Behold the pork belly chop! Bone-in, skin-on, this cut has it all. People often forget about the world of possibility the pork belly offers beyond bacon.
We turned to our friends at the Fatted Calf butchery and charcuterie in Napa and San Francisco to wax on about the belly and all of its gastronomic potential:
"Often thought of as fatty, the bellies of pastured pigs get a workout and contain some of the most succulent meat on the hog. Prepare the slab for a slow roast or succulent braise and turn any leftovers into a rich ragu for pasta or polenta. Bone the belly chop and you’ll have an impressive spare rib for the smoker. Skin the belly chop and save the skin for an irresistible batch of cracklings. Thinly sliced boneless belly can be used to line a terrine or enrich a kimchi jjigae. Cube it and caramelize it for a Vietnamese kho or confit it in lard and shred it for rillettes. In The Fatted Calf kitchen belly is cured and hung for Pancetta Tesa, rolled and tied for Pancetta Arrotolata and, of course, smoked for bacon. From lardons to rillons, bring on the belly!"
Chef Q prepared a recipe that highlights the unique characteristics of this cut.
- 4 bone-in pork belly chops
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tsp cracked black peppercorns
- Remove chops from packaging, pat dry with paper towels score the skin side in a ¼” cross-hatch pattern with a sharp knife and place In a large glass baking dish.
- Mix sugar, salt, black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Bury the chops in the cure and making sure the cure is on all sides of the chops including the bottom of the dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days.
- Preheat an oven to 450 ℉. Brush any excess cure off the chops and roast until golden brown approximately 45min-1hour, and reduce oven to 250 ℉ and continue to cook until just tender but not falling apart approximately another 30-45mins. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Pre-heat a cast iron pan on medium-high heat and pan sear the chops starting with the skin side down to create a crispy crackling skin, continue to sear each side until golden brown and crisp and serve.