Pork is the meat in China. The words ‘pork’ and ‘meat’ share the same Mandarin symbol. It is said good Chinese cooks know 100 recipes for pork. Our recipe of the day is Crispy Pork Belly. Now, if you are non-Chinese, you’re gonna rock pork belly, because it’s like a luscious slab of bacon.
Where pork belly is a big hunk of fatty, non-cured, non-smoked pork; bacon is cured with salt, smoked and cut into frying-sized slices.
What Puts the Crispy in Crispy Pork Belly?
On one side, pork belly has a thick covering of fat and skin. By spreading an outer layer of rock salt on the fat side and baking, the salt crystals will puff up to make a crispy, crunchy crust.
If you’ve ever eaten pork rinds or cracklins’, you’ll have some idea of its texture and taste. But, until you’ve eaten crispy pork belly fresh from the oven, you can’t imagine such heaven-sent pizzazz on a plate.
Take a moment to inhale its pleasing aroma. Admire the golden crust and whiteness of the pork meat. With your first bite, hear satisfying crackles of the skin, followed by the lip-smacking fat layer.
Finally, the to-die-for sensation when you bite into the mouthwatering pork belly meat. Tastes balance and blend like a happy marriage.
Americans don’t share Asians fancy for pork. It’s rather an acquired taste. Best taken in small doses.
Technique is Everything
The secret of Chinese chefs is out! You can make Crispy Pork Belly at home if you put your attention on proper techniques. It’s vital to season and refrigerates your pork belly overnight, prior to cooking.
① The secret to a golden, puffy crackling is to prick lots or tiny holes in the skin (only). But don’t worry, if unintentionally, you prick the fat under the skin or perhaps even the flesh, this may cause juices to bubble to the surface which may result in some splotches that are not 100% crisp.
② The key to even golden crackling is not to put your pork belly dangerously near the source of heat, the farther away it is, the better. Don’t rush the baking phase. Underdone pork can be hazardous to your health.
③ And of course, the Rock Salt – the salt crust not only draws moisture to the surface for ultra crispy skin, it also ensures it is perfectly seasoned.
Pork belly is better as starters because it is extremely rich. Leftover, cold pork belly, is not so palatable. Feel free to reheat the lean pork meat, but first, separate it from fatty meat and crackling.
When reheated, the fat meat will take on a rubbery texture and cracklings lose their crunch.
Crispy Pork Belly is spot on for important guests. Enjoy!