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Ingredient

Pork Belly

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What is it?

Fresh pork belly is just what it sounds like—the meat and fat from the underside of a pig. It becomes  bacon when you brine and smoke it.

How to choose:

For making bacon, use heritage pork breeds found at farmers’ markets, specialty stores, and online because they’re more flavorful than mass-market pork. Great pork bellies come from the Duroc breed, which has rich flavor and just the right ratio of fat to lean, tender meat. Tamworth and Berkshire pork bellies are also good.

If you don’t want to use a heritage breed, you can order fresh pork belly at your supermarket’s meat counter. Here’s what to ask for:

• A skinless, whole fresh pork belly that has an equal ratio of creamy white fat to lean red meat. The redder the meat, the better.

• A smaller belly that’s between 6 and 8 pounds (pork bellies can weigh up to 12 pounds) and at least 1-1/2 inches thick.

    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Cider-Glazed Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts

    This dish uses a classic flavor combination—pork, Brussels sprouts, and apples—in new ways. The pork is braised and glazed with cider for deep apple flavor and served over a Brussels…

  • Recipe

    Clams with Herb Cream and Pork Belly Cracklin'

    Puffy, crunchy little cubes of skin-on pork belly are the star of this dish, but briny clams, potatoes, and light herbed whipped cream make it a meal to remember.

  • Recipe

    Honey-Tabasco Pork Belly with Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

    A brown sugar rub and a spicy-sweet glaze give this roasted belly a deliciously caramelized flavor. It’s served over bacony slow-simmered beans and tangy braised collards for a truly delicious…

  • Moveable Feast

    Korean Lettuce Wraps

    These lettuce wraps call for pork belly (Chef Izard also likes to use goat belly), but slab bacon will work nicely as well. Very finely grated garlic is best, so…

  • Recipe

    Eataly's Porchetta

    Traditionally, porchetta is made with a whole saddle of pork with the belly meat still attached, which weighs forty or fifty pounds. For this version, an adaptation of Eataly’s, you…

  • Moveable Feast

    Grilled Pork Belly with Razor Clams and Black Garlic Vinaigrette

    The black garlic that is used in this vinaigrette is traditional whole garlic that’s undergone a fermentation process, resulting in a milder, sweeter flavor and dramatic-looking cloves.

  • Recipe

    Bunk’s Pork Belly Cubano Sandwich

    At first glance, this sandwich from Portland’s Bunk Sandwiches looks like a straight-up reprise of the Cuban working man’s ham and cheese sandwich. But one substitution alone earned it national…

  • Recipe

    Homemade Applewood-Smoked Bacon

    You won't believe how much better the flavor and texture of homemade bacon are compared to its store-bought counterpart. The process is simple: you brine a fresh pork belly to…

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