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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #65: Pork Belly

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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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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.  :-) 

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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 (log)

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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.

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@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... :-) 

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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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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.southernfoodways.org/remembering-darryl-evans/ comes to mind, for example.

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

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Pork belly & lotus root soup.  See here.


Edited by huiray Updated eG link (log)
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Pork belly rice congee 2014-0824

 

Pork belly strip, skin-on, cut into slices about ¼ inch thick.  Sautéed w/ ginger & garlic, chicken fat (rendered in the pot).  Salted.

 

DSCN2497a_600.jpg

 

 

Preserved mustard stems (see below) (榨菜; Cantonese ja3 choi3), rinsed, were added. 

 

The brand of mustard stems used today.

DSCN2510a_600.jpg

 

Stuff in the pot.

DSCN2499a_600.jpg

 

 

Water followed, and the mixture was simmered (covered) for about ¾ hour. 

 

Long grain rice went in, everything given a good stir, and simmering resumed for another ¾ hour or thereabouts.  Water was added to adjust the consistency of the congee.  Quartered soy puffs (these) went in about halfway through.

 

A bowl of the finished congee, topped w/ chopped scallions & coriander leaves, deep-fried sliced shallots, and Tianjin preserved vegetable (these).

 

DSCN2509b_800.jpg

 

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Marinated pork belly with Asian flavours and crispy crackling.

Recipes adapted from Kylie Kwong a brilliant fifth generation Chinese Australian chef. 

 

Link to details https://www.facebook.com/Whats-for-dinner--1427021760943871/

 

The pork belly.

image.jpeg

 

The meal, with rice, cucumber salad, eggplant salad, lettuce to wrap, and lime pepper dipping sauce.

image.jpeg

 

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Im a  Kylie Kwong fan

 

which book did you use for the pork inspiration ?

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14 hours ago, rotuts said:

Im a  Kylie Kwong fan

 

which book did you use for the pork inspiration ?

It was a recipe I found on line at the Guardian of all places.

I have her Simple Chinese cooking (where the salads came from) and My China which is part travelogue plus great recipes and the stories behind them.

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Babi Assam.

 

Based on recipe P39 of irene's peranakan recipes (Epigram Books).

 

Some of the ingredients: sliced pork belly (skin on)**, taucheo (as whole beans), hot long green chillies.

DSCN7649a_600.jpg.f6216ea14a6e2380605d32

** DEFINITELY skin-on. One of the glories of dishes like this with pork belly is the smooth, unctuous, gelatinous and meltingly tender thick-ish skin (which would have swollen up a bit in thickness) that is obtained at the end of the cooking process.

 

Chopped shallots (bawang merah), candlenuts (buah keras; Aleurites moluccanus), toasted belacan (fermented shrimp paste, dry compressed) (see here too) ground up w/ mortar & pestle.

DSCN7652a_600.jpg.9068e19f3013535f94ce95

 

Tamarind paste [Dragonfly], cut from a block, slurried in hot water, squishing with the spoon to aid the process.

DSCN7655a_600.jpg.cddedffa40982327497f71

This is filtered through a metal sieve, pressing the solids against the sieve.

 

Not shown: Sufficient fermented soy beans (taucheo) (scooped out; minus most of the soaking liquid, which is very salty) was ground up/smashed into a paste with the mortar & pestle after scooping out the shallot-belacan-candlenut ground-up mixture.

 

Cooking: Medium-hot peanut oil in pot, shallot-belacan-candlenut ground mixture, fry till fragrant and beginning to deepen in color. Add the taucheo paste. Stir around and fry for a bit. Add pork belly slices, toss around, fry. Splash some water in as needed. Add sieved tamarind slurry, rock sugar, sea salt, stir around; add water to cover plus an inch or so more, bring to simmer, cover and cook till the pork belly is soft and the liquid is reduced somewhat. Add in sliced only-partly-deseeded hot chillies and simmer (covered) till the sauce is thickened a bit more and coats the stuff nicely.

 

Serve over white rice.

DSCN7660b_800.jpg.d2418d5c17d856900971c9

 


Edited by huiray (log)
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Pork Belly "Pad Woon Sen".

A riff on "Stir-fried Glass Noodles".**

DSCN7908b_800.jpg.92fa4605bd51524299fc82

Details in this post on the dinner topic.

 

** which is what "pad woon sen" (ผัดวุ้นเส้น) literally means, in Thai; while "glass noodles" = "cellophane noodles" = "mung bean noodles" &etc. There are, of course, similar dishes in the various related cuisines in SE and E Asia ranging all the way from Korea/Japan down all along E and SE Asia down to Indonesia. Usually the differences involve the sauces and seasonings used, sometimes the things one puts in or leaves out, and where one's initial "starting point" is. Mixtures and non-definable "which cuisine is this one from" iterations of this dish are, IMO, almost normative. :-) 

Like "Fried Rice".  :-D

 


Edited by huiray (log)
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A recent batch of pork belly rice congee.

 

Pork belly strips (skin-on), ginger, garlic.  The approx. 1/4 inch strips were sliced from a ~4 lb single slab of pork belly.

DSCN8437a_600.jpg.a09acb495e3c7adb551967

 

In process. In the pot being sautéed w/ ginger+garlic+oil of course. With ja-choy (榨菜) added in.

DSCN8439C-8443C_1k_600.jpg.fec0b0fe87f94

 

Water added, salted, simmered for a while. Long-grain rice added. Simmered more. Pre-softened fu-jook (beancurd skin rolls) (腐竹) broken into pieces added, simmer some more. Seasoning adjusted.

 

A bowl of the congee, with fresh deep-fried sliced shallots, julienned ginger + tung choy (天津冬菜) (preserved Tianjin cabbage), chopped scallions. The sides were scattered into and mixed into the bowl of congee "to taste"/as desired.

DSCN8449a_600.jpg.aa1cf879bb9edbf9155bb4


Edited by huiray (log)
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Pork belly slices braised w/ garlic, ginger, shiro miso, bamboo shoot, wood-ear fungus, lily buds. With white rice.

DSCN9506a_600.jpg

Details here.

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Last weekend I made a shoyu lamen  and the chashu was the star off the dish. I'm a newbie sous vide. The chashu was my third experiente with sous vide.

image.jpg

 

I bought a big, Nice pork belly with bones and fat.  

image.jpg

image.jpg

 

Removed the bones.

image.jpg

 

And rolled 2 pieces for the chashu.

image.jpg

 

1 piece I don't rolled and cooked all then in sous vide with shoyu, sugar and ginger 64 celsius.

image.jpg

 

The no rolled belly I cooked for 24hours, was soft, the meat juicy. The skin tender.

image.jpg

 

The rolled belly was cooked for 30 hours the skin turned in to gelatin and the texture was fantastic.

image.jpg

 

The no rolled belly lost much more liquid then the rolled belly. And the skin was diferent. 

image.jpg


Edited by Auro (log)
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      Welcome to the 2013 kick-off of our popular eG Cook-Off Series. In 2012, our Cook-Offs ran the gamut from “Hash,” to “Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish,” onto “Banh Mi” and ending the 2012 season with a discussion of “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic.” (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ for the complet eG Cook-Off Index).
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      Today we’re going to venture into the depths of a discussion about a sea-dweller that is so scary looking to some they refuse to eat the delicious little devils. The horrors of being presented with a steaming bowl of soup with little appendages peeking out.
      Join in and let’s put forth our very best “Squid, Calamari and Octopus” dishes. Knowing your passion for cuisine, I don’t expect to see squid rings coated in gummy batter and deep-fried to the point that they bounce on the floor like a rubber ball. No, I’m guessing we’ll plate some fabulous dishes that showcase the versatility of these unique creatures.
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