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Pork Belly


eatingwitheddie
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I have 0.8kg of pork belly. Every recipe I read refers to a 1.5kg pork belly. How do I adjust the cooking time?

For example som recipes say cook for 2 hours, so should I cook for 1 hour 10, or does it not work like that (what with wanting to achieve crackling n everything).

Edited by SaladFingers (log)
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it might not differ much if your belly is just shorter than what the recipe calls for. Usually pork belly - at least the one around here - is pretty much the same thickness, just a larger or smaller piece. Do you have a meat thermometer than can go in the oven? I'd use that and set the alarm to maybe 140F or so and from then on keep an eye on it. it's so fatty that you'll have a hard time drying this out.

At least that's what I'd do. but my guess would be that you'll still get close to two hours for the crackling to develop.

Ok, and now I'm really hungry!

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

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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how are you cooking it? In my experiences with belly, it isn't something that you cook until it reaches some desired internal temperature, like a roast, it's something you get warm (through braising or roasting) and keep it that way for a long-ish time, while it tenderizes itself.

Which is to say that I suspect the size is less important than with other cuts, and OliverB is likely on the right track.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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These are my instructions (for a 1.5kg belly (not rolled)

"Put the sliced onion into a roasting tin and top with thyme; now lay the belly on top. Sprinkle with a little oil and pour the chicken stock in. Cook in the oven for 1 ¼ hours. Turn up to 190c and cook for a further 40 mins. Allow to rest for 15 mins."

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So cooking time depends on the thickness of the belly rather than the size of it?

well, both of course, but if you have one roast that's 5 inches thick and an other that's 2 inches thick, the later will be heated through much faster. The belly pieces I see around are more or less the same thickness, just differ in how large the cut is.

I'd use a meat thermometer (and if you don't have one, it's a good excuse for getting one, the ones with a probe on a cable. I have a wireless one so I can take a unit with temp read out with me around the house). I'd start watching it after a bit over an hour, just take a peek through the oven window here and there. Don't open the oven unless you don't have a window.

I'd be pretty confident that it won't burn to a crips in 2hrs, but I have not seen your piece so it's hard to judge.

Let us know how it turned out!

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

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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It would be nice if people who write recipes for things like pork belly would use size rather than weight as the primary ingredient descriptor. Something like:

1 piece pork belly, 4" x 4" x 2" (100 mm x 100mm x 50 mm), about 1 pound (500 g)

The thickness of a whole belly actually varies quite a bit. For a typical boneless seven- or eight-pound cut, the range can go from about 2-1/2" to a little less than an inch as you move from one side/end to the other. This isn't true if you buy from a wholesaler for a specific purpose, or in packages of slices at an Asian grocery, but if you're looking a way to parcel out the entire cut, you could be easily misled if you work only from weight.

That aside, in my experience it's not that hard to dry out a pork belly and still be left with a lot of fat. The muscle in the belly is the pig's diaphragm -- a very tough muscle that does take a long, slow cook to develop properly. But as with any tough muscle, once you've converted the collagen to gelatin, you need to stop cooking, lest the gelatin melt away and leave you with fatty, porky shoe leather.

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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  • 9 months later...

As a main course on top of polenta or similar and being that this is a pretty heavy/rich cut of meat, how are you portioning? I have a 3 4lb cuts in the freezer from a pig I just picked up. How many people will each 4lb piece feed?

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  • 9 months later...

I've been using pork belly quite frequently recently to make Chinese dishes such as hong shao rou and stir-fries. Following Fuchsia Dunlop's directions, I've been blanching it before the final braise or fry. I'm wondering what this step does to prepare the meat? I made hong shao rou in a rush one night and skipped that step completely, and noticed no particular difference in the final product.

Also, anyone have any bright tips for removing the nuggety white bone pieces? I usually lop the whole area off with my cleaver, but I'd like to not waste the meat.

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I had been buying expensive, 2 inch square chucks of Pancetta to cut into lardons for flavouring. Since it is basically a chunk of bacon, I decided to try my favourite butcher; he took a slab of pork belly, destined to become bacon, and cut it into 2" squares for me, which I keep in the freezer.

It had a leathery outside on one side, I presume the skin. Since the butcher hadn't removed it, I left it.

I took a chunk of this and cut it into lardons for some baked beans. After browning the lardons, the skin part got very hard; and ineatable; so I tried to cut it off the sauted lardons before incorporating. I cut the skin off about half the lardons.

But after several hours of braising with the beans, the skins changed to very soft and gelationous, almost disappearing; leaving the delicous chewy parts of bacon meat.

Looking at the "store-bought" Pancetta, it's skin was removed. Perhaps next time I should have the butcher cut it off? What do you think, hide or no? What is crackling? Are there other uses for pork belly besides bacon flavouring? BBQ?

Sincerely

/b

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Welcome, Blair!

As to your question, it depends on what you want. Most lovers of the hog around here happily find many uses for skin, which is loaded with collagen that breaks down over time during braises and other moist types of cooking. There have been some concerns about the tendency of pig skin to gather toxins, but I am one who cannot live without the lipsmack of a slightly gelatinous stew or bean dish.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 3 months later...

My Japanese mother-in-law kindda undercooked a very nice pork belly tonight. She sliced it, but the meat was not very appealing. The meat was already sliced pretty thin, so in order to save the meat, I fried it in a pan and the result was pretty tasty.

There is a big slab of half cooked pork left and it's now in the fridge. I was wondering what I could do with it??? Any suggestions?

Edited by Foodietopo (log)

My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

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There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to continue cooking it, especially if it was braised before and you're going to braise some more. My mom always made her brisket that way - cooked half way, cooled, then sliced, then cooked the rest of the way. It's always better the next day!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I think her original idea was a once cooked pork blanched in god knows what.

Since nobody wanted to eat it, I was asked to save the meat.

My Japanese mother-in-law is an amazing washoku cook who tries to feed a huge carnivorous family.

Some cuts of meat a very cheap in Japan and she has been experimenting since I married her daughter.

For exemple, roasted beef or pork was not part of her repertoire.

I will do a pork, green onion, garlic and ginger back in the pot tonight.

Looks like she blanched it.

Thanks for the recipe.

I will try it tonight.

How did she undercook it? Was it braised? Blanched? You could do a "Back In The Pot Pork".

My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

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  • 2 months later...

Just picked up a 2 lb piece of pork belly at the market. Skin-on, no bone. Since there are only 2 of us and neither one of us can eat a lot of it at a time, I'm thinking splitting the belly in 2 and making 2 meals. I think I will braise one, Asian (either Chinese or Japanese) style and maybe confit the other.

What are people's thoughts on cooking a 1 lb piece of pork belly? Should I just stick to one dish with what I have on hand?

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... Morimoto Napa. It was just divine. I found the recipe online: http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=495 Anyone tried it?

Interesting combination with scallops. "Kakuni" is a generic Japanese term for stew. "Kurobuta" in English is 'Berkshire'. If you enjoy the flavours, then a recipe like that is a great idea for you. Also in Japan, the "char siu" that is served on ramen is made with pork belly (unlike Chinese char siu which is normally made with shoulder, I think). In Japanese yakiniku (Korean Barbecue) joints, "sam gyop saru" aka sliced pork belly became all the rage a few years back when there was a Korean boom here sparked by the TV soap "Fuyu no Sonata".

Thai-style 'moo ken' is a good way to prep pork belly for eating over the medium term - chopped in about 1/2" size, heavily salted and fried over low heat for a long time till crunchy right through. The French call much the same thing "rillons", and of course you have the choice of rillettes too, which are time-consuming but delicious.

Recently I've been cutting belly into 1/4" batons, salting it and keeping it on hand in freezer and fridge for pasta carbonara or amatriciana, ad-hoc stir fries, or the bacon part of breakfast.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

I have a question regarding poaching of pork belly (and similar cuts of meat), and the difference between this preparation method and that of braising. I have basically followed a simple approach of poaching a 600 gr. slab of belly in water with mirepoix for approx. 1.5 hours. After that time, the belly is removed from the water, allowed to cool before being sliced and briefly sauteed in butter on each side. Now, the recipe that I follow is scaled for approx. 600 gr.

My question is if, and how, I should change the poaching time if I, say, double the weight of pork belly? When you poach meat, you poach it only until you've obtained desired core temperature of the meat, correct? So in this case, I would like to poach it until approx. 70dC? I have the impression that when you braise meat, you tend to cook it longer (until it literally falls off the bone), partly in order to extract flavour of the meat into your cooking liquid/sauce. Is that the most important difference between poaching and braising, namely that in braising you're obtaining a rich sauce from the cooking liquid, while when you poach, the poaching liquid is often discarded with?

Silly questions, I know! But thanks in advance for any replies!

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Braising is combination cooking technique. First you sear (dry heat)and then cook in a flavorful liquid (moist heat). Often the item in partially covered in liquid.

The textbook definition of poaching is cooking the item completely submerged in liquid between 160-180 (Although often times restaurants go lower). You can serve the poaching liquid fish poached and served a la nage (in a cort boullion)

As an example with pork belly:

Braising: I sear the belly, deglaze and cover 4/5th of the way with Coco Rico (coconut soda)and remove to oven until it becomes soft and tender and the soda has turned into a carmel.

Poaching: Place pork belly in a dashi fortified with soy sauce and some sugar and cook at low temp until tender. cool and reserve pork flavored dashi. Slice cold and sear on pick up..

AFA cooking time is concerned I hate to do the chef thing, but cook it until it's done!

Edited by AAQuesada (log)
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