Thanks to its incomparably rich texture and complex flavor, chefs are using fresh pork belly for everything from Porchetta to Sweet Potato-Pork Belly Hash. Fortunately, it’s easy to prepare in a home kitchen if you stick to a few key principles.
Go to your local butcher (or heritagepork.com ) and order fresh, skin-on, center-cut pork belly, the leaner the better. Each slice boasts three distinct textures: a thin layer of skin, thick ribbons of silky fat, and streaks of reddish-pink meat. (Look familiar? When cured, it becomes bacon.)
Unlike with pork chops, high heat doesn’t work
for the belly. Rather, mellow, moist cooking yields the best results. Braising (shown here), stewing, or slow-roasting renders the fat, particularly the layer just below the skin, and breaks down the collagen, making a tough cut meltingly tender.
Let the slow-cooked belly rest in the fridge, preferably overnight, before patting the skin dry (or removing it) and portioning. Cut it into cubes or rectangles–remember, it’s rich–then apply high heat: Sear in a skillet, fry it, grill it, or broil until browned and crisp and the meat is warmed through.–Hunter Lewis
Photographs by Zach DeSart
Five Great Pork Belly Recipes