Pork Belly 101

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.

Buy It

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.)

Slow-Cook It

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.

Crisp It

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

Source: www.bonappetit.com

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