What Is Pork Belly?
Pork belly, a fatty and boneless cut from the pig’s belly, is a versatile ingredient that features prominently in Chinese, Korean, and Filipino cuisines. With various cooking methods like roasting, braising, grilling, and frying, pork belly can take center stage as a main dish or enhance the flavors of soups, stews, and stir-fries.
The Secret to Crispy Pork Belly
Achieving that perfect combination of succulent meat and crispy skin requires a slow cooking process at a low temperature. To ensure the desired texture, score the skin before cooking, allowing the fat to render and the skin to become even more crispy.
- Massage equal parts baking soda and salt into the skin to draw out moisture.
- Slow cook the pork belly at a low temperature, rendering the fat and creating juicy meat with a crispy skin.
- Score the skin to enhance the rendering of fat and achieve an irresistibly crispy pork belly.
Ingredients for Amazing Crispy Pork Belly
- 🐖 Pork Belly: For optimal results, choose a piece with uniform thickness to ensure even cooking.
- 🧂 Salt + 🥚 Egg Whites + Vinegar (Apple Cider): Learn a new technique using this combination to achieve exquisitely crispy pork skin.
- 🍲 Dipping Sauce: Enhance your dining experience with a delectable dipping sauce made with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, spicy chili paste, fresh ginger, green onions, and sesame oil.
Instructions: How To Roast Crispy Pork Belly
- Preparing the Oven: To promote even cooking, utilize two oven racks. Place a casserole dish with water on the bottom rack, and move the lower rack to the second position from the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Preparing the Pork Belly Skin: To achieve a fluffy and crispy skin, aerate the skin by poking 100 small holes with a protein needler or a knife with a smaller tip. Avoid piercing too deeply to prevent excess fat from saturating the pork skin.
- After creating the holes, make several shallow knife cuts on the skin’s surface to enhance the puffiness and presentation. You can cut in one direction or create a diamond pattern.
- Create a boat using aluminum foil around the pork belly. Apply rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, followed by a sprinkling of sea salt. This step removes moisture from the skin. Refrigerate the pork belly for 2 hours.
- Dust off the salt from the skin and dry it with a towel. Prepare a mixture of sea salt, egg whites, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. The ratio is 1-to-1, adjusting the recipe based on the size of your pork belly.
- Using an oven-safe roasting pan, surround the pork belly with the salt cast, avoiding adding any underneath it.
- Roast in the oven at 325°F for approximately 1 hour. Some prefer using a higher temperature at 350°F.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven. Notice the removal of excess moisture from the skin, indicating the completion of the second stage.
- Transfer the pork belly to a baking sheet with a roasting rack, providing air circulation for even cooking. Remove the salt surrounding the pork.
- Lower the oven temperature to 275°F and continue roasting for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your pork belly.
- For added crispiness, broil the pork belly for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning. Witness the exciting transformation of your work into crispy crackling pork skin.
- Allow the pork belly to cool for a few minutes before cutting to retain its tender and juicy nature.
What’s the Difference Between Pork Belly and Bacon?
Pork belly and bacon are both beloved products derived from the pig. While pork belly is an uncured slab of meat taken from the pig’s belly, bacon undergoes a curing and smoking process. Both cuts feature a high fat content, but pork belly is commonly used in Asian cuisine, while bacon is a popular breakfast food.
Side Pork vs. Pork Belly: What’s the Difference?
Side pork and pork belly are cuts of meat from the same region of the pig. Side pork is a leaner cut, often cured and smoked, while pork belly is known for its fatty composition and is usually cooked fresh.
How Do I Fix My Non-Crispy Pork Belly?
If your pork belly falls short of achieving the desired crispiness, try the following tips:
- Ensure that the skin is thoroughly dry before cooking to avoid a soggy texture.
- Extend the cooking time to allow for additional crisping.
- Place the pork belly under the broiler for a brief period.
- Use a blow torch on the skin.
- Experiment with cooking at a higher temperature, such as 400°F (as a last resort).
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For the ultimate indulgence in crispy, succulent pork belly, try this recipe and experience the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Your taste buds will thank you!