Chef J Gamboa’s roasted US beef belly

This recipe for the ultimate slow-roasted US beef belly is the signature dish of the famous Cirkulo restaurant in Makati

By Monica De Leon

Cirkulo restaurant executive chef-owner J Gamboa shares his restaurant's roasted US beef belly recipe, a simple get-ahead meal to prepare for Sunday lunch or dinner with a special horseradish cream sauce. It’s made using only a few, easy-to-find ingredients. The key to success is to roast the beef belly in the oven for hours at low temperature, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth succulent meat.  

Cirkulo’s roasted US beef belly ingredients
Serves six to 10 people

1 piece boneless beef belly, about three to four kilograms. Ask your butcher for the “bacon” area of the cow.
½ cup whole peppercorns, crushed
½ cup rock salt
2 heads garlic, peeled and minced

1. Preheat the oven to 280 degrees Farenheit.
2. Mix the crushed peppercorns, salt and garlic into a paste. Rub this mixture on the topside of the beef.

3. Place the beef on a rack and onto a roasting pan. Place in the oven at 280F for four to five hours or until tender. The oven temperature must be this low in order to break down the connective tissues of the beef resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth, succulent roast beef. Test for tenderness with a kitchen fork after four hours.  Once done, take the beef out of the oven and let it stand for at least one hour before slicing. Serve with horseradish sauce.
4. You can serve the dish with steamed asparagus and zucchini, and roasted tomatoes.

You can cook the beef for up to two days ahead before serving. Just keep it in the refrigerator. To reheat, slice the beef while cold into 1/3 inch thick slices and arrange the slices in such a way they overlap each other on a baking tray; pour half cup of stock or water over the beef. Cover with foil, and bake in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce
1 cup prepared horseradish, available at delis and supermarkets
1 cup milk
1 tsp chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the sauce ingredients. Mix well.


About J Gamboa
J Gamboa is executive chef of Milkyway CaféCirkuloAzu Thai and Tsukiji, and director for education of LTB Philippines Chefs Association. He holds a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the US, finishing cum laude. He underwent further training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Sunrice Alan Ducasse Formation in Singapore, and the Callebaut Chocolate College, also in Singapore.

Published January 2016