Cooking Pork Belly

I’ve never cooked Pork Belly before, but wanted to give it a try now that fellow Waldeneer Melissa introduced me to the magic of braising. I used hard apple cider, apple cider vinegar and apples slices in the braise itself (with a healthy amount of salt). Followed the steps below and it came out pretty amazing:

Braising

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Pat your pork belly dry with a paper towel to help it brown evenly.
  • Rub a liberal amount of kosher salt into both sides of the pork belly.
  • Dice any vegetables you’d like to use in your braise (fennel, onions and garlic work great).
  • Drizzle some olive oil into your dutch oven and brown vegetables over medium-heat.
  • Add your pork belly and brown both sides of the meat.
  • Slowly add liquid to dislodge those flavor packed brown bits stuck to the bottom of your dutch oven. This process is called “deglazing” - beef broth, cooking wine, or even water works great.
  • Add liquid (beef broth or water) until the level is halfway up the sides of your pork belly. Bring the mixture up to a boil before placing in the oven.
  • Cover your dutch oven with a tight lid and place it into your preheated oven. Let cook until fork-tender (about 2 ½ hours). You can check occasionally to test tenderness and add liquid if the level starts to drop.

Curious what others have done!

We cooked up a Walden Pork Belly for July 4th and it was a crowd-pleaser. The cut we had was exceptionally fatty and I was a little worried it might not appeal to those folks that prefer filet over a well-marbled ribeye, so I turned it into Pork Belly “Burnt Ends”… As it turns out, everyone kept coming back for more and it was gone within 15 minutes.

Pork Belly "Burnt Ends"

  • Combine the following ingredients, mix well, then generously coat your pork belly with dry rub:
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup Diamond kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 tbs dark chili powder
    • 4 tbs smoked paprika
    • 2 tbs fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tbs garlic powder
    • 1/2 tbs cumin
    • 1/2 ts cayenne pepper
  • Vacuum seal or place in large ziplock back and seal, removing as much air as possible.
  • Sous vide at 154℉ for 24 hours.
  • Remove from bag (leaving liquid behind) & pat dry.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 390℉.
  • Cut into ~2" cubes and toss with Rufus Teague “Touch o Heat” (or your favorite BBQ sauce) until well-coated.
  • Cook in air fryer for ~20 minutes, turning a couple times to ensure even crisping. They are done when they start to look dark enough you are afraid you left them in too long.
  • Rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with toothpicks to make them easy “finger food”.
  • Optional, but recommended: Snag a few pieces for “quality assurance” before you serve! Once you serve them, all bets are off! Don’t expect anyone’s manners to stand between them and the last bite!

NOTE: If you need to stage these for up to 45 minutes (perhaps to free up your sous vide or air fryer for other cooking), just transfer them into an oven-safe dish and pop into 150-175℉ oven.

SUBSTITUTIONS & EQUIPMENT:

  • NO PORK BELLY? If you are desperate for more of these and your next share delivery is weeks away (or you prefer more “meat”), this also works well with boneless country pork ribs.
  • NO SOUS VIDE? You could braise in a dutch oven as Jory describes above, though I might still encourage adjusting the time/temp for a lower/slower cook. Just be careful to ensure you stay safely above 140 degrees so you aren’t breeding bacteria.
  • NO SOUS VIDE OR DUTCH OVEN? Just seal your dry rubbed belly up in a tight foil packet with some beef or chicken stock and toss it in the oven. NOTE: If using double-layers of foil, make sure there are no holes or tears in the inner layer of foil. This happened to me once and all the juice went to the outer layer and I inadvertently turned some nice brisket into a roast.
  • NO AIR FRYER? Just use the broiler in your oven. Just use a broiler pan (or something with drainage). You need somewhere for the rendered fat to drain away if you want crispy goodness.
  • The dry rub was inspired by Ultimate Homemade Dry Rub (with a little tinkering).
  • It is almost criminal not to save the goodness from the sous vide bag and/or the generous helping of rendered fat from the bottom of your air fryer. You can put this liquid in the refrigerator and let it turn back to solid, then use for other cooking! It adds a ton of flavor as cooking fat for potatoes or hearty sauteed greens (e.g. kale, spinach, beet greens).

Hope you enjoy!

Regards,
D

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I’m planning on trying this recipe I found online…

https://iamhomesteader.com/pork-belly-bites/

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Welcome to the forums @hmflynn810! This looks delicious and simple - my favorite combination. I was pretty intimidated by pork belly a month ago, but I love the versatility of this cut.

Welcome @Dutch! A Sous Vide setup is on my list. I know that @PhilipGiampetro is a big fan.

I just made some pork belly bao buns last night and they were amazing - I ate so many that I think I’m still full from it now, 14 hours later, and my friends keep asking when my next share comes so we can do it again.

Recipe for the pork:

  1. Dice the pork into roughly 1x2 inch chunks. Sear pork belly w/ sesame oil over high heat until browned
  2. Remove pork belly from pan. Deglaze with soy sauce, and then cook up some minced garlic and ginger and diced onions
  3. Add more soy sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar, some chili paste, and some sugar to taste. Add a bit of water, and throw the pork back in. Make sure the sauce covers the pork ~1/2 way, and if it is too low, add more water, and if too high, cook uncovered until water evaporates.
  4. Cook covered on med-low for a few hours while you make the buns!

Buns from this recipe: How to Make Steamed Bao Buns (Gua Bao Buns) | Omnivore's Cookbook

When the buns are complete, the pork is probably as well! Add a bit of flour to the pan to thicken the sauce, and then make your buns with a chunk of pork belly, hoisin sauce, green onion, or whatever else you want.

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Those look amazing!! Did you try them? How did they turn out?

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Wow! I definitely have to try these!