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eG Cook-Off #65: Pork Belly

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#91 huiray

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 09:52 AM

Paul Bacino, thanks for the nice compliment.



#92 huiray

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 09:42 AM

Pan-fried spicy pork belly slices.

 

Adapted from this recipe. (Google translation)

 

 

Pork belly slices, about 1/3 inch thick, tossed with ground cumin (quite a bit), ground coriander (some), ground dried hot red chilli powder, red chilli flakes & seeds (hot), several good dashes of light soy sauce, several good pours of Szechuan pepper oil {花椒油; (Rapeseed oil + Szechuan pepper (prickly ash) oil)} [Spicy King], a bit of salt.

 

This was left (covered) in the fridge for 1-2 days.

 

Pic after "fluffing up" the mixture:

DSCN0922b_800.jpg

 

 

Warmed back up to room temperature.  Glutinous rice flour added and everything tossed together (by hand; then with wet hands).

DSCN0935a_800.jpg

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The glutinous rice flour used:

DSCN0923b_800.jpg

 

 

Pan-fried (on both sides) using canola oil.

DSCN0940a_800.jpg

 

 

Drained on paper towels.

Plated with raw sliced Napa cabbage.

DSCN0944a_800.jpg

 

 

Eaten w/ cucumber+scallion pickles, kinpira gobo, white rice.  See the Dinner! thread.

 


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#93 David Ross

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 01:54 PM

The glutinous rice adds a sweet note to the pork belly is that correct?



#94 huiray

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 04:02 PM

Not really.  I used it because the recipe called for it.  It has been said elsewhere that it "binds" better and is more flexible...  The resulting fried coating is crispy enough and does seem slightly flexible but that may be my imagination.  I suspect regular rice flour would work also, hmm, worth a try.  

 

I used the ground coriander (which is not in the original recipe) to give a sweet note.


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#95 huiray

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:19 PM

Pork Belly Bak Kut Teh.

 

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶), literally "Pork Bone Tea" (in the Hokkien dialect), is a widely-eaten dish in certain parts of Malaysia and Singapore, with lesser consumption in other areas of Malaysia and SE Asia.  Every vendor of BKT will have available, at a minimum, pork spare ribs or meaty pork ribs as meat choices.  The other "meats" that will be widely available include pork belly, pig trotters, pork hocks, pig intestines (large & small), etc.  There are different "styles" of BKT and the Wiki article discusses the broad categories of them; while individual vendors will, aside from the meat(s) selections, may have their "own" idiosyncratic versions and/or hot-pot versions and/or the inclusion of stuff like enoki mushrooms or other mushrooms, Napa cabbage ("wong nga pak"), etc etc.  The rice that is served also may vary from rice cooked in stock w fried shallots and garlic to simple plain white rice, and one or the other kind may be hated or loved by one or another aficionado of BKT. Chinese crullers (油炸鬼; yau4 ja3 gwai2 (Yale) in Cantonese) are also a common accompaniment for BKT, and some folks shun rice in favor of a plate or two of crullers alone. 

 

In Chinese the character "肉" actually means, simply, "meat".  However, in the absence of any modifiers or qualifiers the default meaning when talking about Chinese (and Chinese-type) cuisine is pork, unless the context indicates something else.  (beef would be called "牛肉"; mutton/lamb would be called "羊肉" - as examples)

 

See the Google image set embedded in "肉骨茶" above for examples of this dish.  One will see different combinations of cuts of meat, including pork belly slices of course; in soups of varying darkness and with varying accompaniments. :-)

 

 

I've not infrequently made BKT with pork spare ribs and meaty ribs before.  This time, I made BKT with pork belly and short-cut pork spare ribs; using a selection of herbs in a variation of the Canto-Hoklo style.

 

 

The pork belly strip and the ribs:

DSCN0993a_800.jpg

 

 

These were cut-up into chunks.  The pork belly went into water with two whole heads of garlic and brought towards a simmer.  A selection of herbs were added in, the mixture brought to a boil, then lowered to a brisk simmer.  A little sea salt was added.  Minimal skimming was needed.

 

 

Samples of the herbs and other stuff that went in.  (Somewhat more of the dried roots/shaved rhizomes than shown actually went in)

DSCN1013a_800.jpg

Starting from top left and going clockwise: Angelica sinensis, Codonopsis pilosula Nannf., dried longan meat, Polygonatum odoratum, dried tangerine peel; and sitting on the P. odoratum is a particular sort-of smoked variety (called "lam jou") of big select dates of Ziziphus jujubaSee here for additional info about these herbs &etc.

 

 

Pic of the pot w/ stuff (somewhat blurry, sorry) after the herbs &etc went in:

DSCN0996a_800.jpg

 

 

After simmering (covered) for maybe ½ an hour the pork rib(lets) went in and the mixture simmered maybe 20 min to ½ an hour more.  The spices (see below) then went in, followed by the sauce mixture (dark soy sauce [Yuet Heung Yuen], light soy sauce [Kikkoman], oyster sauce [Lee Kum Kee]) and the mixture simmered (covered for a while more (maybe ½ an hour to 40-45 minutes more.  Abura-age (I used "sushi-age" pouches) each piece cut in half went in towards the end.

 

 

The pork ribs, sauce mix, abura-age:

DSCN0999a_800.jpg

 

 

The spices: cloves, star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom (草果):

DSCN0998a_800.jpg

 

 

The completed BKT after resting:

DSCN1002a_800.jpg

 

 

Eaten with cut-up Chinese crullers (reheated/recrisped in the oven), simple stir-fried green cabbage w/ garlic & salt, white rice (Hom Mali).

DSCN1003a_800.jpg


Edited by huiray, 26 March 2014 - 02:30 PM.

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#96 scubadoo97

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:50 PM

Pork belly buns tonight7eravesa.jpg
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#97 huiray

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:24 AM

Pork belly stewed with fresh bamboo shoots, jicama & wood-ear fungus.

 

 

The bamboo shoots, in the sink and after trimming.

DSCN1111a_640.jpg   DSCN1114a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly slices, about 1/2 inch thick each, marinated w/ Shaohsing wine, jozo mirin [Morita] & aged soy sauce [Kimlan].

DSCN1115a_800.jpg

 

 

Preserved bean curd & aka miso.

DSCN1118a_600.jpg   DSCN1123a_600.jpg

 

 

Starting from top left: Jicama (peeled, sliced into sticks) (沙葛 in Cantonese; sa1 got3); Wood-ear fungus (rehydrated dried stuff, trimmed); bamboo shoots (sliced into sticks); ginger & garlic.

DSCN1120a_800.jpg

 

 

Ginger & garlic went into the moderately hot pot w/ peanut oil, tossed (spatula) around till aromatic and just beginning to brown.  The marinated pork belly (with all of the marinade) went in next, tossed around.

DSCN1126a_800.jpg

 

 

A slurry (in some water) of the preserved bean curd & miso went in, everything stirred & tossed around.

DSCN1128a_800.jpg

 

 

Cracked white peppercorns, bay leaves plus a star anise pod also tossed in.  Stirred/cooked for a bit.  Water then added.  Stewed/braised (covered, but not a "sealing" lid) for a while; liquid allowed to reduce some.

 

 

The jicama, bamboo shoots & wood-ear fungus then went in the pot.  A bit blurry, sorry.

DSCN1130a_600.jpg

 

 

Simmered/braised down.  Seasoning adjusted.  (NB: The bean curd and miso are high-salt components)

 

 

A portion of the finished dish, eaten with softened skinny rice noodles (meifun). (Yes, it's there, underneath all the stuff)

DSCN1132a_800.jpg


Edited by huiray, 05 April 2014 - 06:49 AM.

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#98 huiray

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:49 AM

Another pork belly and bamboo shoots dish variation.

 

 

Pork belly chunks and cut-up ginger.

DSCN1193a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly sliced up.  Garlic cloves smashed and de-skinned.

Ginger sautéed w/ peanut oil till just browning.  Pork belly slices & smashed (unchopped) garlic added, everything stirred around on medium heat.  Salted.

DSCN1195a_800.jpg

 

 

Water added. Covered, simmered for a while.

 

 

Slender fresh bamboo shoots [Yu Yee brand; 如意牌 小竹筍], rinsed and soaked in water for a while, added to pot.  Simmering continued for a while.  "Soy puffs" [Nature's Soy brand], halved, added in afterwards closer to the end of cooking.

DSCN1205a_600.jpg   DSCN1197a_600.jpg

 

 

Simmered till done and pork belly slices are succulent and skin is meltingly soft.  Seasoning adjusted. 

 

 

Eaten w/ Napa cabbage stir-fried w/ garlic, and white rice.

DSCN1201a_800.jpg

DSCN1199a_800.jpg


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#99 huiray

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 08:21 AM

Pork belly & lotus root soup.

 

 

Lotus root segments, scrubbed; sliced pork belly; smashed garlic.

DSCN1253a_800.jpg

 

 

Pork belly slices beimng sautéed w/ the garlic in peanut oil.

DSCN1256a_800.jpg

 

 

Some other stuff that went into the developing soup.

Starting from 11 o'clok and going clockwise: Large Chinese jujubes, honey jujubes (Chinese red jujubes preserved by drying and soaking in honey), dried (& lightly salted) cuttlefish (three of them), dried Goji berries, raw peanuts.

DSCN1258a_800.jpg

 

 

Soup being cooked.  Salting/seasoning adjusted.

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Bowl of the finished soup.

DSCN1273a_800.jpg

 


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#100 btbyrd

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:54 AM

Pork and beans.

 

Cured belly cooked SV for 48 hours, chilled, portioned, deep fried. With navy beans, kale, pickled squash, pickled mustard seeds, and Benton's lardons.

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#101 David Ross

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 06:59 PM

Pork and beans.

 

Cured belly cooked SV for 48 hours, chilled, portioned, deep fried. With navy beans, kale, pickled squash, pickled mustard seeds, and Benton's lardons.

That is one good looking "Pork n'Bean" stew. 



#102 btbyrd

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 07:18 PM

That is one good looking "Pork n'Bean" stew. 

 

Thanks! I wanted to do an upscale version of a classic southern dish... I wanted something that spoke to my southern roots but also used a lot of modern techniques. A lot of the components were prepared from recipes on the ChefSteps website. I did their sous vide navy beans but cooked them in demiglace instead of water and then combined them with onion, garlic, and tomato paste in the pan that was used to fry up the Benton's lardons. The mustard seeds were pickled using the ChefSteps recipe but I used black mustard seeds rather than yellow. I also cooked the kale sous vide (also from a ChefSteps) and used their guidelines for brining and cooking pork belly. I pickled the squash in a chamber vac with rice wine vinegar, mirin, and salt.

 

Very good results! A very balanced dish. I totally plan on making it again.



#103 GRoston

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 08:27 PM

The theme of this post has a defintie far-Eastern flavor - any options from the other side of the world?

 

I just ordered a Rec Tec pellet smoker and would like to try cooking with pork belly. It occurred to me that I could prepare one in much the same way as one smokes a pork shoulder - dry rub and low heat. Would this approach yield a meal worth eating?

 

With regard to buying a belly - I strongly suspect that I will have no problems getting them from Detroit's Eastern Market. There are numerous wholesale/retail butchers there who carry just about anythign one can imagine.



#104 David Ross

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:32 AM

The theme of this post has a defintie far-Eastern flavor - any options from the other side of the world?

 

I just ordered a Rec Tec pellet smoker and would like to try cooking with pork belly. It occurred to me that I could prepare one in much the same way as one smokes a pork shoulder - dry rub and low heat. Would this approach yield a meal worth eating?

 

With regard to buying a belly - I strongly suspect that I will have no problems getting them from Detroit's Eastern Market. There are numerous wholesale/retail butchers there who carry just about anythign one can imagine.

Yes, indeed, using the method you describe for pork shoulder would certainly work for pork belly.  You could take it a step further and add curing salt to the dry rub, let it sit for a week or two and then put it in your smoker---you'll end up with bacon with meat that has that characteristic rosy hue.  But if you just do a dry rub, let it sit overnight and then smoke it you'll still have delicious results. When I make it this way I like to cut the smoked belly into chunks then saute it, fat side down, to crisp the skin.   

 

Experiment with the dry rub.  I've done rubs with zatar spices and aleppo pepper and it gave the pork a whisper of more exotic flavors than the typical Cajun mix I use. 



#105 chefmd

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:40 AM

Pork and beans.

 

Cured belly cooked SV for 48 hours, chilled, portioned, deep fried. With navy beans, kale, pickled squash, pickled mustard seeds, and Benton's lardons.

What temperature for pork belly?  The dish looks stunning.



#106 David Ross

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:41 AM

Thanks! I wanted to do an upscale version of a classic southern dish... I wanted something that spoke to my southern roots but also used a lot of modern techniques. A lot of the components were prepared from recipes on the ChefSteps website. I did their sous vide navy beans but cooked them in demiglace instead of water and then combined them with onion, garlic, and tomato paste in the pan that was used to fry up the Benton's lardons. The mustard seeds were pickled using the ChefSteps recipe but I used black mustard seeds rather than yellow. I also cooked the kale sous vide (also from a ChefSteps) and used their guidelines for brining and cooking pork belly. I pickled the squash in a chamber vac with rice wine vinegar, mirin, and salt.

 

Very good results! A very balanced dish. I totally plan on making it again.

Thanks for the details on each element of the dish--it really gives us more insight of the characteristics of the ingredients and how they all came together in the dish.  You've got some wonderful textures and sweet/sour/salty flavors going on.  (And I think we need some sour/pickle tastes when we sup on a rich pork belly).

 

Do you find the Benton's lardons overly salty?  And following on that thought, did you add much salt to season the finished dish?  I always think it's a bit tricky to give pork enough salt so it's not bland, but go too far and all you taste is salt, not the subtle taste of the pork meat.



#107 GRoston

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:37 AM

Experiment with the dry rub.  I've done rubs with zatar spices and aleppo pepper and it gave the pork a whisper of more exotic flavors than the typical Cajun mix I use. 

Maybe living near the largest Middle Eastern community outside of the Middle East has sensitized me a bit, but it always feels a bit odd seasoning pork with zatar - but that doesn't stop me.


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#108 huiray

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:11 AM

Maybe living near the largest Middle Eastern community outside of the Middle East has sensitized me a bit, but it always feels a bit odd seasoning pork with zatar - but that doesn't stop me.

 

I don't see why not, though.  Please do try it out with that smoked pork belly, I'd love to read about it.

 

FWIW there are any number of recipes pairing pork with za'atar out there on the web.  :-) 



#109 huiray

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:43 AM

Thanks! I wanted to do an upscale version of a classic southern dish... I wanted something that spoke to my southern roots but also used a lot of modern techniques. A lot of the components were prepared from recipes on the ChefSteps website. I did their sous vide navy beans but cooked them in demiglace instead of water and then combined them with onion, garlic, and tomato paste in the pan that was used to fry up the Benton's lardons. The mustard seeds were pickled using the ChefSteps recipe but I used black mustard seeds rather than yellow. I also cooked the kale sous vide (also from a ChefSteps) and used their guidelines for brining and cooking pork belly. I pickled the squash in a chamber vac with rice wine vinegar, mirin, and salt.

 

Very good results! A very balanced dish. I totally plan on making it again.

 

Nice looking dish!  I must confess, though, that for myself, personally, I don't really hanker for "pork and beans", at least not the US Southern style.  It's mainly the beans part.  (Never really cared for English-style or New England-style baked beans that much, either)  Now if your dish was served on a bed of couscous, say, my ears would prick up, so to speak!  Such are the vagaries of personal taste. :-) 

 

I also confess I can't really conjure up in my mind many examples of US-Southern dishes using pork belly, other than as bacon or its close cousins.  A 5-second google search turns up a bunch of stuff including Asian-inflected dishes - like roast pork belly... but from your vantage point (and any other Southerners please add on to this) what sort of things would pork belly be regularly used for other than bacon & related in US Southern cuisine? Skin-on or skin-off?  Skin crispy or meltingly-soft?

 

A quick flip through the old Time-Life Foods of the World "American Cooking: Southern Style" also turns up nothing much other than bacon/slab bacon.


Edited by huiray, 22 April 2014 - 08:03 AM.


#110 btbyrd

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:17 AM

What temperature for pork belly?  The dish looks stunning.

 

36 hours at 70C. Thanks!

 

Do you find the Benton's lardons overly salty?  And following on that thought, did you add much salt to season the finished dish?  I always think it's a bit tricky to give pork enough salt so it's not bland, but go too far and all you taste is salt, not the subtle taste of the pork meat.

 

The first time I ordered Bentons, I found it almost offensively salty when eaten on its own. I'm not sure if that batch was saltier than what I've gotten since, but I discovered that if I cook it so that it looks a little bit underdone (compared to where I would cook wet cured bacon) the result is much less salty. I'm not a big fan of floppy or limp bacon so I had been overcooking it to ensure crispiness. The results were salty shards of pork instead of delicious bacon. The texture can be deceptive when it's in the pan; once it's been drained and slightly cooled, the texture is much firmer/crisper than it looked like it would be. Once I tried deliberately undercooking it, everything came out perfectly.

 

As for salt, I didn't add too much because I'd brined/cured the belly prior to cooking. Once I pulled it from the fryer I tossed it in a glaze of soy, mirin, honey, paprika, and aleppo chili flake. The soy added a bit of salt but I didn't use a heavy hand.

 

Nice looking dish!  I must confess, though, that for myself, personally, I don't really hanker for "pork and beans", at least not the US Southern style.  It's mainly the beans part.  (Never really cared for English-style or New England-style baked beans that much, either)  Now if your dish was served on a bed of couscous, say, my ears would prick up, so to speak!  Such are the vagaries of personal taste. :-) 

 

I also confess I can't really conjure up in my mind many examples of US-Southern dishes using pork belly, other than as bacon or its close cousins.  A 5-second google search turns up a bunch of stuff including Asian-inflected dishes - like roast pork belly... but from your vantage point (and any other Southerners please add on to this) what sort of things would pork belly be regularly used for other than bacon & related in US Southern cuisine? Sin-on or skin-off?  Crispy or meltingly-soft?

 

A quick flip through the old Time-Life Foods of the World "American Cooking: Southern Style" also turns up nothing much other than bacon/slab bacon.

 

I'm not the biggest fan of beans either, but the combination of belly/bacon and beans is delicious. It's "stick to your ribs" fare, and it was perfect for a chilly late-winter/early-spring evening. I doubt I'll be eating it in the middle of summer! Like you mention, I don't know of many classic southern dishes that use uncured belly... it's mostly just bacon, bacon, bacon. On menus I've come across a few dishes that use a sweet glaze on traditionally braised belly, but I don't see it very often. I don't know why this cut isn't more popular in the US, and in the south in particular. Many Asian cuisines celebrate this part of the pig, and rightly so.  I must confess that the belly I used for this dish came from my freezer's "Pork belly for ramen" section. I love to pick up a slab of belly from the farmer's market, portion it, brine it, cook it sous vide, and freeze it in the bag. The quality doesn't really suffer from being frozen after cooking and then you've always got braised belly on hand.



#111 huiray

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:02 AM

@btbyrd, thanks for the response.   I'm glad that I wasn't hallucinating about uncured pork belly (insofar as your experiences gel with my impressions) being not that common in US-Southern cooking.  Well, as for "bacon" with stuff, now I have a serious hankering for collards-with-ham hocks/bacon...maybe I'll go for lunch at a Southern Cuisine place in my area... :-) 



#112 huiray

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 01:40 PM

Pork belly fried rice.

 

With ramps, scallions, celery, eggs.  Sea salt as sole other seasoning.

 

Chopped ramp bulbs & gently crushed scallion whites trimmed to 2-inch lengths (halved) sautéed in vegetable oil.  Thinly-sliced pork belly (skin removed) added, salted, left to "brown" slightly and be "released" from the pan surface; turned over/tossed over roughly with the spatula, sautéed a bit more.  Reserved.  More oil added to pan juices/liquids, 3 farm eggs broken directly into the pan, scrambled/"marbled" in situ.  Several-days-old white rice added, mixed in/tossed around.  Reserved pork belly & ramp bulbs & scallion whites added back in, mixed/turned.  Chopped celery followed by the leafy parts plus purplish-stems of the ramps then went in, everything tossed/mixed around on high heat till done.  Covered for a minute.  Served w/ chopped scallions (mostly green parts).

 

DSCN1348a_800.jpg

DSCN1352a_800.jpg

 


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#113 SobaAddict70

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 02:14 PM

I'm not the biggest fan of beans either, but the combination of belly/bacon and beans is delicious. It's "stick to your ribs" fare, and it was perfect for a chilly late-winter/early-spring evening. I doubt I'll be eating it in the middle of summer! Like you mention, I don't know of many classic southern dishes that use uncured belly... it's mostly just bacon, bacon, bacon. On menus I've come across a few dishes that use a sweet glaze on traditionally braised belly, but I don't see it very often. I don't know why this cut isn't more popular in the US, and in the south in particular. Many Asian cuisines celebrate this part of the pig, and rightly so.  I must confess that the belly I used for this dish came from my freezer's "Pork belly for ramen" section. I love to pick up a slab of belly from the farmer's market, portion it, brine it, cook it sous vide, and freeze it in the bag. The quality doesn't really suffer from being frozen after cooking and then you've always got braised belly on hand.



It may be that perhaps you're not looking in the right place.
 

After Spice closed, Nutter and Richards moved as a team through upscale hotel kitchens, including the Oakroom in Louisville, Kentucky, where they won a national reputation and where Richards, as executive chef, crafted comparatively stripped-down dishes like a “pork and beans” of pork belly and white beans, glazed with a bourbon-molasses sauce he learned from his grandfather.


http://www.southernf...g-darryl-evans/ comes to mind, for example.



#114 gfweb

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 06:19 PM

I've had some gross and fatty pork belly over the years, but the beautiful stuff in this thread motivated me to try it myself. As a tentative first step I've made some bacon.

 

Pork belly after a week of cure

IMG_20140502_192940_011.jpg

 

Applewood-smoked for an hour in my cool (as opposed to cold) smoker. Temp gets to about 85F if the ambient temp is <70.

IMG_20140502_183005_368.jpg

 

Frying bacon.  Tasty, smoky...a little salty; but definitely worth a second chance.

IMG_20140502_210555_070.jpg


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#115 David Ross

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:41 PM

Nicely done.  I shall take slabs of thick-cut bacon any time of day.



#116 huiray

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:08 AM

Pork belly & lotus root soup.  See here.


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