3 Everyday Recipes with Pork Belly

Just hearing the words “pork belly” can make a person feel a little weird, especially when it’s thought of as a delicacy. I must admit that initially I was a little turned off and opposed to even trying it because it doesn’t sound appetizing. But when I found out that pork belly is where bacon came from, I decided to give it a try because who doesn’t like bacon?!

Pork belly is basically uncured, unsmoked, and unsliced bacon. It’s cut from the underside of the pig. You can even buy it as a whole slab from your local butcher and make your own bacon with it. But if you’re feeling skeptical and just want to give it a try, there are many restaurants that feature pork belly on their menus since modern chefs consider pork belly far superior than ordinary bacon.

Pork belly can be cooked either roasted, braised, or stewed. Even though there is more fat than meat in pork belly, slow cooking the meat results in it becoming tender as the fat melts.  A quicker option is to grill it on the stovetop, searing the skin until it becomes crispy. You can also fry it like bacon, but remember it’s richer than bacon, so cook it in small portions.

Recently, I made pork belly biscuits with blackberry jam, white cheddar, and a fried egg. It was ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ delicious. However, I definitely want to try a few different recipes to explore the different ways pork belly can be prepared. Below are a few recipes that I think are easy to make and should open your eyes to a new way of eating pork. Note: these may not be the healthiest options, but it’s okay to splurge sometimes!

Pork Belly Sliders

 

Pork Belly Sliders

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound thinly sliced pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 split slider buns, toasted, for serving
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving
  • 1 cup peeled and julienned carrot
  • 1 cup peeled and julienned daikon radish
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsps rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

To make the pickled daikon and carrots, combine the carrot and daikon radish in a mason jar. In a small pot, whisk together the sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a simmer until sugar dissolves; let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the sugar mixture into the mason jar. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

To make the marinade, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, 2 tsp vinegar, sesame oil and pepper, to taste. Add the pork belly and gently toss to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add the pork belly and cook until crisp and browned, about 4-5 minutes; set aside.

To make the green onion mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, green onions and garlic in a small bowl.

Serve pork belly on rolls with pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber and green onion mayonnaise.

 

Pork Belly Kimchi Tacos

 

Pork Belly Kimchi Tacos recipe

  • 2 tablespoons sake (Japanese rice wine)*
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 small tortillas or 4 medium tortillas
  • mild white cheese, shredded
  • kimchi
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • sesame seeds

*ingredients slightly adapted for convenience

In a bowl, whisk together the sake, chili paste, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger. Add the pork and mix to combine. Let this marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Put the sesame oil and onions into a frying pan over medium high heat and sauté until the onions are just starting to brown around the edges.

Add the marinated pork, and spread it out into a single layer. Let this fry until browned on one side, and then stir fry until the pork is cooked through.

To make the tacos, heat the tortillas and place a layer of pork, followed by the cheese, some kimchi, scallions and sesame seeds.

 

Stir Fried Pork Belly

 

  • 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon mirin (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • pinch salt and ground pepper
  • red pepper flakes, for garnish
  • scallions, for garnish

Thinly slice the pork belly into bite-sized pieces. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, Chinese 5-spice, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pork belly, place in an airtight container or bag, and marinate for a few hours or as long as 48 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a pan over high heat and add in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pour the pork and its sauce into the pan, and stir-fry for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat, until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened slightly. Add in some snap peas or other veggies halfway through cooking time, if you like. Serve with vegetables and steamed white rice.

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