Grocery stores fascinate me and it’s common for me to spend a couple of hours wandering the aisles, even in markets that I frequent often! It can be frustrating to my husband when he accompanies me on shopping trips, but my default explanation is: “I’m doing research!” Over the years, I’ve learned to save such super long research trips to when I’m shopping alone.
Last week, while perusing the butcher counter of Maxim market in San Jose, CA, I came across gorgeous slabs of pork belly with the rib bones still intact. Most pork belly is presented boneless, perfectly convenient for simmering into dishes such as a Vietnamese kho or its Chinese equivalent of red-cooked pork belly, or a Japanese version of char siu pork. This one looked different and without knowing exactly what I’d do with it, I bought one. The cost was $2.99 per pound and my slab of “fresh pork belly w/ ribs” weighed 3 pounds. You do the math. It was a minor investment that may pay off deliciously well.
What exactly is bone-in pork belly? It’s apparently the full belly of the pig. What we commonly call pork belly -- the stuff that bacon is made with -- has had the spareribs removed. Given that, pork belly with the ribs intact is a double whammy cut. If you like pork belly and pork ribs, why not keep them together?
Given my recent homemade Peking duck exploits, I plan to roast the pork belly to a crisp. Can't blame a girl for prolonging her adventure in fatty food! But I was wondering: Do you have experience cooking or eating this cut? Or, how about some creative suggestions?
P.S. Of course I’ll report back on the roasted pork belly!