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Siu Yook (Roast Pork Belly)


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Any luck with making this yet Saladfingers? I made some yesterday with a small piece of belly using the overnight vodka method. I think this is my favourite denaturing agent now, very consistent results. Cooked for one hour at 200C then finished under the grill till the crackling blisters. Here is a pic of it after the scraping, though thinking about it now i should have taken a pic of it before scraping, just for the record - will do so next time!

gallery_52657_5922_265776.jpg

and chopped up:

gallery_52657_5922_73737.jpg

This thread has been great, i now get perfect results every time. My wife even said that it's better than the shops! Though the difference for me is that i use top quality rare-breed pork to begin with. This one was a Tamworth - delicious.

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It's only a gentle scraping of the very top of the layer where the crackling is uneven and maybe slightly charred in places. The scrapings are like fine sawdust that can be blown off (if you were cooking for loved ones) or tapped off. I'll definitely take a pic next time.

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Overnight none for this last piece but before cooking i sprinkled some, just enough as if you were seasoning it.

I start off with a dry skin anyway because of the pork i use. If i had some wan & flaccid regular supermarket pork then i would probably have to take additional steps to get the crackling just right i.e. i would use salt to draw out extra moisture overnight.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey, I've been challenged to a 'cook off' with a local Chinese restaurant by some friends and have decided to do some Siu Yook as I want to try some of the suggestions in this thread. I was thinking of preparing the skin with Vodka but will try Lye or diluted Lye water also to see if I get any better results while I'm at it.

One question I had though was about the marinade....it looks as though the marinade suggested here is a relatively dry one. I was wondering what your thoughts were on using similar spices in a wetter brine for a couple of days? While the skin is drying out, the meat could be immersed in a brine to tenderise. Although this probably isn't the traditional method, is there any reason why this wouldn't work? Would the meat be too salty?

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I would go for the simple dry rub of five spice and salt. A good alternative would be hoi-sin. If you experiment too much with the flavourings then you are losing the essence of this dish - roast pork! It'll be difficult to beat the pros especially if you've never cooked this dish before. It may seem simple but it will take a few attempts to get it just right. I think your best chance is to start with some really high-quality pork. That is going to be your biggest and maybe only advantage over your local.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with prawncracker on getting the best piece of pork you can find.

I've tried various sources for pork belly and the result does vary greatly from place to place.

Thing is even if you get the best piece you can find you might still not have the edge as the restaurant will have specialist food suppliers.

If you think the marinade is too dry just double up on the recipe and add some oil.

Cut thinner slices on the meat side to allow the marinade to get in deeper to the meat.

Marinade for 2 days.

You could jaccard the meat or maybe even use a vaccum marinator.

just depends how desperate you are to win? :smile:

what's the prize? apart from bragging rights?

Some extra tips to help you along

get the flattest piece of pork belly you can find that has a good layer of fat.

Really puncture the skin lots! spend 5-10 minute hammering the skin with a spiked hammer then use a knife to score the meat.

Use crush sea salt not table salt for the skin and really rub it in.

Use 40% vodka ot even 50% if you can find it.

Lye is brilliant for the crackling but not so good for the taste of it.

Take the pork belly out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking to come up to room temperature.

Definitely pre heat the oven to as hot as possible.

buy a piece of pork belly and cook a practise piece and eat it :)

Add some msg into the marinade :wink: you know your local will!

and good luck!

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, apologies for ignoring your questions.

I've moved house and live down the road from an award winning butchers. I'm cooking pork belly in my *Remoska* at the moment because I do not have a kitchen at the moment. Using a remoska, I can not control the temperature and I don't know what temperature it is cooking at but after 1 hour of cooking, I already appear to have beautiful crackling. My 3rd attempt and finally I seem to be getting some success!

My prep was to just rub salt into the scored rind and leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours. I assume leaving it to dry for 24 hours has benefited but here's my question, which I hope I can phrase properly:

When I bought this pork (high quality), above the thick layer of fat is a thin, hard layer (what I believe is the rind?!). The butcher asked if I'd like it scored so I agreed. I was surprised at how shallow the scores were as I expected it the cut through the top layer of fat, which it doesn't.

Previous pork belly I've had has for eg, come from Marks and Spencer (UK) which did not have this thin, hard layer (rind?) - Could this be what was lacking and therefore preventing me from getting crackling? I assumed the crackling came from the thicker layer of fat beneath it. Urgh, I'm so ignorant, I'm not even sure this question makes sense.

Thanks for the advice - In future I will apply vodka/lye water or 5 spice etc etc - but for this attempt I wanted to keep it as simple as possible by just using salt.

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  • 5 months later...

I've bought myself a 5 Kg piece of pork belly. After reading for days on end on every forum, every blog, and watching every video I could find I've come up with the following method of cooking which has been inspired by alot of the techniques that have been mentioned in this thread.

1. Pour boiling water over the pork belly until the skin begins to retract and let dry.

2. Poke with as many holes as possible.

3. Rub the skin with vodka and let it dry (thank you Origamecrane)

4. Season with salt all over the belly, and whatever else you want. I'm going for garlic and five spice.

5. I'm using stainless steel hooks for mine to hang it in the oven. I'm placing a rack at the very top and one on the very bottom with a tray underneath to catch the drippings which I'm saving for the rice.

6. Roast the pork at 375 for 2 hours. If the skin hasn't blistered enough at this point place it under the broiler.

Any suggestions? Either way I'll post pics and share my results.

bork bork bork

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Looks like vodka is the way to go, but does anybody know what its principle of crispening is? Increasing the pH speeds up the Maillard reaction:

http://blog.khymos.org/2008/09/26/speeding-up-the-maillard-reaction/

but what and how does the vodka do, exactly? And has anybody tried vodka with a higher pH, say with some baking soda added?

Has anybody tried brining their pork belly? Is it contribute any additional juiciness?

What do the results of all these tests mean for brined turkey? The brined turkey that I roast usually comes out with very little colour, but if all it takes to make it beautiful is some vodka... :hmmm:

Edited by HowardLi (log)
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Looks like vodka is the way to go, but does anybody know what its principle of crispening is? Increasing the pH speeds up the Maillard reaction:

http://blog.khymos.org/2008/09/26/speeding-up-the-maillard-reaction/

but what and how does the vodka do, exactly? And has anybody tried vodka with a higher pH, say with some baking soda added?

Has anybody tried brining their pork belly? Is it contribute any additional juiciness?

What do the results of all these tests mean for brined turkey? The brined turkey that I roast usually comes out with very little colour, but if all it takes to make it beautiful is some vodka... :hmmm:

hi howard

I'm not 100% sure of what the scientific explanation for how the vodka effects the crackling

but i am guessing that it is a combination of alkali corrosive attack on the skin and dehydrating properties of the alcohol.

If you look back to my cooking experiment

cooking experiment

you can see the effect of altering the PH

generally the more acidic or alkaline it is the better the results.

But just as a warning we have noticed that using too much of a strong alkali might have two possible detrimental effects

1. it may cause the crackling to lift off the meat

2. it may cause the fat to saponify which will leave an undesirable flavour

but yes i believe that vodka might increase the malliard reaction in this case as in the experiment, i did notice that the vodka and lye piece were blistering much earlier then the others.

I've never seen the need to brine pork belly for roast pork.

I think brining pork is only of use if your piece is particularly lean or you want to add some additional flavour to the meat.

but you can always give it a try and see what happens :)

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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  • 4 years later...

Sorry for the very late reply.

 

It is well-known that drier skin crisps more readily than skin that has retained more water.http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/the-best-baked-buffalo-chicken-wings-in-oven-not-fried-appetizers.html

 

The vodka may assist in this manner, or others, due to any one or combination of the following effects:

 

1) The ethanol sucks the water out of the skin cells through osmosis, directly drying at least the top layer of skin

2) The ethanol damages the cells/cell membranes, allowing them to burst more readily (?)

3) The ethanol dissolves some of the fat in the skin, whereupon application of heat causes the ethanol to boil away and create additional blisters

 

Reading material:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9539383

http://www.alcoholjournal.org/article/S0741-8329(02)00198-2/abstract

http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skin-care-basics/_/alcohol-in-skin-care-the-facts

hi howard
I'm not 100% sure of what the scientific explanation for how the vodka effects the crackling
but i am guessing that it is a combination of alkali corrosive attack on the skin and dehydrating properties of the alcohol.

If you look back to my cooking experiment
cooking experiment
you can see the effect of altering the PH

generally the more acidic or alkaline it is the better the results.

But just as a warning we have noticed that using too much of a strong alkali might have two possible detrimental effects
1. it may cause the crackling to lift off the meat
2. it may cause the fat to saponify which will leave an undesirable flavour

but yes i believe that vodka might increase the malliard reaction in this case as in the experiment, i did notice that the vodka and lye piece were blistering much earlier then the others.

I've never seen the need to brine pork belly for roast pork.
I think brining pork is only of use if your piece is particularly lean or you want to add some additional flavour to the meat.

but you can always give it a try and see what happens :)

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