Chicharrón Pork Belly Arepas


Federico Tischler—the Venezuelan chef and owner of Baltimore’s White Envelope—prepares his popular Chicharrón Pork Belly Arepas using sous vide.


Arepa Dough:

4 C Pre-Cooked Corn Flour (we like P.A.N.)
14 C warm water
1 ½  Tbsp coarse kosher salt
3 Tbsp white sugar 

*Pork Belly Brine:

1/2 lb pork belly
7 Tbsp coarse kosher salt
7 Tbsp white sugar
3 Tbsp smoked hot paprika
10 cloves
4 Bay leaves
Rind of an orange
2 C water

Cilantro Mojo

¾ C cilantro steams
¼ C fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
3 ½ Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp kosher coarse salt
½ tsp Tabasco sauce, to taste
¾ C extra virgin olive oil
⅓ C cider vinegar
¼ tsp xanthan gum

*makes enough for 1½ lbs pork belly



  • Sous vide circulator
  • Sous vide pouches
  • Vacuum sealer
  • Blender


Prepping time: 1 hour / Cooking time: 40 minutes (excludes sous vide cooking time)


Yields about 22 6-ounce arepas


For the Pork Belly Brine:

  1. Mix all ingredients and bring to boil until sugar and salt is dissolved. Cool in refrigerator until chilled.
  2. Place the pork belly with a third of the brine into a pouch and vacuum seal on medium. Let brine overnight in refrigerator.
  3. Remove the pork belly from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, and place the brined pork belly in a pouch and vacuum seal on medium. Cook at 82.2ºC (180ºF) for about 12 hours.
  4. Let rest for about 10 minutes and then submerge the bag in an ice bath. Once it is cold, refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

For the Chicharrón Pork Belly:

  1. Drain the pork, cut off the skin and excess fat from the top, leaving just a thin layer of fat (reserve the trimmings).
  2. Trim the pork belly into a 3”x3” square, again reserving trimmings, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the pork belly develops a golden color.
  3. Drain the meat, allowing the pork belly to be glazed with its own reduced juices and reserve.
  4. Deep fry all discarded pieces of pork belly until crunchy, add them to the reserved pork belly, then chop into a minced mix.

For the Arepa Dough:

  1. Mix all ingredients until a smooth dough forms. Form round balls of 5 ounces each and shape into Arepa discs.
  2. Sear on a hot grill on both sides until the discs develop a light brown color, then bake for about 10 minutes at 400ºF.

For the Cilantro Mojo:

Blend all ingredients in a blender until the consistency is smooth and soft. Store in refrigerator until use.

To Serve:

Open each Arepa disc as a pocket and place a dollop of Cilantro Mojo, 4 ounces of grilled white cheese (such as queso fresco), pickled red onions, and the Chicharrón Pork Belly inside. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

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