Slow cooked Pork belly is one of the wonders of the world, it’s rich, delicious and requires nothing more than your time when it comes to preparation and cooking.
I love long slow cooking and I love cuts of meat such as lamb Shank, Beef Cheeks and in this case Pork belly that you give a little to and get a lot back from. Beware though as cuts like these are beginning to creep up in cost…but…they are worth it and if you buy from a reputable craft butcher your money is well spent.
This cut of pork belly is yet again from my friends at Fenelon’s of Stillorgan but what really makes this dish sing is cooking it in my home County’s (Armagh) very own craft Cider…MacIvors Cider, if you want to learn more about them check out the video at the end of this post.
First thing is first: Long cooking = about 3-4 hours, Slow cooking = low temps like 120-160 therefore “Lo ‘n’ Slo”
Pork belly – enough for 6 greedies (or 8 skinnies)
Top quality pork belly – 5-6lbs should be plenty
1 full white onion
1 bottle of MacIvors Armagh Cider (or as good as you can get)
Sea Salt and Cracked black pepper
2 tbs honey
3 tbs dark soy sauce
The key to pork belly is the crackling followed by the bright white ‘fall-apart’ meat, you achieve this by cooking in two stages – Braise then Grill.
First stage: score the Pork Belly skin, deep enough so you can see right through to the pink meat. Forget about all these methods such as boiling water or vinegar on the skin to ensure crackling…it ain’t needed! Next, season the meat all over with sea salt and cracked black pepper then make a bed of onion in a roasting tray and lay the Pork Belly on this skin side up.
Pour in the Cider which will act as a braising agent and the natural sugars will help flavour and break down the meat. To cook the Pork Belly simply double wrap the roasting tray with foil and sling in a pre-heated oven at 160 for 3.5 hours.
Do not touch it!
This is the first stage which fully cooks the belly and ensures it falls apart – next it needs to get crackled!
Second stage: Take the meat carefully from the roaster and place on a grill tray, lightly brush with honey and soy sauce then under the grill to crisp up the skin until ‘cracking’ consistency.
To serve you need to let this rest for at least 15 minutes then carve…or just rip it! Pork Belly can be served in a Sunday roast style like the pic I have shown here or you can instead shred it and have it as ‘Pulled Pork’ served in bread rolls with BBQ sauce…….that recipe is up next!
Enjoy this pork – start buying it and check out this brand new Cider believe me, if you are a Magners, Bulmers or Strongbow drinker then you will be converted!!