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How do I prepare a large pork belly with limited kitchen resources?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 11, 2012 at 5:10 PM

So I acquired a 16lb pork belly, which was significantly bigger than I expected. Does anyone know how to convert this to preserved or freezable palatable food? I'm in a bit over my head. I'm looking for advice on seasoning, preparation and preservation. Use will be hedonic/practical, no health or other issues.

I have access to basic kitchen facilities, and time is not a major factor.

Thanks in advanced for any help.

Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 12, 2012
at 01:37 AM

Excellent suggestion. I can envision my unhappiness with the results of cutting it by hand.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 08:50 PM

yeah, at the time I didn't have a particularly good knife collection.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 11, 2012
at 07:59 PM

I have previously tried cutting up pork belly with a bread knife. That was not fun.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 11, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I would probably defrost the whole thing, cut into four slabs, process all of them (whether as bacon or something else-there's tons of yummy pork belly recipes out there), and then once it's been cooked/prepared, you can refreeze, I believe. I'm sure the paleohacks community can set me straight if Im speaking out of turn.

Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 11, 2012
at 05:31 PM

Very helpful, thank you! It is currently frozen. Do I need to avoid refreezing it?

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7 Answers

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 07:25 PM

LOL once this happened to me. Lots of good advice here, but what made thing A LOT easier for me was I took it to a local butcher and he sliced it part of it thinly for me with a slicing machine (cost a couple of dollars) so that made making bacon easier. And the rest he sliced into squares small enough to fit into my crock pot. I froze most of these for later, as you can just toss them into a crock pot with seasonings/water and have amazing pork belly for breakfast.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 11, 2012
at 07:59 PM

I have previously tried cutting up pork belly with a bread knife. That was not fun.

Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 12, 2012
at 01:37 AM

Excellent suggestion. I can envision my unhappiness with the results of cutting it by hand.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 08:50 PM

yeah, at the time I didn't have a particularly good knife collection.

2
Medium avatar

(2923)

on March 11, 2012
at 06:55 PM

For most cases, look at cuisines outside of the US that still appreciate using ALL of the animal rather than just the steaks and chops. For pork belly, Latin America and China still consider it manna from heaven ...

Bacon - cure in salt and sugar for a week, smoke, slice, cook

Chicharr??n Colombiano - thick slice and score then fry the pieces til golden and crispy

Red-Cooked Pork Belly and Crispy Roast Pork - VERY high in sugar and salt, but the basic idea of a long slow braise with rich flavors

Sausage - feed it into a grinder, add seasoning, stuff into sausage casing

Make Your Own McRib Sandwich

2
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 11, 2012
at 05:20 PM

So bacon making is always a great idea. But 16# is a lot to manage at once. So what I might do is hack off a portion that makes sense for bacon making, maybe 3-5#. I'd put the rest in the freezer, OR make 4 different slabs of bacon at the same time, if that appeals to you.

To make bacon/pancetta, all you need to do is slather the whole darned slab with a bunch of kosher salt + your seasonings of choice. I like to do a mix of cracked pepper and something a little sweet like brown sugar or maple syrup. Then, put it in the refrigerator-I like to have it slightly elevated so that the liquid can be drained out--so i put it in a tupperware with a tiny little steamer rack underneath. But many people just do it in a gallon ziplock bag. Then, every day, take it out, drain out the fluid, flip it over, and then put it back in the fridge. Keep doing this until it seems to be releasing no more fluid.

Then, you're ready to either smoke it or bake it on low temp. Rinse it in cold water. I can't help with the smoking, but if you're low tech like me, put it in the oven for 3 hours at 200, til it reaches an internal temp of around 150. if it ends up being too salty, just blanch it in boiling water for a minute or two to leach out a little more of the salt.

Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 11, 2012
at 05:31 PM

Very helpful, thank you! It is currently frozen. Do I need to avoid refreezing it?

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 11, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I would probably defrost the whole thing, cut into four slabs, process all of them (whether as bacon or something else-there's tons of yummy pork belly recipes out there), and then once it's been cooked/prepared, you can refreeze, I believe. I'm sure the paleohacks community can set me straight if Im speaking out of turn.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on October 11, 2013
at 01:46 PM

Because of the fat, pork belly is ridiculously easy to prepare. I haven't come across a recipe that would do it harm. If you have a jar of fermented pickles or sauerkraut, finish off the food and use the leftover brine in a plastic bag with the belly, marinate 24 hours or longer and bake or smoke on the bbq. You can cook it in an hour or a lot longer as it is so flexible. Slice and eat, save leftovers and fry up or freeze in slices.

0
A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on October 11, 2013
at 01:00 PM

I would echo MedicalEnigma's idea about Korean recipes...my favorite meal to grill is pork belly lettuce wraps:

http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/samgyeopsal-gui and you can grill them with this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/380712654706?lpid=82

I LOVE pork belly! Once you have gotten a butcher to slice it up, you can freeze the sliced portions, from what I understand (I purchase pork belly frozen in slices at an Asian market).

0
59b1fb3c808957039f9ddf6fb341c05c

on October 11, 2013
at 09:02 AM

Cut it into large roasting dish pieces, cover in half stock/half olive oil or animal fat, baking paper and tin foil over the top and cook at a very low heat 120c for around 12 hrs. Press it for around 5 hrs after its cooked and refrigerate, once cold and set, cut into portions and score fat. Can be frozen and then re-roasted quickly and stays very moist.

0
Medium avatar

on October 10, 2013
at 08:40 PM

crock pot is your best friend as you can cook it in there, store it in there, and warm it up as needed. I used mine as a cooking and food storage unit (obviously dependent on the time needed to store the food) as I to have very limited ktichen space. You could toss it into a brine, then slow cook it @cerement has good suggestion about looking for other country's recipes. Korean recipes are also amazing for meats, especially pork. Good luck!

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