Asian Style Braised Pork Belly

pork belly

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember Sundays as a day when we would most likely have a roast or some form of a meal that maybe took a little longer than beans & wieners or SOS. Subconsciously, I guess I continue to do this in my house as it seems to be the day we make the most elaborate meals. By the time we get home from work on a Friday, there is usually only time and energy for a quick grill.  And Saturdays we are most likely entertaining or on the go so Sunday becomes the day for family and a nice meal.

This past Sunday I was in the mood to try something a little different and more “extreme” than just a roast. I have been wanting to try my hand at pork belly, but hadn’t found a place that sold it yet. It was also a Daddy Day Care weekend with the wife working so I wanted to make it interesting for the kiddos. I had heard the Asian markets would most likely have the pork so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and trek over to Marina Grocery. In addition to most likely having the pork belly, they also have a large seafood section with live fish, lobster, and shrimp in giant tanks that the kids totally get a kick out of. It’s like the smelly, free version of the aquarium.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am not much into following a recipe to the T. I do, however, read up on different methods and recipes to get an idea of what it is I want to do. I was good to go on the Branzini as I have grilled fish many a time, but the pork belly was new to me. I read up on a few methods including roasting, braising, and boiling. The boiling sounded like a terrible idea, but in retrospect, I see why this may be a good way to go. More on that in a minute.

I had set out with the intention of braising the belly so I went down that path. Seared, braised, then put under the broiler to make a final crisp. Truth be told it was seer, burn while tending to 2 year old with potty training issues (clean self, child, floor, take battery out of smoke detector), cut off burnt part and get new pan, re-sear, braise…

I figured after almost 3 hours of braising it would have been done, but there still was too much fat on it even after I put it under the broiler. We ate a couple pieces like this and it was fantastic, just a bit too fatty still so I put it back in the oven to roast another 20 minutes and that did the trick. End result was a very tasty, tender piece of pork belly with a nice crisp top. I am thinking next time I may try the boil method first to see if I can reduce the fat and cooking time – just leery if that will take away from the tenderness of the finished product.

It also makes for great leftovers – added it as a topper for lettuce wraps we had the next night. Even better the next day.

lettuce wrap with pork belly

Ingredients:

2 lb pork belly

20 oz chicken stock

1 cup water

Chinese Five Spice

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 green onions rough chopped

Handful of fresh ginger root rough chopped

1 Tbsp Aji-Mirin

1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

½ cup low sodium soy sauce

Salt & Pepper

Method:

To be determined. Above ingredient list made for a very tasty pork belly. I followed the normal seer on all sides, braise 2.5 hours in all those ingredients, crisp under the broiler method and it was close to what you want, but, as I mentioned above, it did not get rid of enough fat. So until further notice, the method is a work in progress for me.

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