Cajun Rillons


Cajun Rillons

This recipe for morsels of tender, rich pork coated in a sweet-savory red-wine caramel. Its a candied pork belly that tastes like raisins/grape jelly. For your next gathering, think beyond the cocktail meatball.
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Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Cajun, Pork
Servings 12 servings
Calories 891 kcal


  • pounds skinless pork belly
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups red wine
  • cups packed light brown sugar
  • 9 sprigs fresh thyme


  • Slice pork belly into 1½-inch-thick strips, then cut strips crosswise into 1½-inch-thick pieces. Transfer pork to large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Pat pork dry with paper towels. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork and cook, turning occasionally, until fat is rendered and pork is well browned on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large plate. Repeat with remaining pork. Pour off fat from pot and reserve for another use.
  • Add wine and sugar to now-empty pot and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds. Add thyme sprigs and pork and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Cover; reduce heat to low; and simmer until pork is tender, 1½ to 2 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  • Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large plate; discard thyme sprigs. Cook wine mixture over high heat, stirring often, until sauce is thick and syrupy and registers 225 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Off heat, return pork to sauce and stir to coat. Let cool for 10 minutes, then stir again to coat with sauce. Serve.



Inspired by the rillons we tried at Toups' Meatery in New Orleans and adapted from the cookbook Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking (2018). Curing the pork with a precise amount of salt overnight seasoned it thoroughly and kept it juicy through long cooking. Browning the pork in batches allowed us to pour off the excess fat that would otherwise pool in the finished sauce, and cooking that sauce to exactly 225 degrees guaranteed that it was perfectly thick and glaze-like.


Calories: 891kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 13gFat: 75gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1121mgPotassium: 383mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 52IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
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