How to Prepare Pork Belly
Guide by Jenn de la Vega, @Randwiches
The pork belly in your Fall share is from Stryker Farm in Pennsylvania. This beautiful piece of meat is at the beginnings of bacon. If you want, you can find some pink curing salt and start a batch! I recommend this recipe from Michael Ruhlman.
How to store pork belly:
- Meats should only be frozen twice ever, so once you receive your frozen packs, put them in the freezer immediately.
- If you plan to serve them, defrost in the fridge in a dish or sheet pan overnight.
- The vacuum seal on the bag should be tight, no air should be moving around inside before you open it. If there is, there may have a been a hole and your meat is contaminated.
How to cook pork belly:
Belly is known for its iconic strip of fat. If you use too much heat, the fat can get trapped inside, leaving it super squishy and chewy. The secret to succulent meat and crispy fat is to render it slowly. You can accomplish that with consistent low heat and let it drip off.
Here's how to braise pork belly:
- Pat the belly dry with paper towels.
- Coat it with a generous mix of brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Let it marinate in the fridge for a day or at least up to 4 hours.
- Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F.
- Place the belly in a roasting pan with a couple cloves of garlic, maybe a bit of onion, half a beer (or a cup of wine) and 2 teaspoons of any spices you have laying around.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Slowly bake for 2 to 3 hours. It is safe to eat when it is cooked to 160 degrees F.
- Let the pork completely cool. You can also store it in the fridge for another day if you need to.
- Cut the pork into squares and sear on all sides to crisp it up.
How to serve pork belly:
How do you like your pork belly? Let Jenn de la Vega know on Twitter: @Randwiches
- Really fatty meats need acid to balance out a meal. Try flavored, spicy vinegar or hot sauces to go with your fried goodness.
- You don't need oil to fry pork belly. If you fry thin slices of pork belly, save the residual fat in a jar for frying eggs.