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that pig belly got the better of me..

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just got a big slab of pork belly from the asian market. My recipe (canal house pork belly with rhubarb compote as written on Food52 blog) called for scoring the skin "with a sharp knife".

I tried 5 knives - 2 sawing blades, a boning knife, a regular knife, and even tried the santoku. Finally, my husband said - jeez! next time we need to get a scalpel - because it was NOT going well. I was making very little headway I immediately remembered we had just gotten one of those snap=off matt knives from the hardware store... got a clean blade and BAM! done in seconds.

I never thought I was going to get through that skin! did I do something wrong? was I supposed to have taken that tough layer off? I thought that was the part I want to crisp.. if I need to remove it, PLEASE let me know (i've still got it in the dry rub stage).

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  1. Nope, don't remove it, that's the part that will crisp.

    Sounds like your knives need a good sharpening - they do have to be VERY sharp to easily cut through pig skin. Good call on using the snap-off blades - that's a good tip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: randomthoughts

      Agreed. Although tough I was able to score a few slabs and removed the skin with ease with my knives

    2. I use kitchen scissors to break through the skin. You're right, though, it's really tough.

      1. Here is the first ingredient on the ingredient list for Food52's recipe:

        "3 pounds pork belly, skin removed, fat intact"

        So yes, the skin needed to be removed.

        2 Replies
        1. re: janniecooks

          Interesting. I guess it's not a recipe that includes cracklings.

          Googled it.... The pic shows the skin removed too

          1. re: randomthoughts

            ok well... now it's been dry brined for 12 hours or so... guess i blew it. thought i read that recipe a few times but, as usual, i was rushing it.

            next time, i'll do it right: for now, i'm going to just leave it and take the top off if it doesn't crisp.

        2. When you DO want the skin, try box cutters.

          Check this one out. Quite a bit more complicated but a good read.

          Roast Pork Rules
          www.saveur.com/article/kitchen/Roast-...

          1. I did one for char siu a few weeks ago and that called for the skin removed. Even that was a bit of a task using the sharp boning knife that usually goes through most things. Just peeling it off the fat layer was work.

            Another knife option for scoring the skin would be an xacto knife with a fresh blade.

            1. well just wanted you guys to know that, even though i neglected to take the skin off.. and even though i had to work at getting it scored... and even though i didn't much care for the rhubarb compote that the side to the recipe.... MAN! THAT BELLY ROCKED! I sliced it so thinly that the skin became rind and was chewy and fabulous. I highly recommend such an easy, and wonderful, pork belly recipe.