If you have been out to eat in the last few years, you probably have heard or seen the words “pork belly” on a menu or two. Pork belly was once a term reserved for butchers and stockbrokers, but now this cut of meat is becoming more widely known. Most people know pork belly as bacon– cured, smoked and sliced into the familiar breakfast delicacy– but the original cut has seen a rise in popularity. Many home cooks and amateur foodies are tackling this flavourful new trend in their own kitchens, you can too with D’Arcy’s guide below.
Pork belly has been used in many cuisines for as long as those cultures have raised pork. Once thought to be cheap and undesirable, this cut is now praised for its deep flavour, crispy skin and unique marbling. The cut can be easily served on its own when done well– best accented with striking sauces, subtle seasonings or sensible salads. Prepared pork belly goes well in steamed buns, tacos or sandwiches, as well as warm, hearty dishes such as ramen noodle soup.
When it comes to a good pork belly dish, it all comes down to the preparation. It may seem overly simple, but you won’t need more than salt, sugar, ground black pepper and time. Once seasoned, your cut should sit in the fridge overnight to allow it to dry out— this helps it cook more evenly and deepens the flavour. Once cooked, some chefs like to chill it again in order to cut thick slices that can be browned in oil or warmed in stock and served as needed.
As with most foods, there are almost unlimited ways to cook pork belly. Consult our list below for a summary of just some of these methods, many dating back centuries:
- Pressure cooker;
- Braised or slow-cooked;
- Smoked or cured;
- BBQ or grill;
- Oven roasting;
- Char siu-style (skewered over an open flame).
If you are planning on cooking pork belly or are simply just curious, contact or visit the experts today here at D’Arcy’s Meat Market. Our staff is always happy to offer advice, help select and even prepare the cut for your chosen recipe.