What to do with Pork Belly?

BizzoFebruary 6, 2012

DH and I stopped by a local farm we've never been to on Saturday and picked up some great pork we want to try - including some frozen pork belly.

I've had it once, and DH (other than smoked and sliced for bacon) not at all.

What to do, what to do?


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I chop up potatoes,in about 1" pieces,smoked sausage sliced,reg sausage sliced,shredded cabbage,cabbage in there is my fav.add some water bake./mmmmDont make it often but I do like the way all the flavors marry,make sure the belly is cleaned out.Usually they are.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 12:29PM
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How large is it? If it's a whole side, season it, roll it up, make Porchetta and invite some friends. If it's only a couple of lbs, try braising it. Melt-in-your-mouth tender.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I always make Pancetta with mine.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 5:18PM
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We've had some threads on pork belly. I've posted pics of my usual method. But I can't find that old thread, so here's an abbreviated version.
- Assuming you're starting w/ a slab of pork belly, with skin then fat then meat, cut into a piece that will just fit into a dutch oven or similar oven proof pot w/ lid
- Score (make cut about 1/4" deep) skin in cross cross lines, like a checkerboard, each section will be a bite-sized piece so size them accordingly, about 1" squares, and use toothpick to poke a whole in the center of each square
- Place piece in pot, skin up, add some aromatics (onion, celery, garlic, etc), pepper corns, and then equal parts red wine and stock to cover the meat. If you have knuckles, feet or other sources of gelatin, add them too.
- On stovetop, bring liquid to boil then reduce to simmer, cover pot, simmer for 4 hours or until pork meat is very tender but not falling apart. Stop well short of "pulled pork".
- meanwhile, start preheating over to 450F
- Remove piece from liquid, supporting it so that it doesn't fall apart, set it aside.
- Strain solids from liquid, bring liquid to boil, boil until reduced so that, when the piece is placed back in the liquid, liquid will come most of the way up the sides of the meat while leaving the skin exposed - I.e. reduce by about half. Liquid will have thickened, if needed whisk in some flour or cornstarch to bring to a sauce consistency, on the thin side though
- Replace meat in liquid, skin side up
- Move pot to 450F oven, uncovered, you want to brown and crisp the skin, while the liquid protects the meat and fat layers
- Roast until skin is brown and crisp, you can also use the broiler if you're impatient and willing to watch like a hawk
- Remove pot from oven, move piece to board, place toothpicks in each pre-scored square, cut into score lines to separate each piece. If you hadn't scored the skin and pre-poked the hole, pressure on the crisp skin layer would squash out the soft fat and meat layers - but you thought ahead
- Serve with sauce poured over the pieces
- Severely rich, I can eat three or four pieces at most, and don't let it get cold, it'll congeal and look scary - use a heated platter
- You can add a glaze to the skin as you're roasting (honey, hoisin, char sui, whatever)
- The goal is a single bite that combines crisp skin, melting fat, tender meat, and rich sauce. The most common mistake is overcooking the skin to blackened hardness :-(

dcarch knows about an Asian trick of pricking the skin with needle before roasting, to make it even crispier. I haven't gotten that to work myself.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Have never had it, but have seen it on some of those food contest shows?!? Looks like a big old HUNKA fat, to me?? NOT something I'd wanna eat... though, as I said, have never had it before.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 8:04PM
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sorry,I call hog maw pork belly .lol

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 10:27PM
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Sorry about the typos, I pecked that out on an iPhone in an airport . . .

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Finely score the skin and pour a kettle of boiling water over it. Leave in the fridge to dry out a few hours. Rub salt and a little oil on the skin and roast until the meat is melting and the crackling crisp and delish.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 4:56AM
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Looks like a big old HUNKA fat, to me??

The one time I had it I made a Korean stir-fry. I must have cooked it five times longer than directed and I still couldn't deal with the fat. Other than that the dish was delicious. John's description of "crisp skin, melting fat, tender meat, and rich sauce" sounds tempting but I still wonder if I could get past the fat.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 7:28AM
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The way my mom always prepared it was thickly sliced (like thick bacon) and pan fried for breakfast. Season w/ just a bit of salt. Delicious.

When my parents butchered, the 'side meat' was the first thing we used. I think there were a couple of reasons for this. First, the flavor is awesome. Really, the essence of pork. The other reason is that it doesn't take kindly to freezer storage because it is so quick to freezer burn, even in the old school manual defrost freezers. (These were the days before vacuum sealing.)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:31AM
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I've had it a few times braised, and I can't get over the globs of fat either. I've got a bunch of it languishing in the freezer. I do love bacon, so maybe the trick is to slice it thin and bake it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:03AM
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All these suggestions look great - and so different! Many to choose from. I'm going to let DH decide... he may even be the chef for this one!

I've had it once and it was as John described... crisp skin, melting fat, tender meat. Thanks to all of you for sharing your techniques, approaches and opinions (even those who don't like it!!) and thanks John, especially for taking the time to type it all out on the iphone, I know how challenging that can be :-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 11:55AM
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