Pork Belly! Getting started!
We're having a party. The assignment is to cook something you have never cooked before.
I'm a foodie and experienced home cook but have never cooked pork belly (amazing, huh!) So that's what I want to do. I am looking for suggestions or what to cook and any techniques and tips.
- Eight guests
- Not too beginner-level. While I am a pork belly virgin, I'm an experienced cook who likes a challenge.
- Needs to be gluten-free since one of the guests is celiac.
- Needs to be delicious and hopefully, unusual and interesting. Spectacular, even
There are a million recipes out there and being an experienced cook, I'm sure you'll come up with something unusual and interesting. However, what I will say about pork belly is that I and most people I've served it to MUCH prefer a two-step approach of braising and then crisping. Pork belly that is stirfried or cooked with any other quick method tends to be tough and rubbery, but braising alone leaves the fat and skin flabby and unappetizing.
Whenever I make pork belly, I start with a whole one (or a large whole piece) and braise it until very tender - overnight in a 200 degree oven works perfectly. I then refrigerate the braised belly for a day or so to allow it to firm up a little bit - it's easier to slice into smaller pieces that way. Then I do whatever I want to do to crisp it - you can cube it and deep fry, slice and saute or broil, whatever. Cooked this way, quite a bit of the fat renders out, and what's left has an appealing crispy/melty texture as opposed to being flabby or chewy.
My most recent pork belly adventure was braised, then sliced and grilled, then glazed with a maple-sriracha glaze. I almost burned down the house (grilling pork belly over an open fire=BAD idea) but it was still delicious (if charred) and adored by everyone. I'll probably go back to deep frying next time!
I'll throw this at you. Just got a flyer from Farmland with a recipe for Smoked Pork Belly Taco. Corn tortillas so I think that's gluten free? Anyway it has a coffee-chile rub, and then a "Mexican Slaw Topping" that involves pineapple, cabbage, radishes, jalapeno, and a few other things. Served with the belly sliced into bacon-like strips, with slaw under and some crumbed cotija cheese on top. If you want I will give you more details. I've never made pork belly myself but loved it at restaurants, so saving this for someday when I see them on sale at the local grocery. That day may never come, but I'm the optimistic sort.