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I had followed many a recipe on pork bellies, never getting any of them quite right until now. I found a way to make these little devils tender and then finish them off into a crispy wonderful bite. If you have not tried pork belly before, I encourage you to try it in a restaurant atmosphere first. The love you will feel for this is beyond explanation and you, like me, will then go home and want to recreate this mouth watering perfect thing that hit your mouth. Finally on my third attempt, I think I have it! Soft yet tasty and oh so crispy said the third little piggy. So this is my attempt at doing just that. My spin is a little bit Asian and a little bit pit master with Betty Crocker thrown in. In the end it was something that I had none left of when the night was over.

You will need:

  • 5 pork belly cuts of 4×4 pieces
  • Chinese five spice
  • vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • brown sugar
  • crock pot
  • saran wrap
  • water
  • small pastry brush

So if you have trouble finding pork belly, you might want to try your local butcher. If that fails, look for an inner city market. I happened to find mine in Cincinnati at Findlay Market. Foodness, I mean goodness! If you ever get the chance, please go. It’s like being in New York at all the best delis and butchers in one place. I loved it! If I could have, I think I would of spent the day there just trying bits and pieces of things here and there, but I had a mission: pork belly. I bought 4 pounds and asked them to slice it for me. I learned this the hard way after doing this chore myself and almost killing my fingers and back as long as it took me. I realized I am not butcher. See below:

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Oh my, the work!!! Yes, ask for the butcher to cut these into nice little 4 inch squares! So worth it! Even more, you can freeze these squares no problem and take them out as you desire. I love the fact that it is so reasonable in price as well. 4 pounds cost me approximately $17.00 in Cincy and it will last quite a while.

pb5Ok, so I laid out my thawed pork bellies and laid them on a plate. I then scored each piece. Turn it over and puncture the other side with the skin, making little holes in the skin with a fork is fine. This is so the marinade and spices soak right into the meat.  You will need two small bowls. In one bowl, add your curing mix. 2 tsp salt, 1 tbs vinegar. You will need a small pastry brush for this part.

In another bowl, you will add your dry rub. Add the 2 tsp Chinese five spice, 4 tsp brown sugar and 2 tsp kosher salt.

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Rub the pork bellies with the dry rub on the meaty side.  Save the left over dry rub.

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Turn over and wipe the skin clean then dry the pork skin with a damp paper towel. Brush it with the cure of the vinegar and salt.

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Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place on a plate.  Leave it in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours to soak.

pb8I let mine brine over night and then added them into a crock pot and let them simmer all day on low. I added just enough water to come about 1/2 up the meat. So not covering the top.

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When I came home, I had nice tender pork belly. I transferred this now tender pork onto a plate and brushed and rubbed rubbed with the five spice blend mixture, top and bottom.

IMG_2145Add into a oven safe pan with a drizzling of olive oil in the pan.

IMG_2149Turn oven on low broil and heat until there is a nice crispy and caramelized on top. You can also do a few at a time in pan on the stove top, braising and searing.

pb11It’s really that easy and oh so tender. It’s like eating pork with crispy bacon on top and just melts in your mouth. You can serve this with mashed sweet potatoes, or creamy polenta. Tonight I went with waffles it was daughters choice and let’s face it she can eat bacon with anything!

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