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Pork Belly


eatingwitheddie
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A very common way to cook it is to braise it, then sear it to get a crispy skin. Probably the way to go. Confit is another great preparation.

Try doing a search on it, there are probably many great threads on the subject.

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Simmer, braise, much the same. Just be sure to defat whatever liquid you're using afterward.

I like: CSV 20-ish hours at 70C, remove belly, reserve liquid, chill, defat cooking liquid. Add belly and approx 2-3 tbs. gelled liquid to pan, cover and steam for about 3-4 minutes, remove cover and cook until lightly crispy on all sides, maybe 3-4 more minutes total.

Unadulterated pork belly goodness. You don't lose out on all the texture that you would from a braise, but it's more tender than you get in a roast. Sam Mason is doing a miso-butterscotch that I'm riffing off of that's quite delicious.

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A few others mentioned braising, but i'm more interested in a crispy skin.

Anyone have any tips on cooking pork belly? How long to leave in oven? What to pair with it (imho, it is relatively orgasmic by itself).

Harry

Crispy skin. Cut through the skin in strips about 1/2 inch apart. Try not to cut below the skin into the meat. Lightly rub olive oil over the skin & then salt with coarse sea salt. (Not too much salt) Make sure you rub some of the salt down into the cuts.

Cut 3 or 4 onions in half & peel. Put the onions cut side down into a roasting tin, spreading them out so that they support the belly when you place it on top of them.

Heat oven to between 70 & 110 degrees C. Temperature depends upon how long you want to cook the belly. I generally do about 100C & cook for 4-5 hours. Lower longer, higher shorter. I don't recommend anything higher than the 110C.

About 10 minutes before taking the belly out of the oven turn on the top grill & finish off the skin. Watch very carefully as its easy to burn the skin. When nicely crisped take it out of the oven. It won't take long.

Gently lift out the onions which will be delicious. I like to slice the belly along the cut lines in the skins which makes slices like thick bacon rashers, each with crackling attached.

For a sauce just pour off most of the fat, de-glaze the pan with white wine, reduce, add some Dijon mustard & perhaps a bit of sage, add full cream, reduce again & serve.

Simple. Our guests go wild over this.

edited to correct typos.

Edited by Dave Hatfield (log)
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  • 1 month later...

I've been reading through this thread with interest. I am a newly lapsed vegetarian, and lately I've been dreaming about pork. I had a bite* of some deliciously tender and melty pork belly when I was visiting Washington D.C. last year, and have been craving it ever since.

The other day, I found a few very small packages of pork in the fridge at my grocery store. Not only did they seem like the perfect pieces of starter meat--being tiny and manageable--but they also were tantalizingly labelled "Cured Pork Bellies." I bought one.

Now I need help. First, some pictures. Then, some questions.

Pictures:

gallery_47802_4897_23773.jpg

gallery_47802_4897_17420.jpg

gallery_47802_4897_17857.jpg

Questions:

What exactly can I do with this meat? Is it just like a big block of uncut bacon? What is the difference between these cured/salted pork bellies (and why is that plural?) and bacon or pancetta?

Ideally, I'd like to chop this up relatively small, and use it to flavour some of my fall soups. Would that be a good purpose to this?

There seems to be no skin on this meat, and it is quite fatty, so I don't think it is suited for any of the tasty-sounding applications listed in this thread.

Also--the label says "Best Before Dec. 24th." Can I open it, use half now and store the rest for a few weeks? Or is that "best before" promise only valid if the package stays unopened? Finally, if I can store it, how would I do that? (wrap in saran?)

Thanks, in advance, for any advice you can give.

*My vegetarianism was never a matter of absolutes.

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gallery_47802_4897_23773.jpg

gallery_47802_4897_17420.jpg

gallery_47802_4897_17857.jpg

Questions:

What exactly can I do with this meat?  Is it just like a big block of uncut bacon?  What is the difference between these cured/salted pork bellies (and why is that plural?) and bacon or pancetta?

Ideally, I'd like to chop this up relatively small, and use it to flavour some of my fall soups.  Would that be a good purpose to this?

There seems to be no skin on this meat, and it is quite fatty, so I don't think it is suited for any of the tasty-sounding applications listed in this thread.

Also--the label says "Best Before Dec. 24th."  Can I open it, use half now and store the rest for a few weeks? Or is that "best before" promise only valid if the package stays unopened?  Finally, if I can store it, how would I do that?  (wrap in saran?)

From what I see in the pictures it looks like you have 'Salt Pork'-basically a cut of pork brined and cured in salt yet still basically raw meat. That's basically how most bacon is cured before smoking. The cut of pork and how it's cured can determine whether it's called bacon, pancetta, prosciutto or salt pork-but in today's food world the lines between what cured pork is called can get fuzzy.

I would recommend you soak the cut in some water for about 30 minutes to leech out some of the salt. Then chop it up and use it in your Fall soups and stews. You can use it raw right in the soup or saute it first so it renders some fat and gets brown and crispy.

You are right in realizing that what you have isn't the same type of pork belly that we've been talking about in this thread. The pork belly I use is raw, unbrined, uncured, cut right off the hog and sold in my Asian grocery store. The fat makes it tender and juicy and gives us that beautiful crispy outer skin. Any type of curing of the pork belly would probably not give those same results.

You can certainly store whatever meat you don't use right now. But I would wrap it tightly or shrink wrap it using a foodsaver type of machine/bag. I wouldn't let it go longer than a week in the refrigerator. Even though it's salted and cured, the meat can go bad-sort of like strips of bacon we leave in the fridge for a couple of weeks-starts to smell a bit off.

Let us know how it goes for you.

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gallery_23727_2765_9521.jpg

really liquidy white beans with pork belly using the oven bean method may be the best thing ever. ingredients. beans, belly, salt, additional salt on be belly before serving. this is not one portion, just a shot of the belly before I sliced it. belly is easy to get anywhere in Japan, white beans however are very expensive :sad:

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I have been catching up on this thread as I am doing some pork belly for christmas dinner to accompany a rack of pork.

Does anyone have a few good recipes? I would prefer one that braises (for tenderness) and then with a crisp up at the end. What about sauce ideas? I like the ideah of one on the sweeter side with some acid to cut the richness, perhaps fruit based?

Thanks for the the help!

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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This thread is great - I don't know how I've missed it. My current avatar is a photo my wife took of me grinning wildly and hugging a fresh pork belly from Niman Ranch :smile: . That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me and my attitude towards pork belly!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 1 month later...

What can I do with pork belly (no skin) that is almost all fat? I used most of a slab of belly to make char siu, but the rest is probably 90% fat, 10% meat. I love pork fat, but since I'm supposed to be watching my fat-intake, I just couldn't use it. Should I just render it to make lard?

I should add that I don't have any smoking equipment, so bacon would be out. I think it would still be too fatty for bacon, anyway.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Rona, you could make salt pork with it for flavoring beans and the like. If you're really gung-ho, you could cure some lop yuk or unsmoked Chinese bacon. It's not perfect to have mostly fat, but, hey, it's sure better than having no lop yuk at all.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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What can I do with pork belly (no skin) that is almost all fat?  I used most of a slab of belly to make char siu, but the rest is probably 90% fat, 10% meat.  I love pork fat, but since I'm supposed to be watching my fat-intake, I just couldn't use it.  Should I just render it to make lard?

I should add that I don't have any smoking equipment, so bacon would be out.  I think it would still be too fatty for bacon, anyway.

Rona,

If you're planning to make joongzi (sticky rice in bamboo leaves), salt the fat!

I cover the pork with kosher or pickling salt, leave it on the counter for 3 days, then rinse off. The pork will be firm to the touch and greyish coloured. If you're using it right away, then cut it into pieces the size of your middle finger and add to the rice packets with the rest of the ingredients you're using. Once boiled, some of the fatty yumminess melts into the rice. :wub: Must have that fatty pork for the best joongzi.

If you're making lotus leave joongzi, cut the pork into smaller pieces and cook them with the sticky rice. Then add the rest of the ingredients before wrapping.

If you don't have time to make joongzi now, freeze the salted pork for later use.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Chris--Lop yuk sounds good, but this stuff is almost all fat! I'll save that project for my next pork belly, which hopefully be before it gets too hot to hang meat up in my very small apartment.

Dejah--Salted fat! I'll take one of the wedges I have (I have three) and do me up some salted fat! I might not make sticky rice for a good while (I still have 3 1/2 left from my first batch), but I think it might be a nice addition to regular fried rice!

I decided to buy some pork shoulder to make more char siu (for what else, but char siu bao :wub:), and I'm going to use my other two fatty pieces of pork belly for that. Pork shoulder is too lean for char siu bao filling for my tastes, so I need a bit of belly to fatten up the filling!

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, so I've read all of the posts in this thread and unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned using a pressure cooker for their pork belly. Is this a crazy idea? I will be getting some Kurobuta pork belly tomorrow and I plan on trying it. If I'm looking for trouble, somebody let me know.

Mike Ramsey (A.K.A. Chefjerky)

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OK, so I've read all of the posts in this thread and unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned using a pressure cooker for their pork belly. Is this a crazy idea?  I will be getting some Kurobuta pork belly tomorrow and I plan on trying it.  If I'm looking for trouble, somebody let me know.

Hmm, I don't think I would take the chance of cooking such high quality pork in a pressure cooker.

I can't base my answer on any personal experience of using a pressure cooker on pork belly-but my natural instinct is to tell you not to do it. Especially since you are probably paying a premium for Kurobata pork. I'm just not sure that quick, intense heat, albeit under the steam pressure of the pressure cooker, would give you both moist meat and crispy skin-and that is what I think our common goal is when cooking with pork belly-melting meat with crispy skin.

If you are intent on experimenting with pork belly in a pressure cooker, I might suggest using a basic pork belly-much cheaper than the Kurobata and if it doesn't turn out, you haven't ruined your Kurobata pork belly. On the other hand, if you have a pressure cooker recipe you trust, go for it. The pressure cooker will give you quick results, and then you could run the cooked pork belly under the broiler to crisp the skin.

Let me know which way you go with the pork belly and maybe post a photo for us of your results.

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David,

Yeah, not so good. I only cooked a small section of it, so really more gained in knowledge than lost in product. The meat portion of it cooked up wonderfully, but the fat

portion just needs more time and care that is just not offered with the PC. I did use Dr. Pepper as my cooking medium and it was quite tasty. Texture was all wrong though. Thanks for the advice. -Mike

Mike Ramsey (A.K.A. Chefjerky)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I really want to prepare pork belly at home. My first favorite style is the ones you find in Japanese tapas restaurants with a halved hard boiled egg and some spicy yellow mustard. And the other is the glazed pork belly I had at Bouchon (Vegas) with lentils.

Does anyone have a tried and true recipe for either? Also, I have never purchased pork belly. I know it's very fatty, but does it generally come with skin on? I assume this is normally removed/unwanted?

Thanks.

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For Japanese kakuni of pork belly:

RecipeGullet Recipe for Buta no Kakuni

I think I might use raw sugar (nearest to Japanes "zarame") and perhaps increase the sake to 1 cup, or add 1/4 c of mirin.

Since Japanese pork belly is eaten at room temperature often, it should ideally not get hard when cold. Best way to do that is to preboil it with a cup or two of okara (tofu lees), or failing that, the starchy water from rinsing rice - but okara is much more effective. After simmering for 30 minutes, or pressure-cooking for 15-20 minutes, rinse off the okara, and then simmer as usual with seasonings.

Once cooked, allow to cool for a while in the broth, then pull out the meat, and reduce the broth till just a little syrupy, pour over the kaku-ni to serve if you wish.

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I recently cooked the pork belly confit recipe from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book. After it had confit'ed in duck fat, I finished it in the deep fryer--adding insult to injury you might say? I think not. It turned out very, very well.

The pork belly that I purchased, came from our local Vietnamese market in Houston. I have limited sources from which to acquire fresh, uncured pork belly, and although it was far from the high quality, pasture-raised, hormone-free, organic pig that I would have preferred (lol), it sufficed and ended up tasting really nice.

My belly came with the skin on, and I opted to cut the skin off after it had been cooked. It was MUCH easier then.

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...

My belly came with the skin on, and I opted to cut the skin off after it had been cooked.  It was MUCH easier then.

Don't you eat the wonderful crispy skin? When I'm about to eat my confited (or braised) pork belly, I fry it in a pan starting with the skin side down. Crisps up really easy.

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Arrgh Don't cut off the skin - you are discarding the best bit!

There are many ways off cooking pork belly.

I like the Chinese ways

Roast: Siu Yook See

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r2100.html

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=108508&st=0&

or braised:

In a cassole put a whole piece of pork belly, skin side down

Add (chinese style) Tablespoon each of sping onion, ginger, soy, vinegar, mirin or sherry

or ( Western style) tablespoon each of mirepois (chopped leek, carrots), garlic, Madeira, vinegar

Cover will and cook at 75C for 12 to 24 hours. Can aslo be done sous vide. Sticky unctious goodness.

or, for the full thing Tungpo Pork

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...ndpost&p=420070

Blanched, braised then steamed

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...

My belly came with the skin on, and I opted to cut the skin off after it had been cooked.  It was MUCH easier then.

Don't you eat the wonderful crispy skin? When I'm about to eat my confited (or braised) pork belly, I fry it in a pan starting with the skin side down. Crisps up really easy.

Now don't go thinking I let the skin go to waste... :biggrin: ...I cut it off and fried it by itself. I mean I grew up in the South-ish (Texas), where cracklins are still a wonderful and sacred thing. I guess I shoulda been clearer to avoid being crucified. lol.

Edited by Morgan_Weber (log)
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Now don't go thinking I let the skin go to waste... :biggrin: ...I cut it off and fried it by itself.  I mean I grew up in the South-ish (Texas), where cracklins are still a wonderful and sacred thing.  I guess I shoulda been clearer to avoid being crucified. lol.

You had me worried for a while... :wink:

It is amazing how easy it is to get a nice browning on confited pork. Just a couple of minutes in a frying pan for crisp golden exterior and molten hot interior...

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