feasting with friends

A Pork Belly Brunch

pork belly brunchIt was about six months ago that I had a meal (at a local restaurant) similar to what you’re seeing today.

I haven’t been able to STOP thinking about it ever since. When a meal won’t vacate my brain… it means it’s time to make it at home.

In essence, it was a simple meal. Potato pancakes (latkes) topped with a cooked egg (poached in the restaurant, fried at home) and a small helping of crisped pork belly.

Perfection on a plate!

pork belly brunchIn deconstructing the meal, I found the only obstacle in my way was my lack of knowledge and experience in the pork belly arena. I found it somewhat intimidating. Eggs I can cook… no problem there. Potato pancakes… a cinch. It was just the pork belly that stood in my way.

If you Google “how to cook pork belly”, there are many different methods of preparation that will pop up. Many people are pretty adamant on the “right” or “wrong” way of said preparations.

It’s a bit like spare rib preparation…folks are pretty vocal that their method is the BEST method. Be it bbq’d, smoked, oven or slow cooked. Some are dry (rub only) others are wet (sauced). Some are fall off the bone tender…others require a bit of a fight to remove the meat.

In a nutshell… it’s all about personal preferences. We are all entitled to “like” things our way. Simple as that.

pork belly brunchI can count, on one hand, the number of times I’ve had pork belly. Plus, I had never prepared it at home. In settling on a cooking method, I took into account the “how” I liked pork belly. I determined I liked it crispy on the outside and tender, juicy and falling apart on the inside. A subtle seasoning is all I need… no need to mask the true flavors.

Taking my “checklist” into account… an oven roasting, after a pat-down of dry rub, was the answer for me. And it was easy. All it requires is a bit of time to cook…to encourage a tender and flavorful piece of meat.

The pork belly, when oven roasted, does take time. My 1 pound piece, took just under 3 hours… hence, the brunch. However, it can be roasted a day ahead of time, then simply crisped and warmed in a saute pan prior to serving.

pork belly brunch

Crispy, Roasted Pork Belly

  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Note: Number of servings will vary according to size of pork belly. My 1 lb. piece was enough to top 10-12 potato pancakes/eggs.

Ingredients:
1 lb pork belly
12 ounce beer
For the rub:
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper (or cayenne)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500°F. Choose a roasting pan, large enough to hold a rack and the pork belly.

In a small bowl combine all of the “for the rub” ingredients. Mix well; set aside.

Prep the pork belly by “scoring” the top (the fat surface) in a diamond pattern. This can be accomplished by cutting through the fat (about 1/4″ deep),while avoiding the meat, on a diagonal in one direction and then the other.

Evenly distribute the dry rub over the entire pork belly. Not too thick…dependent on the size of the pork belly, you may not use all of the rub.

Place in the roasting pan on a rack, fat side up. Roast in the 500°F oven until the fat is bubbly and slightly browned (medium in color), then reduce oven temperature to 350°F for 1 hour.

At the one hour mark, pour in the beer. (If your roasting pan is very large, add enough water, or more beer, until the bottom of the roasting pan has about 1/2″ of liquid.

Continue roasting another 45 minutes to an hour, or until meat is fork tender when tested. (The fork will easily slide in/out of meat without resistance). Allow meat to stand/rest 10-15 minutes before slicing into portions.

Note: Each serving size shown here is about 2″ wide and 1/2″ thick. It was the perfect portion for our taste.

pork belly  pork belly  pork belly

Photos above: (Left) – The raw, scored pork belly. (Center) – Pork belly with dry rub. (RIght) – Pork belly fresh out of the oven, ready for carving.

Potato Pancakes

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
4 medium russet potatoes
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt + salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon flour
Canola oil, for cooking
Directions:
Peel and shred the potatoes (coarse). Place potato shreds in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain (in sink or over a bowl) for about 15 minutes.

Press down on the potatoes to encourage excess water to drain. Place potatoes in a clean kitchen towel, roll the towel and “wring” it out to release as much water as possible. Set aside.

Beat the egg in a medium size bowl. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper and flour. Mix well.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil in a large saute/fry pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add potato mixture in about 1/2 cup servings. Use a large, flat spatula to press and form into pancakes (about 2½-3 inches in diameter). Cook until underside is well browned, 10-15 minutes. Flip and cook other side until done (another 10-15 minutes), adding a bit more oil if pan dries out. Serve.

pork belly brunch

24 comments

  1. This looks perfect! I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes googling pork belly recipes. Your first couple of paragraphs describe my feelings exactly! I haven’t had latkes in ages either, thanks for sharing!!

  2. Liz

    i can see why you couldn’t stop thinking about that dish! Wow. Kudos to you for making it happen in your kitchen. Drooling so very much over here 🙂

  3. Splendid Nancy, it looks just tickety-boo! 🙂 Visions of crackle and pop came to mind when I read your post on the pork belly. It’s something that one should bring out and treat oneself every so often eh? Your eggs are just the way I like them ha ha (couldn’t pass that one up). The entire brunch must have been a treat. 🙂

    • The brunch was a wonderful treat, Loretta. Thank you! You’re right… it’s the perfect once in awhile indulgence. 🙂 It’s a shame pork belly isn’t a “super food”!

  4. It looks like you did the pork belly perfectly, despite all the conflicting opinions in your research! I have never eaten it, not being a big fan of meat (especially fatty cuts) but I used it recently to make a terrine which I think went OK. The carnivores certainly enjoyed it. I should definitely try your recipe on them next (and I’ll munch away on those delicious looking potato cakes!!) Oh, and your photos are so good – I love the tea towel with your name on 😉

    • Thank you so much, Trixie! Even though I’m very much a carnivore, pork belly is just a “once in a while” variety for me due to the fat. But when I do have it…goodness…that fat adds soooo much flavor. 🙂 Once I rediscovered that hidden towel, I just had to use it… it matched the plate!

    • Thanks, Jess! Ahhh, you need to give it a try sometime. Pork belly has such a depth of flavor (must be all that fat!). Hop on I-96 and head east…you can be here in an hour and I’ll have some ready for you! 😛

    • It really is a tasty trio! You wouldn’t have to ask…I’d happily serve a double up front! (I ate 2…I couldn’t stop myself!)
      Thanks for your kind comment… Between this and that sweet photo on your blog, you’ve made me smile twice today! 😀

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