Sunday, August 5, 2012

Asian Confit Pork Belly [Zack]

Can you recall a time when you were eating ribs and they were so tender that the meat fell straight off the bone?  Have you ever had a piece of cooked bacon where the fat is juicy and slightly crisped?  How about a dish where 5-spice was the star of the show?

If you combine all of those heart-racing memories, that's the definition of a good confit pork belly.  You already know the ratio of meat to fat in pork belly if you have ever seen a piece of uncooked bacon (bacon is made from the belly of the pork).  When the belly is cooked slowly, the meat portion becomes tender like pulled pork.  The fat portions melt in your mouth, and the asian 5-spice flavors sing throughout the whole experience.

It is a perfect appetizer, or the star of a rice bowl with vegetables. You can make this a few days before you entertain and let it sit in the fat in the fridge (see: confit duck legs).

This continued craze over bacon will hopefully cross over to the real thang.  Why?  Because it's somehow way more socially acceptable to have a chunk of confit pork belly instead of a whole plate of bacon for dinner.....


Divide your pork belly up into 4 individual servings.  Sprinkle with 5-spice powder, coriander, and salt.  Let it rest while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Get a pot going on medium-low heat with 1T of sesame oil.  Once it has heated up, brown all 4 sides of each of the sections of belly.

Take the pot off of the heat once you have browned everything and add in the rest of your oil until the bellies are fully covered.  Toss in your whole garlic cloves - skin-on is okay.  Place the lid on the pot and put it in an oven at 200F / 100C.

Let it slowly cook for 5 or 6 hours.  Check to see if it's meltingly tender by pricking it with a knife.  If your pork belly had a bone in it, the meat will shrink away, exposing the bone.

You can either serve right away, or put it in the fridge once it has cooled off.  If the meat is submerged, it should keep for a few weeks.  To serve at a later time, you can heat the whole pot up, or put it in a frying pan with a little of the oil to warm it through.

4 slices pork belly (bone-in is fine as well)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1.5 tsp 5-spice powder
1 tsp salt
6 whole cloves of garlic
1T sesame oil
~3 cups canola / peanut oil

optional:  top with some sriracha or hot chiles

Creativity options:
  • Mexican:  substitute cumin instead of 5-spice, top with a fresh green salsa
  • Greek:  continue with the cumin idea, make a feta and yogurt sauce.  OR make friends with a nice butcher and get your hands on some lamb belly
  • Italian:  remove the 5-spice, throw a few juniper berries into the oil. Puree rosemary, garlic, and tomato paste together with a bit of olive oil for the sauce.
Song - The Roots - Duck Down
Duck Down by The Roots on Grooveshark


  1. I'm about 30 mins away from yummy time. I used old bay, garlic and I had some leftover dehydrated Mira poix from some camping meals threw that in too.