Last year started a bit of a love affair of ours with pork belly. Basically, we figured out how to intensely season and crisp this cut of meat and pair it with everything from ramen to veggies. Pork belly is something we had never made at home or bought at the grocery. Until recently, it was only ordered at a restaurant maybe once a year.
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While you can buy it as a full slab (which we typically do but it was unavailable), you can also buy cut pork belly which saves you time later. Another lesson in working with what you have and for those unfamiliar with pork belly, a lesson in working with more unusual cuts of meat when the store is out of basics like chicken breast or pork loin.
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There is a little bit of prep work involved in making pork belly, but it’s not hard work. It only takes planning ahead. Since there’s a 24 hour fridge period involved, my advice is to start the prep process immediately when you procure it from the grocery.
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It’s essentially a hunk of bacon so it really is ultimate comfort food. A small amount goes a long way, so think of all the ways you can use it as a topping or an accent in a meal. With eggs? With soup? Basically everything could use some pork belly.
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- 2 lb pork belly (whole hunk or 1-inch strips work)
- 2 tsp mirin or sherry
- .5 tsp sugar
- .5 tsp black pepper
- .5 tsp garlic powder
- .5 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- .5 tsp anise seeds
- 5 cardamom pods (seeds only, husk removed)
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- .75 tsp Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp wildflower honey
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- .5 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Using a small paring knife, make small cuts occasionally on the meat side (underside) of the pork belly.
- In a small bowl, mix marinade ingredients, brush onto the bottom and sides of the pork belly, avoiding the top skin side. Place on a plate or small tray. Wipe top (skin) with a paper towel to dry. Brush with vinegar and sprinkle on salt on top.
- Place in the fridge uncovered (very important) overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Position oven rack in the bottom 1/3 of oven. Place meat skin side up in roasting pan. Place in oven and roast for 50 minutes. Adjust cooking time depending on actual size of meat (thin pieces vs very thick pieces).
- Change oven to ‘broil’, keeping the pan where it is. Broil until skin is crispy and golden (could take 10-15 minutes depending on your oven). Remove meat, cool and cut into cubes if desired.