I've been trying to cook a lot more lately. I just need to keep my hands busy. So after I finish work, I go for a surf, then come home to unleash the knife kit. I want to be a good cook and realize that I need practice, practice, practice.
I bought a pork belly last Saturday and have been trying a few recipes. One bombed, but this one really works. Like with anything I cook, I try to do a lot of research. A few undercooked pieces lead me to study trichinosis. Fortunately, the parasite is very rare, but a meat thermometer is always handy.
I think you'll like this dish. The crispy meat is laden with spice and is delicious as a result!
Crispy Pork Belly With Eight Spices
1 lb. pork belly
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1. Wash the meat under cold water.
2. Place the pork belly meat in a pot of water (2 quarts) and boil for about 15 minutes on medium heat.
3. Remove the pork and place it in a colander to let it dry for about 15 minutes. (see notes) Pat dry with a paper towel. (Water will not react well with the hot oil in a later step.)
4. Score the pork with a knife a few times and rub the spices and salt on the flesh only (not the skin). Layer the spices in the following order: ginger powder, five spice powder, white pepper and salt.
5. Let it marinate for 1 hour. You can let it marinate in the fridge for 40 minutes, then let come back to room temperature for 20 minutes. A longer period is suggested, however. You can even let the pork belly marinate over night.
6. Fill a Le Creuset, dutch oven or pot with oil enough to cover the skin of the pork belly. Avoid using olive oil since it has a low smoking point. Use a candy thermometer to indicate when you have reached a deep frying temperature. Be sure to employ a screen, tongs and even oven mitts to protect yourself!
7. Fry the skin side first for roughly 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy, turn it on the side and fry it only for a min or two, repeat on all sides. If the meat burns, you can trim or scrap for a more pleasant presentation.
8. Let it rest until cool to the touch and cut into slices. (see notes)
According to the USDA, the trichinosis parasite is killed when exposed to 144 degrees of heat. When you finish boiling, you can use a meat thermometer to test the temperature. It might be a good idea to reach the 144 degrees via boiling, then finish with the crispy surface via the hot oil.
When serving, I trim off most of the fat and the skin for a clean presentation.