples in a pan, you can cut them into larger chunks and finish them on a hot grill, just until the pork and pineapples are nicely charred with grill marks. Alternatively, you can brown the pork and pineapples on a foil-lined baking sheet placed under the broiler.

This recipe won the Runner-up award for “Best Nouveau Street Food” at the 2010 LA Street Food Fest, as judged by a panel of professional chefs and food writers.

Marvin Gapultos

Marvin Gapultos

Marvin Gapultos is the author of the celebrated food blog, Burnt Lumpia (, and was the founder of Los Angeles’ first gourmet Filipino food truck, The Manila Machine. His first cookbook entitled, "The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey--From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond" is available for sale at Barnes and Noble bookstores, as well as from Amazon. Check out his Amazon site:

More from Marvin Gapultos:

Dishes For Independence Day
June 12, 2013
For Independence Day, a taste of independent Filipino food ways.