1. Cut the pork belly slab into six to eight inch long pieces. 00:45
2. For the brine: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the water, salt, and brown sugar until the granules are fully dissolved. Whisk in the molasses until incorporated. 01:12
3. Place the pork belly in a large container and pour in the brine. Place the container in the refrigerator and allow to brine 12-24 hours. 02:57
4. Remove the pork belly from the brine and place on paper towels to drain excess moisture. Allow the meat to temper for 30 minutes to one hour. 03:34
5. To prepare the braising liquid: Heat a pot on high. Meanwhile, pat the pork belly dry with paper towels to remove excess brine. When the pot is hot, add grape seed oil. Allow the oil to heat then add the ginger and garlic. Lower the heat to medium. When the ginger and garlic cook down a bit, add the lemongrass and star anise. Add the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add the Chinese five spice powder and dissolve in the broth. Cut the heat to prevent the mixture from coming to a boil. 04:02
6. Pour the broth into a braising pan. Submerge the tempered pork belly into the braising liquid. Cover the braising pan with aluminum foil and cook in a 250 degree oven for about six hours. 06:54
7. Remove the pork belly from the braising pan and allow to rest and cool. (Optional: trim off the pork belly skin.) Cut the pork belly into 1/2 inch slices. 08:09
8. To sear the pork belly slices: Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan on medium. While heating, season the pork with a sprinkle of salt. Add a splash of grape seed oil to the heated pan. Place the pork belly slices into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sear the pork until golden brown on both sides then remove and drain on paper towels. 09:04
What You'll Need
- Nonstick or cast iron skillet
- Braising pan
- Mixing bowl
- Large container
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towels
- Pork belly slab (2 pounds)
- Water (4 cups)
- Kosher salt (1 cup)
- Brown sugar (1 1/2 cups)
- Molasses (2/3 cup)
- Grape seed oil (2 tablespoons)
- Garlic (5 cloves, thinly sliced)
- Ginger (1-2 inch knob, thinly sliced)
- Lemongrass (1/2 white part, minced)
- Star anise (8 whole pods)
- Chicken stock (3 cups)
- Chinese five spice powder (1 tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper
Vary the salt-sugar ratio in a brine depending on taste and length
of brine time. Ratios can be 50-50; in this tutorial, it is 2/3 sugar to 1/3 salt.
"Tempering" a protein means taking it out of the refrigerator and leaving it at room temperature for a short time so it loses its chill before cooking. This way, the meat won't become shocked and toughen up when it is introduced to high heat.
When braising, liquids should cover about 3/4 of the main ingredient. It should not be fully submerged.
Braised meats should be cooked slowly at a low temperature for several hours.