If you like bacon, you like pork belly. Bacon and pork belly are the same cut of meat, prepared and sold in slightly different forms. This versatile protein is an easy way to add savory decadence to dinner. Here’s how to get the most out of this delicious ingredient.
What is pork belly?
Pork belly is a thick, fatty cut of meat from the belly of a pig. The fat is what makes this cut so special—it adds plenty of rich flavors. Unlike bacon, this product isn’t cured. While bacon comes pre-loaded with smoky and sweet flavors, this protein will have a pure and versatile pork flavor. It’s typically sold in a large slab and served in thick pieces. When compared to bacon, these thicker pieces are meatier and chewier.
How is Blue Apron’s pork belly made?
Blue Apron’s pork belly arrives fully cooked. Before it’s shipped to you, the meat is seasoned and cooked in a water bath. This method, also known as sous vide, creates tender evenly cooked meat.
All about fat
When you look at a slice, you can clearly see the striped layers of meat and white fat. You’ll also see an extra-thick stripe around the exterior, known as the fat cap. There’s no need to remove this. The extra fat is delicious, and much of it will render out during the cooking process. When the meat is cooked at a high temperature, the fat melts and renders out. The meat fries in the newly melted fat, creating a flavorful brown crust with a delightfully crispy texture.
How to cut it
The best way to cut pork belly depends on your dish. We recommend using a sturdy chef’s knife to create ½ inch slices. Pieces this size will sear quickly and offer a combination of crispy and chewy textures.
Searing pork belly
Even though it’s fully cooked, we recommend searing the meat before serving. You don’t need to cook it all the way through. The goal is to warm it through and create a crispy crust.
Keep the fat
Once it’s in the pan, you’ll notice that a lot of fat is melting out. This is normal! When the meat is removed, some melted fat will remain behind in the pan. This bonus fat is a blessing, so be sure to save it. Leftover pork fat can be used in place of butter or olive oil in most recipes. Strain any leftovers and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, and dispose of them if they starts to smell off. Try using your leftovers to fry breakfast potatoes or to make a rich pie dough.
Hungry for more recipe ideas? Try our recipe for Maple & Pumpkin Spice breakfast sandwiches.