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On the Menu — Pork Belly

Thursday, April 22, 2021

What's on Thursday Food's menu board? Pork belly, that's what!

Pork belly is a fatty, boneless cut of meat that comes from the belly of a pig. When kept whole, the cut looks like a brick of meat with a thick layer of flat running along the top and smaller layers of fat marbled throughout. The function it's possibly most famous for? Bacon! When pork belly is stripped of its fatty outer layer then smoked, cured, and sliced thinly it becomes what we know as everyone's favourite sizzling breakfast food.

Difference between pork belly and bacon

Both bacon and pork belly come from the same cut of pork (pork belly). The only difference between the two is that pork belly is fresh meat, while bacon has been sliced, cured, and smoked.

Pork belly looks very much like a very thick slice of bacon, uncut:

How to cook pork belly

Pork belly performs quite well when cooked low and slow. The connective tissue in the meat needs time to break down slowly, allowing the fat to render out and the meat to become fork-tender. For best results, score the fat on the top with a knife, sprinkle with salt and pepper or your own spice rub, then sear until super-crispy. Transfer the meat to a Dutch oven and allow it to braise (crispy skin side up) for a few hours, until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees and the meat pulls apart.

How to store pork belly

Uncooked pork belly that is wrapped tightly or stored in an airtight container (like a zip-top bag) can be stored in the refrigerator for about three to five days or in the freezer for up to six months. Leftovers should also be stored in an airtight container, well-sealed in the refrigerator overnight for up to two days.

Sliced Pork Belly with Honey Garlic Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb pork belly

1/4 cup honey

3 tbsp tamari sauce or soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

2 green onions, chopped

Salt to taste

Method:

Slice pork belly into small cube-like pieces. Slice off extra fat, if you wish.

Add sliced pork belly to a large pan and start frying on high heat. Do not add cooking oil.

Constantly move pork belly slices in the beginning. Cook them for about 5 minutes on one side on high heat, then 5 minutes on the other side on high-medium heat. Use splatter screen. The total cooking time should be about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, if the pan gets too hot. The sliced pork belly should get crispy and browned.

As you're cooking you might have to reduce heat from high to medium as the pan gets hot. There shouldn't be any burnt pieces and the pan should not get burned on the bottom. Don't crowd the pan. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you might have to do this in two batches.

Remove pan-fried pork belly slices to a plate. Remove extra fat from the frying pan.

For honey garlic sauce

Add 1/4 cup honey and 3 tablespoons tamari sauce, and minced garlic.

Heat up the sauce until it boils, reduce heat, and cook for about 1 minute stirring. Remove from heat.

Add 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and stir it in. Add back the sliced pork belly.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds on top. Top with chopped green onion, and serve.

Recipe from www.juliasalbum.com