My husband often refers to pork belly as “white bacon.” As most of us know, pork belly is simply uncured bacon.
Pork belly is a relatively inexpensive cut of pork. You can often find it on sale at the supermarket. Given its high-fat content, we rarely eat it, but I will occasionally purchase it on sale IF I can find a lean cut (more meat than fat).
Pork belly still appears on the menus of fashionable restaurants, but is not quite the “show-stopper” it was five years ago. The nice thing about pork belly is that it can be prepared well before the event and then quickly cooked in a skillet to make it crispy. This is a delightful recipe from Chef John which calls for the pork belly to be cook slowly for 6 hours and then allowed to rest for 12+ hours before the final 10 minutes cook.
Crispy Pork Belly
- 1 1/2 pounds pork belly skin removed
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
- Season pork belly all over with smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Wrap pork in parchment paper; wrap a second time in aluminum foil, and a third time in another sheet of aluminum foil. Place the pork packet in a baking dish.
- Roast in the preheated oven until tender for 6 hours. Let cool in wrappings to room temperature; place cooled packet in refrigerator and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
- Unwrap chilled meat. Save any rendered fat that falls away when unwrapping pork.
- Cut meat into 6 equal-size portions. Cut 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch slashes in the fat-side of the pork. Season with salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons reserved pork fat in a skillet over medium heat. Place pork belly, fat side down, in hot fat; cook until well-browned on all sides and heated through 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork belly to a plate, drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper.