Sunday, December 30, 2018

pork belly

None of the pictures in duckduckgo images are nearly so awesome as the actual pork bellies displayed in the case at Pacific Ocean Market in Denver.  I nearly bought one just because they looked so perfect. Like flat bricks. On the side they look like a perfect strip of bacon, such as I've never seen in packages, more meat than fat, but with the fat striped throughout. Perfect bricks.

But I don't know what to do with them. The t.v. shows that I've watched for decades have never shown what to do with them. I don't see any such things in regular groceries or even in regular butchers. Apparently it's an Asian thing. Mind, they also have cuts of other things that I've never seen. Like a Mexican market, there's all these weird cuts all over the place, hardly anything at all recognizable.

It's like white people butcher animals differently from the rest of the world. And I'm baffled when I encounter their style.

[how to cook pork belly]

Deadspin came up.

The writer swears a lot. The pork belly pictured in diagram isn't as perfect as the ones seen at the Asian market.

The article disparages bacon as relic of a time before refrigeration and with limited present day value. The writer avers nothing is better than fresh pork belly that has broader uses and tastes a lot better.
All this time later, though, we've got refrigeration and, hell, we've even got freezers, and so there's almost never any occasion when we absolutely need to salt-cure what is far and away the best and most delicious edible hunk of any animal on earth. But! Being Americans—cursed with both a leftover puritanical distrust of anything that is good and a xenophobic blockheadedness about challenging our hysterically limited palettes—we're still doing the same old tried-and-true but ultimately destructive drying and/or curing of our delicious pork belly. We don't know any better! And we don't want to know any better. Dang it all, that is what being an American is all about!
Shut up about all that and just tell us what to do.

He continues with more proselytizing .

Finally. Half way through the whole thing.

Step 1: Find a pork belly.

Already did that. The writer goes on about how difficult they are to find.

Step 2: Score the fat with diagonal lines to form diamond shaped cuts

Step 3. Make a rub. The usual suspects. All the rub spices in your pantry with brown sugar. Use whichever spices you like: garlic powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt are suggested.

He left out black pepper, dry mustard, any of the hundreds of various curry combinations, fennel, fenugreek, asafoetida, cardamon, clove, coriander, ginger powder, turmeric, star anise.

Rub it all over the block of pork belly.

Step 4. Heat oven to 500℉. Roast fat side down for 10-15 minutes. When the fat bubbles and turns light brown turn down the oven to 325℉ and leave it alone for 90 minutes.

Still fat side down? That doesn't sound right.

After 90 minutes, open a beer and pour it into the roasting pan and cook it for another hour.

Step 5. Cooking is finished. Remove the bork belly roast from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

The beer-fat spicy goop on the bottom of the roasting pan is good to pour over the meat when it's sliced or shredded.


Now what to do with it?

* Shredded, makes excellent taco filling.

* Also very good sandwich filling.

* On a roll with hot sauce or slaw

* mix it with scallions and throw into a Chinese pancake with hoisin sauce

? What?

* Tear open a steamed bun stuff it full of dripping hot pork belly and just cram it into your face.

(This is the third time sandwich is suggested)

* sauté diced peppers, diced onions, diced potatoes, quartered Brussels sprouts, shredded or chopped or sliced or cubed pork belly and top it with a couple of poached eggs.

(That's a hash, with poached eggs)

And completely ruin all other breakfast foods forever.

Ha! That's how I feel about Napa cabbage and shrimp with 7 magical Asian flavor ingredients.

* It's also fine to put the whole thing in the refrigerator and then cut slices and fry in a pan, flip them one time in their own rendered fat and stand there and eat hot pork belly perhaps with a few drops of Sriracha.

He's pretending it's bacon.
The finished pork belly is sweet from the caramelized sugars and salty and spicy from the rub, soft and unbelievably rich from the slow cooking and abundant rendered fat but pleasingly crispy and brittle on the corners from the quick early broil. The finished pork belly will present many of the enjoyable characteristics of bacon, along with welcome textural complexity and an ecstatic diversity of flavor, bite to bite and even chew to chew, that will make your tongue stand up in your mouth and shout about being King of the World. The finished pork belly will be, in virtually every way, so vastly superior to dumb old bacon that you will come to wonder what in the hell you've been eating next to your eggs all these years.
Sold! I'm going back there right now and buy one of those things and do this. How dumb could I have been to just leave them behind? That doesn't even make sense.

1 comment:

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I am sure it will be a culinary adventure for you!