The first thing we bought from our local butcher after the first batch of pandemic ‘lockdowns’ was a good piece of belly pork. This is something we have never really managed to find in our supermarket deliveries as they are just too thin and lean! True ‘low and slow’ recipes render out so much of that wonderful pork fat out of the pork. It does leave enough thought to give fantastic taste and texture that only fat layers can provide.
For this cook we went to our ‘go to’ pork belly recipe here. If going to cook and eat on the same day then just follow the recipe on the link. For this cook though the cook was going to be in two phases. The first a standard slow cook on the EGG. Before the second phase, the finishing and production of a lovely crispy crackling we planned to portion up the pork, vacuum pack, and freeze until needed. Finishing was done portion by portion when needed. The steps are exactly the same but with a pause between the first and second part of the cook. We were cooking a 1.6Kg piece which should yield 8 portions of deliciously rich pork.
Rather than give all the cooking details that are there in the link – here is a brief summary. Our recipe has grown out of Nic William’s recipe for belly pork. The dry skin was scored and rubbed with Maldon salt. It was then massaged with olive oil and more salt added. The Big Green Egg was set up for indirect cooking at 120-30C with the platesetter in the feet up position. We used the expander system so the pork could sit on the top layer and drip quietly into a roasting pan on the second layer away from the hot platesetter. For the first hour the meat was placed with the skin up and then the pork was turned over with the skin down for the rest of the slow cook. It would take around 6-8 hours for the pork to reach an internal temperature of 90+C. We took the belly pork off at this stage.
Once removed from the BGE the piece was allowed to cool in the fridge overnight and was portioned and vacuums packed in the morning. At this stage the fat in the skin has been rendered but is anything but crispy!!
To finish off the pork – defrost the number of portions required and place on a roasting tray in a domestic fan oven at around 200C. Once the meat is back up to a suitable core temp (above 70C) add some top grill heat to your oven. This crisps the skin very quickly – so don’t let it burn (yes we have learnt the hard way!).
There are so many ways to serve this delicious piece of meat. On this occasion we served with baked potatoes cooked on the Big Green Egg using Nic Williams excellent recipe. The other star in this dish was our spiced red cabbage. The spicing and the residual balsamic recipe off sets the richness of the pork perfectly. It works with so many other dishes too – and the recipe can be found here.
Do give these dishes a go at some point …………….
………….. they are worth coming back to!!
Below is a copy of the linked recipe for crispy pork belly
Crispy Succulent Belly Pork
Slow cooked belly pork with crispy crackling
- A good slab of belly pork - if the bones are still in, leave till after the cook
- Olive oil
- Step 1 Leave the pork uncovered in a fridge for 12 hours or overnight.
- Step 2 Score the skin well and rub in salt. Wipe the whole piece of meat with olive oil and if necessary add some more salt
- Step 3 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking at 130C with the platesetter in the feet up position. If using the expander system put the pork on the top grid and a roasting dish too catch the fat on the second grid – separated from the platesetter. If you have a standard set up add some crumpled aluminium on the platesetter and put a drip tray onto this to collect the released fat. Put the grill into position over the drip pan.
- Step 4 Place the pork skin side up for the first hour and then turn it skin side down for the rest of the cook. Once the core temperature reached 90+C remove from the EGG (and turn up the EGG to around 220C if serving immediately.
- Step 5 Portion the pork (removing the bones which will simply slide out) and put back in the Egg to crisp the skin.
- Step 6 If you are finishing the pork later (as here) hen crisp the skin on the pork in a domestic oven at 200C and when back up to temperature add some top heat from a grill until the skin takes on that lovely crackling appearance. This crisps the skin very quickly – so don’t let it burn
- Step 7 rest for at least 10 mins to allow the skin to fully crisp and serve with your favourite accompaniment