A recipe for Pork Belly Sliders inspired by our time in Niceville, Florida! These hoisin-marinated slices of pork belly are paired with green onion mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, and fresh cilantro.
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We are moving! Over the next couple of weeks, we are making the transition from the Florida Panhandle to Northern Virginia/D.C.
I have put together a few highlights from the past four years in the area:
Today, I am sharing some of our stops in Niceville, a town about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northeast of Fort Walton Beach.
Bayshore Drive in Niceville runs along Boggy Bayou of Choctawhatchee Bay. It is a beautiful area with waterfront houses, businesses, and restaurants.
I even once had a referral to a dentist in the area and had such a great view of the water from my chair (photo above).
There is also a fireworks show over the bay for July 4th. The fireworks are best seen from Lincoln Park, Shipyard Point Park, Lions Park, and Turkey Creek.
Turkey Creek Park
Turkey Creek Nature Trail and Pavilion was one of the first places we visited in 2010 on our house hunting trip to Fort Walton Beach.
There is a 3/4 mile (1.2 kilometer) long boardwalk (one way) that runs along the creek. A good portion of the area is shaded, perfect for the many hot days in Florida. There are also swimming areas in the creek and many go canoeing, kayaking, or tubing.
At the beginning of the boardwalk, there is a pavilion with benches, tables, and restrooms. Keep an eye out for signs along the boardwalk with information on the surrounding wildlife and flora.
Every October, we went to the pumpkin patch in front of Niceville United Methodist Church to pick out pumpkins and take photos.
They always had a large selection to choose from and many great areas for photo opportunities. On Saturdays, they usually had a family day with a petting zoo and other activities.
Niceville Dog Park
Our favorite place to take the dogs was the Niceville Dog Park, tucked behind the soccer fields at the intersection of Highway 85 N and College Blvd.
This four acre enclosed park has plenty of room for the dogs to play and shaded areas for hot days. We didn’t take the dogs as much as we would have liked after Evan was born since it was a bit of a drive from our house for short outings.
Once the Destin Dog Park opened, we started going there more regularly due to distance.
Niceville Children’s Park
Evan’s favorite park was Niceville Children’s Park. There are many different play structures to explore (including a couple for young toddlers) and a splash area during the summer.
It is one of the most well maintained parks in the area. They are closed at certain seasonal hours (from 1-3 during the summer and shorter hours during the winter) and on Monday and Tuesday for maintenance, so check the website before visiting.
There are only a couple of shaded areas, so the play equipment tends to get hot quickly during the summer.
Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox
Chad wanted to try the specialty big burger- Tanner and the Unicorn from Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox (now closed) on his lunch break with some friends, so Evan and I joined him.
Tanner and the Unicorn is a 3/4 pound burger tucked between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, a fried egg, cheese, onion rings, lettuce, and tomato. The guys eating this massive burger on their lunch break was probably a horrible idea. I don’t imagine they were very productive once returning to the office.
After they completed their burgers, the waitress informed us that there is an even larger burger not listed on the menu called Camilla the Hog. It features everything in the kitchen.
Evan and I got sliders instead- the Edward (pork belly, hoisin bbq, cilantro, carrots, scallions) and the Mosley (chicken tenders with comeback dressing). Evan thoroughly enjoyed his chicken tender sliders and the pork belly sliders were one of the most delicious little sandwiches I have tried so far. I absolutely loved the combination of flavors.
Pork Belly Sliders
I couldn’t get the pork belly sliders off my mind after trying them at Tucker Duke’s, so I searched the internet for a recipe to recreate them at home.
I found inspiration over on Damn Delicious and the flavors blended together so perfectly.
Thinly sliced pieces of pork belly are marinated in a hoisin-based sauce, pan-fried, then stacked on a slider bun with pickled carrot and daikon radish, green onion mayonnaise, and cilantro.
There are a few different steps involved, but most of the prep can be done ahead of time.
I have been able to find slabs of pork belly in markets with East Asian ingredients, specialty butchers, and more recently in larger grocery stores. Use skinless pork belly for this recipe since you will only be briefly cooking on the stove and slice it into thin pieces no wider than 1/4 inch (6 millimeters). Placing the meat in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting can help.
Dark Soy Sauce is also known as sweet soy sauce, black soy sauce, or thick soy sauce. It is available in markets with East Asian ingredients or on Amazon: Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce.
I used store-bought slider buns, but you can also make your own. Karen’s Kitchen Stories has a recipe for Homemade Slider Buns paired with her Cheeseburger Sliders.
This recipe was originally posted in August 2014 and updated June 2022.
Pork Belly Sliders Recipe
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Pork Belly Sliders
- 3 tablespoons (44 milliliters) hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) honey
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) dark soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1/2 medium onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 pound (450 grams) skinless pork belly thinly sliced
Pickled Carrot and Daikon:
- 3 ounces (85 grams) peeled and julienned carrots
- 3 ounces (85 grams) peeled and julienned daikon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) rice wine vinegar
Green Onion Mayonnaise:
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and minced
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 slider buns
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil
- Fresh cilantro
To prepare the pork belly:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, honey, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and five spice powder.
- Toss in the onion slices and pork belly slices to evenly coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
To prepare the Pickled Carrot and Daikon:
- Place the carrots and daikon in a medium bowl. Add the salt and toss to coat evenly. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the carrots and daikon and drain well. Squeeze to remove excess moisture and transfer to a clean medium bowl. Add the sugar and rice wine vinegar and toss together to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To prepare the Green Onion Mayonnaise:
- In a medium pan, drizzle oil over medium heat.
- Once heated, add the green onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender and vibrant green.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, mix the green onion and garlic into the mayonnaise. Add the black pepper and adjust flavors to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If not already sliced, cut the slider buns in half. Broil or toast the interior of the buns until golden brown.
- In a large pan, drizzle the oil over medium heat.
- Add the marinated pork belly slices in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Cook until golden brown and starting to crisp, about 4-5 minutes.
- Flip and cook the other side until golden. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining pork belly. Discard the marinade.
- Spread the green onion mayonnaise over the bottoms of the slider buns.
- Top with 2 slices of the cooked pork belly.
- Cover with the pickled carrots and daikon, along with a few fresh cilantro leaves. Place the top halves of the buns over the top.
- Serve immediately.