Chef Thanksgiving Recipe: Smoked Pork Belly with Celery and Apples

Recipe Posted on Friday, Sep. 24, 2021

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Or maybe you just need to make sure you don’t show up to the party empty-handed. Chef Matt is here to help. This year, he’s sharing a recipe to help kickstart your Thanksgiving gathering… and maybe even upstage the main course.

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Smoked Pork Belly with Celery and Apples

Prep/Cook Time: 26 hours- only 2 hours of active prep


4-5 Lbs Pork Belly

Soaked wood chips for smoking

1 head celery root

1 quart Half and half

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Bouquet Garni (parsley, thyme, and bay leaf)

1 Jonathan Apple

2 Ribs celery

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Pinch marash chili

For the Mop:

2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Cups Honey

2 Tablespoons Marash

1 Teaspoon ground allspice

1 Teaspoon Ground Mustard

For the Rub:

1/2 Cup Sweet Paprika

1/4 Cup Kosher Salt

1/4 Cup light brown sugar

1/8 Cup Aleppo Pepper

1 Teaspoon Ancient Spice

2 Tablespoons each, onion and garlic powder

2 Tablespoons Cayenne



  1. Rub pork belly thoroughly and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Smoke at 325 degrees for 2 hours, or an internal temp of 150.

Celery Root Puree: 

  1. Peel and large drive the celery root and place it in a small pot.
  2. Cover with half and half, add the bouquet and a pinch of salt.
  3. Once cream covers celery root, place on stove and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cook until tender.
  5. Strain off cream and reserve it. Remove and discard bouquet.
  6. Put cooked celery root in a blender and puree, add a little of the reserved cream to loosen, and add the butter.
  7. Once the puree is ready, can either be cooled of kept warm for immediate use.

Apple & Celery Salish

Never heard of salish? That’s because we invented it! A salish is the combination of a salad and a garnish, it is more of an important component of the dish than just a regular garnish, adding texture and freshness to a rich pork belly. But its not as large as a salad. I hope this helps!

  1. Cut apples into 2″ batons and use a peeler to peel the celery into strips.
  2. Dress apple and celery with the olive oil, salt,  and marash.

To Finish the dish:

Slice the pork into 1/2″ slabs, and warm on a grill or in a pan in the oven, gently apply mop. Place a spoonful of the celery root puree on the plate. Place the pork belly on top and then put the salish on top of that.


Trying this recipe at home? Share with us on social by using hashtags #AVery21cThanksgiving and #CookingWith21c. Be sure to tag @TheHiveBentonville!