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austinlinecook

Why would you take the skin off pork belly?

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Well, I've been researching all the ways of cooking pork belly, and 80% of them call for the pork belly to either not have its skin or to remove the skin yourself. So uh... Why would you EVER want to remove the skin? Isn't it good to have that crackling skin on top of the piece of pork belly? Or is the layer of fat right under the skin simply too thick for people to generally enjoy? I think it's just really odd to take the skin off part of the part of the pig where the skin might be most appropriately left on.


austinlinecook.com

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I've found the skin can get a little tough when cooked conventionally, but sous vide I always leave it on. It goes wonderfully soft and luscious.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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ive made coppa and bauch speck with pork belly ive also pan fried it for an asian style salad and everytime it has been skin on even when u make bacon its skin on i dont know why but a lot of birkshire farms only do skin off

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Hi,

depending on the type of cooking, most advocate removing the skin because it does tend to be tough. In making bacon, I generally remove it after hot smoking the belly, that way the underlying fat does not get charred and it does not get in the way of the nice bacon texture when it is ready to be eaten. When I make pork chops, i do leave the skin on and in some situations it may crunch up and is delicious but sometimes it's just too chewy. It's really a matter of preference.


I'm a plant-rights activist... I only eat meat!

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i love pork, i love pigskin. After my girlfriend attended a meat seminar encouraged by her workplace per se, she over heard me ordering pork belly and she immediately started saying "order it with no skin". So apparently pigs process all the bodies toxins in there skin, just like humans. They eat a lot of food devoid of nutrition "pig slop", feces, other pigs. Now this is only true of inferior conditions. Your kurubuta pork, berkshire pork, and your other natural raised product might differ in toxicity levels, but for the most part all the toxic bacteria in pigs is pushed out through their skin. Doesnt really stop me from eating it ON OCCASION though

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Interesting. Who presented this seminar? And does anyone else have corroborating information? Google searches on "pig skin toxins" are confusing, disturbing, or both, but shed no light.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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One of the sous chefs of per se presented it

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One of the sous chefs of per se presented it

That's funny. I ate at Per Se 2.5 weeks ago and pork belly was on the menu. I don't remember clearly but I think the skin was on. A picture of the plate is included.

IMG_3258.JPG

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The only reference I can find to toxins in pig skin is here:

My link which makes the same unreferenced assertion but goes further and says we shouldn't eat pigs at all.

There are concerns about what animals are fed and pathogens in the food chain due to farming/slaughter practices (eg My link) but that isn't specific to pig. It'll take more than unreferenced scaremongering to make me give up crackling.

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I'd always leave it on. It is very simple to remove if needed once cooked or smoked. Whenever making salumi with whole muscle cuts (pancetta tessa, guanciale, prosciutto, etc. the skin is left on in my experiences). The skin is left on if cooking sous-vide as well so you can press it on a flat top to crisp the skin prior to service - YUM!

I can clearly imagine where the TOXIC comment comes from. On the larger sows we'd have to carfully remove the mammary glands from the belly as when that gets cooked it is possible to leave "piggy" flavors around. This is especially true of the fattier breeds with the THICK bellies.

YUM!

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Yeah there is obviously no skin on that picture

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I never take it off;its too delicious.

What I do is to cut the skin across the narrower direction of the belly. Cutting just deeply enough to cut through the skin but not the fat or meat. Then rub some crystal salt into the cuts

I then lay the belly skin side up on top of row of yellow onions that have been peeled and cut in half. This then goes into a low (120 C) oven for at least 3 hours.

At the end of that time I turn on the top grill in the oven to crisp up the skin. You have to watch very carefully to ensure no burning.

You can now slice the belly into nice slices each with its strip of crackling.

People rave & the onions are delicious as well.

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if you have it, I'd leave it on. My Berkshire place always takes it off, simply because the beasts are very hairy and they don't have the facility to scald and remove the hair, and even if, (they tried it once) it takes a lot of work and time to scrape all that hair off. So, they skin it. I still have some trotters they gave me for free in the freezer, all hair on. I have no idea how to get it off in a reasonable amount of time and might just toss them. I can't see myself scalding, scraping, shaving, and then burning off the last bits. There are also cuts in the skin as they simply just lopped them off to compost, so I could not use these to stuff them, which I had planned to do.

That the skin is toxic, I don't know, never heard that and unless you eat pork belly every day, I'd not worry. And if you do eat it every day, there are probably other more weighing things to worry about ;-)

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"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

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Interesting. Who presented this seminar? And does anyone else have corroborating information? Google searches on "pig skin toxins" are confusing, disturbing, or both, but shed no light.

I had never heard that before but according to one source I found on Google the toxins that the pigs are unable to process are stored in the fat, not the skin. Therefore the entire pork belly would essentially be off limits.

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it is dangerous to eat, it is more dangerous to live


It's dangerous to eat, it's more dangerous to live.

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When making rillettes I cut the belly into fairly small chunks (I like my rillettes quite smooth). I once forgot to take the skin off and had to fish the skin pieces out of the liquified porcine goodness which had taken significantly longer than if I had removed the skin before cutting it up.

Pig skin alone is a great ingredient for many charcuterie items and by itself can be made into one of the best snack items ever - chicharron/scratchings/pork rinds.

Also, some people just don't care for it, some even hate it. I am always surprised by the number of people who make a disgusted face when I mention pig skin or ear :laugh:


Vlcatko

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I doubt the concentration of toxins in the pig skin is anything to worry about. We eat toxins in our food all the time, whether it be seafood, convenience foods, or vegetables.

I always leave the skin on. After braising a piece of pork belly (or cooking sous vide), I always weigh the belly skin-side down on a searing hot skillet until it forms a delicious, crispy crust. If I take the skin off my pork belly I better be making some cracklings out of it.


Edited by Baselerd (log)

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The Chinese, for one, have been eating pork belly skin for eons. Many of the signature dishes and pork preparations of East and SE Asian cuisines would be UNIMAGINABLE without the skin on the pork belly.

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. So apparently pigs process all the bodies toxins in there skin, just like humans. They eat a lot of food devoid of nutrition "pig slop", feces, other pigs.

This is a load of hog swill. Neither pigs nor people "process all the bodies toxins" in their skin. That's the liver that does that mostly. Some toxic things (as well as vitamins) can linger in fat, but that's an exception.

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Toxic swine skin!?!?!?!

Hogwash!!!!!!

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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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