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What Is The Deal With Pork Belly???
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beerpilot



Joined: 29 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29 14 7:09 am    Post subject: What Is The Deal With Pork Belly??? Reply with quote

I'm new to the forum but been smoking/slow cooking for about twenty years. I use an offset wood/stick cooker, nothing fancy, got it from Home Depot.

This post has to do with my problem figuring out why people like Pork Belly.

I have tried it about a half dozen times. I've tried a few different recipes, sort of fond of a whiskey/maple marinade I found somewhere.

Most recipes say to cook to 150 degrees. My problem with that is the pork still has way too much squeal in it for me, can't stand the flabby fat. I have sliced it thick, skewered and brushed with BBQ and crisped it up in the broiler. That was really good and made a great appetizer for a party.

I have also tried leaving it in the smoker until most of the fat rendered out and it had a texture I liked, but was a little greasy and it's sort of past the appetizer stage. It was kind of a hard lump of Pork at that point, although I liked the flavor, really caramelized and concentrated.

The successful appetizer I mentioned above was great but it was a heck of a lot of work. Marinade for several days, smoke, cool for a day, slice and broil then serve to guests. Also, here in Northern California Pork Belly is not a cheap cut of meat, it's more of a specialty cut.

So what I'm wondering is why is there so much hype about Pork Belly? I feel like I am missing something, or have unrealistic expectations, or just doing it all wrong. My one successful appetizer thing I did could have been done with extra thick sliced commercial bacon.

I have a few weeks until a big Christmas party and will probably try it again as an appetizer. I'll be interested in comments and opinions from anyone who has a good Pork Belly story to tell.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29 14 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are cooking pork belly I like to render out the fat, and have the outside crispy, so I like to wok it in a little bacon fat, or deep fat double fry it, oil at 350° fry until it has a golden color, take out and drain well, refry at 375° until it is crispy on the outside.

If you want to do anything else with pork belly, it turns into bacon very well, and when you are smoking bacon, after it has been in the cure for 5 - 7 days, I rinse it well, then pat it dry and allow it 24 hours in the fridge, then start the smoker at 80° - 90°, make sure it is smoking well, and start to smoke the bacon, I run it 2 hours, then go up 10°, then smoke another 2 hours then go up another 10°, keep on going at 10° per 2 hours until I get the bacon to finish at 150°, this is the only time I am smoking bacon to the temperature of 150°!

Once it has been smoked, I chill it in the freezer for a couple of hours before slicing it on a slicing machine, it is then packaged on wax paper and either vacuumed or ziploked and frozen.

I suspect that the recipe you were reading was for bacon made out of pork belly, but of course I can't be sure!
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Rinngrizz
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30 14 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree that it has gotten big in higher end restaurants as of late. Only way I had it was fresh belly, cut into a 2 in Wide by 5 in long piece and then seared at very high temps in a cast iron pan. he had skinned the belly and trimmed some of the fat off the top as well. It had a maple whiskey glaze as you had mentioned. It was ok, but no way would I order it instead of a nice rib-eye steak or anything like that. just something different.

As mentioned above, you can make your own bacon with it as well. I started doing this last year and tried Harry's maple and honey bacon recipes. I liked the maple better out of the 2 as the flavor of the maple really came through compared to the honey, but I think I cooked the honey a little hot as well. My next go on the honey has plans to make it after it is smoked instead of fry it. Also planning a batch of pepper bacon for this year as well. usually make it right around the Christmas season when it is good and COLD outside.
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01 14 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only used it to make Bacon. I have seen them stuffed, rolled and tied then cooked low and slow and it looks like a show stopper. Haven't tried it but it is on my to do list. Look up stuffed pork belly recipes.
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TheMidniteRyder
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06 14 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually taught a pork belly class for the California BBQ Institute/California BBQ Association earlier this year. Yes, the fat content is higher than the meat content. But that meat is oh so good!!! Treat it like a pork butt in your seasonings, trim any silver skin and any uglies off the top, inject with your favorite concoction. Bellies come 2 ways- skin on and skin off. Skin on is the best way to cook. Take it to at least 185 internal temp. When I presented the cooked belly to the class for samples, I was pulling off just the meat for them to try. Most of them beat the door down begging for the fat too!!! Believe it or not, the belly is the most flavorful part of the pig, IMHO. Feel free to PM me if you would like more detail.
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BigOrson
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07 14 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, the only place I've found that even will order it (much less carry it) is an International market or two here in Atlanta and even then there isn't enough of it to really experiment with it. I've been wanting to cure and smoke my own bacon for years and have had to settle for Canadian bacon or buckboard bacon instead. I'd love to try it, but getting it in pieces that are less than a pound apiece don't really seem worth it.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07 14 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Orson, there is a butcher 70 miles away I can get it fresh, but it is always available frozen at the Chinese supermarkets, and there are 3 of them inside 20 miles.

So you might check out your local Chinese supermarkets butchery department and see what they have? Wink
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BigOrson
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07 14 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't speak Mandarin, but the "International" markets I spoke of are Chinese, for the most part. They don't sell pork belly in more than about 8 oz. packages and the language barrier seems to keep me from ordering it in larger quantities.

Mike (Bugs) lives closer to them than I do. He should be able to back me up on this. If he can figure out out how to get them to get full bellies, I'll gladly follow his lead.
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ckone
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07 14 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big O:
You can't speak it, but I bet they can read it.


我想購買一整五花肉,不是8盎司包。您可以訂購它嗎?

LINK

They have an app for your phone (assuming it is a smart phone) the app can listen and translate also. Does not work perfectly, but generally gets the point across. (I have had good results with Spanish I assume the other languages are about the same)

(edited for Soezzy Wink )
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BUGSnBBQ
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08 14 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BigOrson - Yeah, I know what you're saying about Cobb Int'l. I even tried to get the manager to order/save me a couple whole bellies and when I went back they were sliced! Did that twice and gave up on them. They have good prices and fresh fish, but DAMN! I swear they're all retarded Laughing Laughing
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08 14 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ckone wrote:
They have an app for your phone (assuming it is a smart phone) the app can listen and translate also. Does not work perfectly, but generally gets the point across. (at least in Spanish)


Big Orson, next time you are in the international market, you'd better ask them first if they speak Spanish! Wink Laughing Wink
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ckone
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08 14 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
ckone wrote:
They have an app for your phone (assuming it is a smart phone) the app can listen and translate also. Does not work perfectly, but generally gets the point across. (at least in Spanish)


Big Orson, next time you are in the international market, you'd better ask them first if they speak Spanish! Wink Laughing Wink


Funny thing is that at the Asian market here, they do know Spanish.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08 14 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then it would work well then ckone! Wink
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Smoldering Coals
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08 14 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1/2" thick pork belly slice with siracha and maple syrup sauce and coleslaw on top. They just put it in a hotdog bun and serve it with chips. Got this for $10 at a Twins game.

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BUGSnBBQ
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09 14 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
ckone wrote:
They have an app for your phone (assuming it is a smart phone) the app can listen and translate also. Does not work perfectly, but generally gets the point across. (at least in Spanish)


Big Orson, next time you are in the international market, you'd better ask them first if they speak Spanish! Wink Laughing Wink

That's the worst part - The guys at the meat and fish counters are all Latino and I speak semi-passable Spanish, but they still screw it up Evil or Very Mad
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fire&soul bbq



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11 14 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just saw it at Rest. Depot in Marietta last week
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BigOrson
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11 14 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fire&soul bbq wrote:
Just saw it at Rest. Depot in Marietta last week


Yeah, but unfortunately, I don't have a business license anymore or access to RD.
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Fast Murray
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11 14 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe if you're a member of KCBS you can get a free day pass to RD.
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BigOrson
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11 14 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fast Murray wrote:
I believe if you're a member of KCBS you can get a free day pass to RD.


I was aware of that, but I'm not a member. Just a backyard schmoe.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11 14 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well even a backyard shmoe with $40.00 can be a member! Wink
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