Cook the Book: Momofuku – Pork Belly

by arnold on November 16, 2009

Momofuku Week is a new series I made up yesterday after realizing an epic post I was writing about cooking from the Momofuku book was going to be too long. I decided to break up the posts over the next week since I’ve made enough dishes from the book to cover about a week’s worth of posts already.

Momofuku Pork BellyPork belly fresh out of the oven.

Momofuku’s pork belly is really easy to make, which is good because it’s used in a lot of other recipes in the book, including the famous pork buns, ramen, and sam gyup sal ssam. This was the only the second time I’ve ever made pork belly, and it’s safe to say that it was rousing success. (My first attempt at cooking pork belly was a sous vide version that was good, but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing at the time either.) I also have a piece of pork skin in the freezer waiting to become chicharrones. If I’m lucky, that might be the end of this week. :)

A skinless three-pound slab of pork belly sits in a simple 1:1 salt/sugar cure for between 6 to 24 hours. After discarding any excess liquid, put it roasting or baking dish and roast it fat side up in a 450F oven for an hour, basting it with rendered fat halfway through. Then reduce the oven temperature to 250F and cook it for another hour or so until the pork belly is tender and has—as the book says—”a down pillow-like yield to a firm finger poke.”

After cooking, save the rendered fat and cool the belly till you can handle it. Wrap it in plastic or foil and refrigerate until needed—the belly is easier to cut into uniform pieces when it’s cold. When you’re ready to use the pork belly, cut 1/2-inch slices from the short end of the belly (against the grain) and warm it up. I like to use a cast iron skillet over medium heat to lightly char each piece of pork belly on both sides.

Download a PDF excerpt of this recipe (via Time Out New York):

Tomorrow: Momofuku Pork Belly Buns.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather in SF November 16, 2009 at 12:50 am

Wow this looks so amazing, yum! I want to cook one up too. Too bad the store isn’t open right this minute!

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Reid November 16, 2009 at 1:03 am

This looks amazing! This is one of the first dishes that I will try as well.

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Omid Tavallai November 16, 2009 at 1:13 am

Wow, I love the simple cure and crispy-looking outer layer!

My pork belly has been getting ever-more complex and time consuming with each go, and I never thought to simply do sugar/salt. It’s almost like candied barbecue :)

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Connie November 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

I made this a few days ago myself. Its already gone! Just ate it (all of it) over some ramen and rice (“forgot” to share with husband). SO good!

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Marvin November 16, 2009 at 11:04 am

Yes! Please do make some chicharrones! And where do you get your pork belly from?

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Arnold November 16, 2009 at 11:13 am

Heather, Reid, and Omid, I was surprised at how easy this really was to make and it’s so versatile.

Connie, that’s funny. I can’t “forget” to share things with my wife. :)

Marvin, I get my pork belly from 99 ranch. The one by me had really nice fresh ones. And I’m hoping to squeeze in a chicharrones post somewhere along the way…

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Gily February 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Do you rub the salt and sugar mixture all over the pork belly, top, front, back, underside or just on the fat side?

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