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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #65: Pork Belly

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Welcome back to a time-honored, cherished eG tradition, the eG Cook-Off Series. Today were venturing into a new world for Cook-Off's. Member Kerry Beal came forward with a Cook-Off idea we just couldn't pass up--Pork Belly--and inspired a new idea for future Cook-Off's. Knowing we're a community of great culinary minds, we'll be inviting the Members to send us ideas for potential future Cook-Off's, (more information to come later). Take it away Kerry and let's raid the larder and start cookin.

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Welcome to the latest of our eG Cook-Off series. The series has been ongoing since 2004 and has encompassed topics as far ranging as ice cream, composed salads, gels and aspics, pizza, bibimbap, tamales...



The index for previous Cook-Off’s can be found here.



When I joined eG in 2005 I’d never cooked pork belly - I suspect the only pork belly I’d knowingly eaten had been in the form of bacon!



I’ve learned a lot since then - and pork belly is something I’ve added to my rotation in a variety of forms - chicharrón, red cooked pork, steamed, sous vide and deep fried. I have a few recipes set aside for future experiments.



I’ve found inspiration in numerous places on eG - Pork Belly, all 11 pages and in every edition of the Dinner thread since the time of it’s inception.



It’s a necessary part of cooking with Momofuku, Ivan Ramen and Fuchsia Dunlop among many others.



It’s hard to find a previous Cook-Off topic that doesn’t make use of pork belly somewhere (perhaps the ice cream topic!)



There seems to be a debate about crispy vs non crispy skin - or even if skin should be on or off.



So dig out your woks, your deep fryers, your sous vide setup, your steaming baskets - and let’s show each other what we can do with this lovely porcine cut!

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Great idea!

PC for me, finished under a broiler.

Hope to refine this (skin part of a butt).

IMG_8534.JPG

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So I've had this lingering question about the belly of a pig. The only local market source I have for pork belly is the local Asian market. The pork belly is cheap, but it's also fairly thin and doesn't have a lot of meat. It cooks well and works in certain dishes, but I'd probably never use it to make bacon.

-Starting with the pig's family tree, does a heritage breed pig produce a more flavorful pork belly? Or, owing to its nature as a pig with a thick layer of fat, does a heritage breed Berkshire or Kurobuta have a thick enough layer of meat to produce a better belly than the factory-farm Duroc?

-Does the thickness of the pork belly make any difference in the final dish?

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The breeds preferred for bacon are known as 'deep-bodied', so yes, I think the thickness of the belly is important. Tamworth is quite prized in this regard.

Edit: As I understand it, this is a lean breed, so the low fat content could also be significant.


Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)
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It would be an interesting comparison to do a pork belly dish between the two--a heritage breed and a large commercially bred and raised pig. My favorite pork belly dish is done in a "confit" style and I prefer a heavier ratio of fat to meat.

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IMG_1043.jpg

Won't win any awards for pretty - but this is the last pork belly I made - following the link provided by Franci here. Poached, fried, poached again in tea, steamed. Yummy!

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Not really pork belly but this was done before the start of this topic......pork leg wrapped in pork skin and roasted very slowly. Skin taken off the roast and baked at 450 F until the skin puffed, crispy! Turned out very puffed so this could apply to belly roasted, then crispened.

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My first and only at temp at pork belly. Bought frozen from a local ethnic market. Not the meatiest as many bellies I see posted here. My wife won't touch it so this was made when she was away

The belly was portioned and cooked SV 82C/12 hr, pressed and cooled overnight. Cut and seared before serving

Posted Image

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attachicon.gifIMG_1043.jpg

Won't win any awards for pretty - but this is the last pork belly I made - following the link provided by Franci here. Poached, fried, poached again in tea, steamed. Yummy!

That looks delicious. I never would have thought of poaching a pork belly but I will now.

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On 2/15/2014 at 8:55 AM, David Ross said:
On 2/15/2014 at 10:45 PM, Kerry Beal said:

attachicon.gifIMG_1043.jpg

Won't win any awards for pretty - but this is the last pork belly I made - following the link provided by Franci here. Poached, fried, poached again in tea, steamed. Yummy!

That looks delicious. I never would have thought of poaching a pork belly but I will now.

Really? Lots of ways that pork belly is cooked by poaching/simmering, in various cuisines. That is, if poaching = gentle simmering (as both Larousse and Davidson say is the general understanding). If one holds that 'poaching' is done at a temperature clearly below boiling point, at 160-185ºF and is different from 'simmering', then the recipe used by/referred to by Kerry Beal via Franci SIMMERS the pork belly, not poach it. The recipe uses both terms but it is clear (and appropriate) that the pork belly is cooked in liquid at a temperature such that very gentle agitation/bubbling occurs.

 

Dong Po pork (that recipe) is a famous Chinese dish. Perhaps you have not had it or heard of it? Have you also had things like Kow Yuk or Peranakan preparations of pork belly? See here for some links in the recent updates (i.e. merged thread) to the pork belly thread - you participated there also, but I'm sure it has slipped your mind. Franci posted about that recipe she used there too. Some babi pongteh in this post here (scroll down) and here; and some babi chin in this post here (scroll to the bottom of that post).

 

Another way of using pork belly was recently shown in this post here - in rice congee, where the belly slices were simmered for a while before adding the rice and continuing.

 

ETA: One version of dong po pork I made last year was here (scroll down to the 5th and 6th sub-entries).


Edited by huiray Updated all the (eG) links (log)
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Oooooh oooooh ooooooh I'm in, I'm in!!!

I just posted a pic a couple days ago on the pork belly thread. My husband bought two from the Asian Market. One he's curing for bacon, the other is mine to play with. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do. The first one I ever did I used this method :

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/128753-roast-crispy-pork-aka-chinese-siu-yook/

Here is what mine looked like:

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/20297-pork-belly/?p=1951012

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I'm in. Belly currently defrosting. Being an honourary Dane by marriage must have crispy skin (sorry huiray).


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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It would be an interesting comparison to do a pork belly dish between the two--a heritage breed and a large commercially bred and raised pig. My favorite pork belly dish is done in a "confit" style and I prefer a heavier ratio of fat to meat.

Ruhlman discussed heritage and commercial bellies in the blog: http://ruhlman.com/?s=pork+belly+ Look at the third photo.

I'll be looking for a commercial pork belly with bone in, as meaty and fatty as possible.

I'll be using a pressure cooker, as it is the anti-sous vide and bears some similarity to slow roasting. The dry steam penetrates effectively at 225 F - 250 F, and there is no turbulence on the bottom as long as the steam release is quiet, not hissing. Since the vessel is sealed, moistness is retained while the collagen breaks down.

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Looks delicious. Can you give us some details on the cooking steps?

I don't really have a recipe - I've made it a few times now based loosely on various recipes I found on the internet.

This article is pretty good:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/03/the-food-lab-ramen-edition-how-to-make-chashu-pork-belly.html

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Food Blog: Menu In Progress

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Looks delicious. Can you give us some details on the cooking steps?

I don't really have a recipe - I've made it a few times now based loosely on various recipes I found on the internet.

This article is pretty good:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/03/the-food-lab-ramen-edition-how-to-make-chashu-pork-belly.html

Well, shoot. I don't have sake or mirin. I'll have to google and see if I could sub something.

Google says I could put some sugar in white wine……..


Edited by Shelby (log)

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Well, you can't have everything. The dish stands alone on its merits.

But of course. It was a reminder on my part that there are other ways to enjoy pork belly without the skin being crispy, as some might require.

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Looks delicious. Can you give us some details on the cooking steps?

I don't really have a recipe - I've made it a few times now based loosely on various recipes I found on the internet.

This article is pretty good:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/03/the-food-lab-ramen-edition-how-to-make-chashu-pork-belly.html

Well, shoot. I don't have sake or mirin. I'll have to google and see if I could sub something.

Google says I could put some sugar in white wine……..

Maybe cooking sherry?

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Food Blog: Menu In Progress

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I did this little chunk of Love-- using this recipe

http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/sous-vide-101-pork-belly-buns.html

I cooked mine 170F sous vide for 10 hrs.

Served with my home-made Yellow eyed beans and cucumber /black radish pickle.

To finish the pork I use a non stick skillet with a we bit of oil,,, the one thing I missed on was a crispy exterior?

IMG_7097.JPG

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Its good to have Morels

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I'll be looking for a commercial pork belly with bone in, as meaty and fatty as possible.

I'll be using a pressure cooker, as it is the anti-sous vide and bears some similarity to slow roasting. The dry steam penetrates effectively at 225 F - 250 F, and there is no turbulence on the bottom as long as the steam release is quiet, not hissing. Since the vessel is sealed, moistness is retained while the collagen breaks down.

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