Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh pork belly, how I will miss thee!

The thing about pork belly is that it's highly addictive. Look at bacon. Who doesn't want to eat bacon at every meal everyday of the week? But even plain old roasted pork belly will do it for me. The meat is so succulent and the fat cap becomes so pleasantly crisp. Oh sure, I'm fully aware of how unhealthy it is, but it's not like we eat it every day. Just once a week. Just kidding! Okay, not really. We have eaten it once a week for the last 3 weeks (gasp!), but it's not likely we'll be eating it again for a while. Mostly because my local farmers' market, and thus my pork hookup, is packing up for the season. *Sigh*



To close out the pork belly eating season (at least at Chez Pedersen), I made a roasted pork belly short rib drizzled with a teriyaki sauce spiked with gochujang (Korean pepper paste). This dish was inspired by an evening out with my BFF (and our husbands, but we didn't really talk to them much ☺). We went to a sake bar that served a nice selection of Japanese and Korean specialities (kimchi bloody mary with kimchi shaved ice and goat curry udon, anyone?) to accompany the sake. Combining Korean and Japanese flavors is not something I admit to doing very often because I know it's bound to piss some people off, but I think the flavors can go very well together. They did in this case, anyhow.

Again, no real recipe, but so easy anyone can do it! The perfect cut of meat for this is pork belly with the bones still attached, sometimes called pork belly short rib. If you can't find pork belly or the short rib, butt or any other fatty cut will work (1.5 to 2 lb roast). Even better if it has the fat cap (one reason I love my pork guy; all the cuts come with fat cap!). Don't use tenderloin or a regular loin roast for this preparation because you'll be roasting this well over the 150 to 160F that's normal for pork.

To get this roast perfect, salt the meat with a generous amount of salt, score the fat cap, put it in a shallow roasting pan with a rack, then stick it into a 450F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 300F (or 275F with convection). The mantra is low and slow. In fact, you could go as low as 225F, but that would significantly increase the cooking time. Roast till the internal temperature reaches 200F (yes, 200F!). Depending on which cut you use and how big it is, roasting time could be about 1 hour per pound, so plan accordingly. Remember to let it rest for about 20 minutes before cutting into it!

For the sauce, simply combine equal volumes of tamari (or regular old soy sauce) and mirin. Add sugar (or honey) and gochujang (Korean pepper paste) to taste. You can add a splash of sake if you've got it too. Heat the sauce over medium heat until it reduces and thickens a bit. Use it to drizzle over the sliced pork, or as a dipping sauce. If you go the dipping sauce route, spruce it up with toasted sesame seeds or a splash of sesame oil and grated fresh ginger. Serve with Japanese sticky rice and an assortment of Japanese pickles or kimchi.

13 comments:

The Woman said...

That belly looks deeeeeeeeeeeeeelish.

Tove said...

Hvor blev rødkålen af?
Hilsen MIL

Paula said...

I'm all for combining flavors! I must try me some pork belly. I love bacon; I love pork; so I'm sure I would devour pork belly ... even at the risk of expanding my own belly.

This sounds so good with that gochujang spiked teriyaki sauce. I can just imagine how wonderful it smelled. I think any foods that require low and slow cooking end up being some of my absolute favorites! YUM!

dp said...

The woman, thank you! it was :-)

Tove, den kommer. Jeg laver leverpostej og bager rugbroed paa fredag. Kig igen naeste uge :-)

Paula, I too love all things pork as well. I just wish it was as "healthy" as tofu.

Joanne said...

You know, I can't say that I have ever had pork belly. Isn't that ridiculous? It looks so delicious though, you are making me drool.

tigerfish said...

Oh blazing hot wok, how I miss your blog too!

dp said...

Joanne, it's not easy to find in a lot of places, and it's very rich and requires slow cooking. So no, I don't think it's ridiculous you haven't tried it. But since you are a runner and exercise regularly, you can justify eating it :-)

dp said...

Tigerfish, oh, thank you! I've missed being able to blog more often and reading my favorite blogs.

Manggy said...

Great cut! I imagine it would also be heavenly braised. I love when the honey starts to char and creates that awesome stickiness :)

bb said...

I want! Wow...pork belly...I just like to write it....pork belly...and yours looks amazing. Wow...again!

So who is your pork guy, and why can't one track him down off-season? I think we can. Tell me and I will do my best to find him procure pork. Besides I need a new mission in my life!

Oh, and to respond to a comment you left on my blog, I too LOVE Ha & Vl on 82nd for b-fast noodles, which is a great concept!

dp said...

bb, the pork people are Tails and Trotters. Apparently Pasta Works and a couple of other markets sell their products, so it's not like I'm cut off completely. However, I'm not sure if they will have all the cuts available and I probably won't make the trip down to SE very often . Not that it's more than a 3 miles away, but you know that's like a cross country trek to me. T &T does sell half pigs, which I thought of doing, but then my partner dropped out and hubby got cold feet. So no half pig for me. Wow, that was probably more info than you expected :-)

Lea Ann said...

I had pork belly for the first time this summer in McMinnville at the IPNC. I'll have to look at my notes, I think it was a chef from Portland. It was unbelievable! I went wild! I've still not tried to make it. You've inspired me to start asking for pork belly at my local butcher.

dp said...

Lea Ann, pork belly is definitely something everyone should make at least once. And there's so many different ways to do it, once won't be enough!