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Pork belly is one of the trendy foods right now. It's featured by Ducasse, it's made into Italian pancetta, and it's on menus all over the place. Of course in the US we most commonly encounter it after it's salted and smoked and we call it bacon.

It's a big part of the Chinese culinary tradition. Szechuan chefs use it for twice-cooked pork. Shanghai chefs braise it and serve it with preserved vegetable or with beancurd skin.

Do you enjoy it? Do you cook it? What ways have you seen it prepared? Who makes it best?

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Pork belly rocks!

Normally we have it hongshao (braised/steamed) at home with soy sauce, wine and other goodies which turn it a luscious ruby colour. Also nice braised with little bits of cornmeal (mi) with it

Have noticed too the inexorable rise of the pork belly - was at Smiths of Smithfield a couple of months back and it seemed to be every other main flying out the hatch. Pig belly is indeed the new lamb shank (which was, in turn, the new duck confit)

Having said this its difficult to get it right in western kitchens - melting flesh and crispy skin. Either the flesh is slightly dessicated or the skin a bit chewy. Even Gordon Ramsay Claridges has managed to muck it up. Still need to figure out how the cantonese get their roast belly so crunchy without fail - is it a hotter oven or just lots of salt or a pre-dried rind?

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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The first time I had pork belly was in Hangzhou, cooked in the tradional Shanghai style. More recently I had Susur Lee's version, served at the beginning of a huge tasting menu! I have little recollection of what followed. I think cooking it at home would be dangerous as it could become addictive. It is a delicious but highly guilt inducing dish.

Ruth Friedman

Ruth Friedman

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This is our favourite way to cook pork belly.

1. Cut pork belly into 0.5mm slices. Season with s&p +/- cooking wine.

2. Heat a wok. No need to add oil as oil from pork is sufficient.

3. When wok is hot, add the pork. Keep stirring until the meat cooks and the fatty part becomes crispy. At the final stage, more salt may be added.

Tastes like bacon, and is great with plain rice or congee.

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This is our favourite way to cook pork belly.

1. Cut pork belly into 0.5mm slices. Season with s&p +/- cooking wine.

2. Heat a wok. No need to add oil as oil from pork is sufficient.

3. When wok is hot, add the pork. Keep stirring until the meat cooks and the fatty part becomes crispy. At the final stage, more salt may be added.

Tastes like bacon, and is great with plain rice or congee.

do you cut the rind off first?

have only had miserable failure trying to slice thru pork skin at home

j

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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pork belly is my absolute favourite cut of meat at the moment. I prefer to keep it in one whole piece with the bone on and aim for very crispy skin and melting succulent meat underneath. Two current favourite recipes are one in the Moro Cookbook, which involves lots of fennel seeds and is then blasted in a v.hot oven for 15mins and then cooked for a further 45mins. Gary Rhodes also does a superb version with bay, salt and garlic rubbed into the skin and is slowly roasted for 3-4 hours. I have also been fortunate enough to sample a dish by Miss J of red braised pork belly which melted in the mouth. :wub: I do think that Chinese recipes/restaurants tend to do pork belly the best.

Edited by Charlene Leonard (log)
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This is our favourite way to cook pork belly.

1. Cut pork belly into 0.5mm slices. Season with s&p +/- cooking wine.

2. Heat a wok. No need to add oil as oil from pork is sufficient.

3. When wok is hot, add the pork. Keep stirring until the meat cooks and the fatty part becomes crispy. At the final stage, more salt may be added.

Tastes like bacon, and is great with plain rice or congee.

do you cut the rind off first?

have only had miserable failure trying to slice thru pork skin at home

j

no, we do not cut out the skin.

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Tungpo "straw mat"pork, named in honour of the poet Su Tungpo.The story is that a passing Immortal flung a bit of straw mat into a pot of belly pork to give it it special fragrance.

Not the version with peanuts, but a precise square of pork belly salted, blanched twice, long braised and then long steamed, so the fat and skin can be cut with a spoon, with smoothness, depth and clarity of flavour. Tender, sweet, tasty, rich but not oily. The surface is brown and yielding, and the underlying fat smooth and custard-like, the meat brown and tender,

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Tungpo "straw mat"pork, named in honour of the poet Su Tungpo.The story is that a passing Immortal flung a bit of straw mat into a pot of belly pork to give it it special fragrance.

Not the version with peanuts, but a precise square of pork belly salted, blanched twice,  long braised and then long steamed, so the fat and skin can be cut with a spoon, with smoothness, depth and clarity of flavour. Tender, sweet, tasty, rich but not oily. The surface is brown and yielding, and the underlying fat smooth and custard-like, the meat brown and tender,

This is a really good dish. But I haven't found an acceptable version in N. America yet....

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Tungpo "straw mat"pork, named in honour of the poet Su Tungpo.The story is that a passing Immortal flung a bit of straw mat into a pot of belly pork to give it it special fragrance.

Not the version with peanuts, but a precise square of pork belly salted, blanched twice,  long braised and then long steamed, so the fat and skin can be cut with a spoon, with smoothness, depth and clarity of flavour. Tender, sweet, tasty, rich but not oily. The surface is brown and yielding, and the underlying fat smooth and custard-like, the meat brown and tender,

This is a very popular dish in Japan (at Chinese restaurants) and I have tried to make it at home but it is quite time consuming. I had a very difficult time eating this when i first came here. I pick the strip of meat out and leave all of the fat sitting on my dish! :shock: I enjoy it know but I still search out the pieces witht he biggest piece of meat.

My other favorite way of eating pork belly, is too cut it into very thin slices and then grill it over a fire until most of the fat has dripped out and it is almost crunchy, this can also be done to a similar effect in a very hot fry pan. Delicious!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 6 months later...

On Saturday night, the Guy and I were treated to an after-hours Korean barbecue by the owner of our favourite sushi restaurant.

As there was a ton of meat left over, Sean sent us home with a whack of sliced pork belly and some Korean short ribs. The short ribs are easy but are there any interesting things I can do with the pork belly (besides just frying it all up and making a pig of myself!!!!)?

Jen

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Frying it up and making a pig of yourself sounds pretty good to me. Tim Goodell, chef of Aubergine among others, serves crispy pork belly on a bed of barbecue white beans with smoky onion rings. It's my favorite appetizer at The Lodge in Costa Mesa. I haven't tried recreating it at home, mostly because I need a good excuse to go to dinner there and if I could pull it off myself, that would be one less for me to fall back on.

R. Jason Coulston

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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hi Jen

the pork belly is already cooked, right? I think frying it hard is the only way to go! with lots of thyme and more salt than is strictly good for you. crispy brown edges, mmmm. to complete the fat attack, serve with sauteed potatoes. am very jealous indeed.

Fi

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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If uncooked -

pork belly has a fantastic amount of internal fat, as well as collagen (the good stuff between most muscle fibers, not just beverly hills lip-gloss). This means it holds up extremely well to fast or slow roasting, or - when sliced - frying - or best of all, braising.

My two favourites - take one large or two smaller slabs of pig belly, and season well, then take handfulls of crushed garlic, bruised thyme, rosemary, sage, and either lay them over the piece, and then roll up and tie with string, or sandwich between the two smaller pieces. Roast in a hot oven for fifteen minutes, and then a slow oven for 2 or 3 hours. The herbs perfume the meat like you wouldn't believe - and it becomes like a mock porchetta (the italians debone an entire pig, and stuf it with herbs, and slow roast it).

The other way - roll up the belly tightly, tie off with string. Braise it with mire poix, white wine, and some good chicken stock for about 2 1/2 or three hours. Remove from the braising liquid, and wrap it as tightly as you can in silver/aluminium/aluminum foil. Twist the ends to seal it in, and place in the fridge for a few hours - or over night. The next day the belly will have kept its shape. Cut slices - an inch so thick - and either fry them in a nob of butter in a non-stick pan until the outsides are caramelised and crispy (and the insides are incredibly tender) - about 2 minutes a side. Also you can reduce the braising liquid to a sauce, if you wanted.

Or you can do the French Laundry thing of coating the slices in dijon, dipping them in bread crumbs, and then frying them. Serve with a sauce gribiche.

Or with eggs for your breakfast, for that matter.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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The pork belly is not cooked. It rather looks like 2" pieces of uncooked, very meaty bacon.

I did use some of it last night (so now have only 3/4 ton left over). I chopped it, fried it, then added in chopped onion and garlic, chunks of chicken thigh meat, cannelini beans, and a whack of chicken broth. It was seasoned with herbes de Provence.

Even the Guy and the Spawn, neither of whom like beans, had seconds of it. I guess that means it worked out well.

I like the idea of roasting it (even though I think it was meant to roast a slab). Or maybe seasoning and broiling it would be a good idea (and slightly more practical for the slices).

Thanks for the inspiration, all!

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You can also use it to make a kim chee stew (aka kimchee chigae). Pork belly makes a really delicous version of this great home-style Korean dish.

Brown the pork belly pieces in a pot/dutch oven til brown. Add sliced onions, kim chee (a great way to make use of 'older' kim chee), water to cover, bring to a boil, & simmer for about 45 minutes. You can also add mung bean sprouts, and firm tofu. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Eat with steamed rice.

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Marinate Pork belly overnight in a mix of orange juice, white wine, ginger and thyme. Then cover with olive oil and cook at 80 celsius for 8-10 hours. Remove from the oil and press for 2-3 hours (I do this between 2 chopping boards with a bowl of water on top). Reduce the marinade down to a syrup and strain and season. For this dish use white pepper intead of black; I find it tastes better. Just before serving flash fry the pork skin side down until crispy. Turn and heat quickly on the other sides of the pork until heated through and serve with a salad. Doing this with blood oranges gives the sauce a great colour. I find that you need at least the juice of 4 oranges per person.

This is my version of a pork belly dish at Aria in Sydney that Matt Moran cooks with Cumquats.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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Marinate Pork belly overnight in a mix of orange juice, white wine, ginger and thyme. Then cover with olive oil and cook at 80 celsius for 8-10 hours. Remove from the oil and press for 2-3 hours (I do this between 2 chopping boards with a bowl of water on top). Reduce the marinade down to a syrup and strain and season. For this dish use white pepper intead of black; I find it tastes better. Just before serving flash fry the pork skin side down until crispy. Turn and heat quickly on the other sides of the pork until heated through and serve with a salad.

That's some powerful pig-fu you have going there.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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  • 3 weeks later...

I live in Japan and there is a recipe that everyone loves. It's called Buta no Kakuni and is simply pork belly stewed in Soy Sauce.

Take the belly and place it skin side down in a pan to crisp up the skin and render out a good deal of the fat. Then put it whole into a pot with a few slices of ginger, and a clove or two of garlic and water to cover. Stew this gently for at least 2 hours, till it is really melt-in-the-mouth. You'll know when it's ready because it becomes really 'floppy' in the pan.

Then you need to add the real flavourings. Cut the belly right through against the grain into pieces a bit less than an inch wide and 3 inches long. It's easier if you can refrigerate the belly overnight at this stage, since you'll find it easier to cut cleanly, but don't worry if not.

Then put these pieces into a pot. Cover with soy sauce, a couple of shots of mirin, a splash of the stock from the first stewing and a scant handful of sugar. Stew this for about 30 minutes.

Yum.

It's also nice to soft boil some eggs, peel them, then store them in the remaining cooking sauces (after you've finished your pork) at room temperature for an hour or so.

The stock you have from the first stewing is great for the soup for ramen - 50/50 pork/chicken stock is perfect too.

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  • 1 month later...

Absolutely love it. One of my all time favorite foods, definitely in the top three.

Prefer it Chinese barbeque style as you'd find in Chinatown where the skin is crunchy/crispy and blistered with bubbles. Soooo different from American BBQ.

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