Crispy pork belly report and question-- anyone tried zuni style dry brining?
- Notorious EMDB Aug 28, 2006 03:13 AM
I made a crispy pork belly for dinner tonight, not a problem since it's 50 and raining in Boston today. I rubbed it with salt/pepper/thyme/cumin/coriander as it thawed and came to room temperature, then roasted it, skin side (scored) down in a 475 oven for 30 min. before turning it down to 350 to finish for another 60 min, following the basic technique of a recipe from the London Telegraph from earlier this year. I also roasted some small fresh dug red potatoes on a salt bed-- I coated the potatoes in evoo, thyme, salt, lemon pepper, and piment d'espellete before roasting. The fat rendered out well, and it was very savory, moist and rich. I made a quick sauce by sauteeing some carrots and onions in the roasting pan until caramelized, and deglazing with fino sherry, chicken stock, and a half a lemon, which complemented but cut through the richness. All very tasty...
But-- I know most recipes for pork belly call either for braising (tried it, too mushy, didn't like it) or wet-brining in advance. Has anyone tried an extended dry cure, a la Zuni Cafe? I have done this with chicken, beef, veal, and other cuts of pork, but not pork belly. Does it add to the flavor? Or does the thick rind interfere with the rub's permeating the meat? I liked the cumin/coriander/thyme combo that was part of the original recipe, but I am wondering if the cumin over time would be too strong and overwhelm the meat.
Thanks for any thoughts, experiences, ideas...
Chinese roast pork is done with a dry rub - the spices are applied to the inside/underside and not to the skin. Usually I apply the spice rub overnight at a minimum - up to 24 hours. In addition the skin is prepared by poking many small holes into the skin and then pouring boiling water over the skin a couple of times - and then putting it in front of a fan until the skin becomes dry and smooth to the touch. Will take a few/or more hours depending on the humidity.
Here's a link to an image from the last time I made this....
re: Melanie Wong
Here is a link to an image of the tool that I bought in Chinatown ( a few bucks ) to help with this process of poking holes in the skin. My results were noticeably better when I used a convection oven compared to my old Wedgewood oven. A visual clue is to look for the skin to start blistering - you'll need some pretty high heat to get to this stage. The skin on the suckling pigs - like at Koi palace - is not blistered at all but still very crisp .... I think it's a much thinner skin to begin with - in the larger pigs the skin is thicker and the crispy skin is almost always blistered
I've never brined belly pork and don't see the reason. It's so fatty it's never going to dry out. I usually cook it down with lots of spices, red-cooked Chinese or spicy Thai style.
My mother used to cut it into pieces, about 1" x 1" and cook it with red rice and Chinese wine. It was then served with a rice vinegar and pepper dip.
re: King of Northern Blvd
It hardly counts as a recipe, just a method. I got it off the blog chezpim. It's called moo wan in Thai, and this is directly from her description:
"I made a few other things, you could see them all on my Flickr, but the first thing that disappeared from the table was the ever popular caramelized belly pork. A lot of people have asked me to write a recipe, but let me tell you, it's so easy it's hardly worth it! I am not kidding you, this is what I do. Take a piece of belly, remove it from the skin if it's still attached, lay it out on a baking dish, a casserole, a cazuela, a Le Creuset pan, whatever you have. Then you make the braising liquid, by dissolving some palm sugar with water and adding to it some fish sauce. Taste it, the liquid should have the balance of sweet/salty you want in the final dish, but it should be about three times as thin as you want your resulting caramelized sauce to be. Pour the liquid over the slab of belly, get it to come up to nearly cover the top. Add to the pan a handful or two of sliced shallots. Bake that baby in a slow oven, for however long it takes until it's done. I never bother to measure or time it, but it comes out beautifully, every time."
I like to add some chopped Thai chiles to the braising liquid, or use a vinegar and chile dip to serve. It's so simple, it just depends on getting a nice piece of belly pork.
I use an oven temperature of 350 F, the time depends on how big a piece you have. I typically do around 3-5 lbs and it's probably in the oven for at least 3 hours. It should be very tender but not mushy. If the meat is tender but you have too much liquid, take the meat out and reduce the liquid on the stove. When it's syrupy, put the meat back in, baste well and broil until it's caramelized (watch carefully, this will burn easily).
I'm sorry it didn't work for you. I don't have exact directions because I pretty much grew up eating and making this dish. Is it too late to save it?
Yes, I've dry-brined pork belly several days before roasting. See my old report w/ photo here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
I seasoned all over the cut, so I think it was able to penetrate the meat just fine over the course of 3 days. Very delicious...
In that post, I also mention Fergus Henderson's wet brine recipe, so I may try that next time just to compare. Sounds like it will make it more flavorful and perhaps tenderize the skin better. Keep us posted on what you discover!
I've rubbed salt and spices over pork belly and let it cure for 48 hours prior to braising. Compared to when I've skipped this step, I find that the 'dry-brine' seems to intensify the flavor of the meat and adds a subtle complexity that's distinct from the flavor of the spices. The texture is improved, too. It still turns out tender, but doesn't fall apart into mush as easily. Maybe it's a similar process to dry-aging beef.
One of the nicest ways to cook belly pork is by sprinkling five spice powder and salt on the skin, drizzle a little sesame oil over it and roast at gas three for about 3 hours, or until the skin is crisp all over - the best crackling I've ever had. I serve it with noodles and pak choi (cooked with garlic, a little oyster sauce, soy sauce and a squeeze of lime).
In the last couple weeks ive cooked two pork bellys.
The first belly came from my butcher scored with small squares on top. Also the ribs were intact on the bottom of the belly, is this normal? For the first one I followed my typical asian style spare rib recipe:
-over night dry rub with paprika, and five spice powder
-then slow roasted in the oven with white wine/fish/soy sauce, onions/scallions, and ginger,
-I cover it with plastic wrap and then tin foil before putting it in the oven on 115 C.(im living in South africa so i use celsius these days)
- Cooked for a few hours, checked it and it seemed not quite soft enough so I put it back in the fridge over night
-the next day while I was at work my girlfriend decided to put it in the oven for a couple hours on 220c.
-It got nice and soft
-Then that night I threw it on the barbecue let the skin get crisp and glazed the under side with hoisen sauce
-then i served it with hoisen sauce, roti's(flat breads), fresh chilis, scallions, cucumbers,and the crakling peking style
It was crazy good!
The next roast came from the butcher with a thicker rind on it and seemingly less meaty. He only made scores in one direction on the rind, not squares, as the rind was tough.
-I cooked it the same way in the oven on low heat for several hours (no surprise high heat attack from girlfriend this time)
-It was real dry when I took it out! (maybe not enough brasing liquid? there were only an inch or so of wine/fish/soy sauce mix in there)
-The next day I did the same BBQ process,
The roast was dry, especially the section just under the rind. The rind was inedible!
I served it with a fresh chili, fish sauce/water, cilantro scallion, dipping sauce,
and lettuce for wrapping it up in with scallions, cukes, and hoisen again.
Everyone loved it but I was pissed off!
Any ideas on why the second one did not come out as well?
Maybe because my girl didnt blast it on high heat?
The roast was inferior?
too little liquid?
thanks for your time folks!
I cook pork belly all the time. I remove the rind, score it and rub salt into it. This is so I can remove it if it is getting too well done during cooking. At this stage I sometimes poke slivers of garlic into the meat or herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary or combinations of them all or just lay the herbs on the top of the meat below the rind, it depends what I am serving it with and if I can be bothered. I then place the pork topped with the rind onto a wire rack in a roasting pan and roast at 230celcius for first 15 minutes and then turn down to 180/190 celcius until done to liking. If rind not crispy when meat is done put rind only back in the oven on a piece of tin foil for 5- 10 minutes (watch closely or you will have charcoal) and turn the oven up as hot as it goes. Rest meat before slicing.