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Pork belly is a large cut of meat from the pig that is taken from the back and sides of the pig.
However, if you’ve never bought pork belly before, you might be wondering: Where do you buy pork belly?
In this article, I will cover some key information about pork belly, including where to buy pork belly as well as how to store pork belly.
Let’s get started.
What Is Pork Belly?
Pork belly is a very fatty cut of meat that is cut from a pig’s belly. When you remove the fatty outer layer of pork belly, it can be cured, smoked, and is often sliced into thin pieces to make bacon. You can even make your own homemade bacon if you wish!
This meat has a rich flavor and can be cooked in many different ways. Pork belly is a delicacy in a variety of different cultures, including in Asian, Northern European, and Hispanic cuisines. A popular Chinese dish, for instance, is pork belly bao buns.
Where To Buy Pork Belly
You can buy pork belly in a variety of different places. The most popular place to buy pork belly is at your local butcher or grocery store.
If you’re looking for fresh pork belly, many grocery stores carry it at their meat counters. You can also buy it online from a variety of different meat stores.
It’s worth noting that pork belly can be expensive. If you want fresh or frozen pork belly, but can’t find or afford it, you can opt for or pre-sliced in bacon and pancetta to achieve a similar flavor profile.
That being said, the texture will obviously be different, and you might have to adapt your dish accordingly.
What Does Pork Belly Taste Like?
Pork belly has a meaty, rich taste due to the layer of fat that runs along the top of the cut of meat.
When it is cured and smoked, it’s packed with a mouthwatering umami flavor that bacon brings to a variety of different dishes.
When it is cooked in the right way, it should almost melt in your mouth, making for a very indulgent eating experience that you’re not likely to forget any time soon.
If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying dish that celebrates meat, then using pork belly as an ingredient is a treat that everyone should experience every now and again!
Is Pork Belly Healthy?
No, there is a reason why pork belly should only ever be eaten as a treat, and it’s because it’s not the healthiest food out there. The fat to meat ratio of pork belly makes it a decadent and luxurious choice, but under no circumstances should you deem it healthy.
The main reason is that pork belly primarily consists of fat. When compared to other cuts of pork, it is lower in protein and much higher in both calories and fat.
That being said, the benefits of using pork belly as an ingredient lie in its versatility and ability to provide flavor. It’s great for a variety of different dishes such as sandwiches, stews, ramen, tacos, and more!
Alongside this, pork belly packs a powerful punch in terms of its rich flavor, adding a deep richness that works wonderfully with so many ingredients.
However, as we all know, just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean that it’s healthy! Unfortunately, pork belly falls into this category.
Due to its high fat and calorie content, paired with the lower protein content in comparison to other cuts of pork, you should only eat it in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
The good thing about eating pork belly every now and again means that it remains a delicious treat that you look forward to. After all, food favorites aren’t always something you should really eat on a daily basis.
How To Store Pork Belly
You will need to store raw pork belly in an airtight container or will need to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap at a minimum. Provided that it is stored in a way that the air can’t get to it, it can be kept fresh in your refrigerator for around three to five days.
Alternatively, if you’d rather freeze your pork belly for a special occasion, it can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.
When it comes to storing cooked pork belly, you should make sure that your leftovers are kept in an airtight container and that you consume them within 2 days’ time.
How To Cook Pork Belly
There are multiple ways to cook pork belly. However, braising pork belly is my favorite way to prepare it.
Step One – Score Pork Belly Fat
To begin, you will first need to score the pork belly fat with a sharp knife.
You will want to make sure that you are cutting the skin diagonally with lines around 1/2 an inch apart. After this, you will want to repeat the process, cutting in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern on the fat of your pork belly.
Step Two – Season With Salt, Pepper & Spice Rub
Once you have scored your pork belly fat, you will need to season your pork belly with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Then, you will want to add a sprinkling of a spice rub of your choosing. Work the spice rub into all of the crevices you’ve just cut so that the whole diamond pattern has an equal amount of seasoning.
Step Three – Sear The Pork Belly
Following this, you will want to get a nice sear on your pork belly until the pork belly becomes deliciously crispy.
Step Four – Transfer The Pork Belly To A Dutch Oven
Once the pork belly has been seared, you will need to transfer it to a dutch oven.
Pork belly needs the delicate balance of slow, gentle heat in order to tenderize the meat, alongside a shorter blast at a higher heat to crisp the skin. Lucky for you, you’ve already done the latter!
Bearing this in mind, you will need to place the pork belly in the Dutch oven fat side up, and allow it to cook for a few hours.
For exact timings and temperatures, you will need to check the back of the packaging, as both can vary depending on the size of your pork belly joint.
The internal temperature should reach at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and the meat should be so tender that it easily pulls apart.
Step Five – Check The Internal Temperature
Once your pork belly has had a few hours to cook, you will need to remove it from the Dutch oven and check the internal temperature of the meat.
If the temperature is at least 145 degrees, then your pork belly is safe to heat. However, you will need to check the tenderness of the meat and the crispiness of the fat to determine whether the meat is ready to rest.
Step Six – Rest The Pork Belly
Once the pork belly is done cooking, you will need to allow it sufficient time to rest.
This can range from anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes, so have patience!
Step Seven – Carve Up The Pork Belly
Once your pork belly has been allowed to rest, it’s time to carve!
Step Eight – Serve The Pork Belly
Serve up the pork belly with whatever you’re serving it with, dig in, and enjoy!
Tips When Cooking Pork Belly
There are a variety of different tips you can bear in mind when it comes to cooking pork belly. These tips include but are not limited to:
Cook It Low And Slow
The key to cooking a good pork belly is to cook it low and slow! Patience is a virtue and making sure that you take your time is super important to the final result.
If you rush the cooking process, this could result in a tough as opposed to tender pork belly. Trust the process, and allow the meat to cook slowly.
Experiment And Get Creative In The Kitchen
As I’ve discussed in this article, pork belly is a super versatile meat that works great with a variety of different recipes.
With all the ways you can use pork belly, you should allow your creative juices to flow and experiment with it in the kitchen.
Pork belly is an excellent meat to opt for when you want to go the extra mile. Whether you opt for a salad, a bowl of ramen, or bao buns, this decadent ingredient is sure to reinvigorate some of your favorite special occasion recipes.
Trial And Error
As there are a variety of different ways to cook pork belly, it’s all about trial and error.
The more you experiment with cooking pork belly for friends and family on special occasions, the more likely you will find your favorite way to prepare this gorgeous delicacy and what ingredients you like to pair it with.
While some people like to celebrate just the meat, others like to incorporate pork belly into their favorite recipes.
Whatever you decide to do with your pork belly, just make sure that you have fun with it and enjoy trying and learning new recipes with this delicious ingredient.
You can buy pork belly in the majority of grocery stores and your local butcher shop.
After reading this article, I hope you have a wider understanding of pork belly, how it is cooked, and what you can do with it!
Make sure that you bear the helpful tips I provided in mind when it comes to cooking your pork belly dishes.
Good luck cooking with pork belly!