Quick and Easy Pork Belly Recipe: The Fastest, Best Damn Quick-Braised Pork Belly Ever

September 24, 2012 12:58 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Pork Belly
Before I took to the FoodNRecipe Test Kitchen this morning, I had my doubts that I'd ever find a quick and easy pork belly recipe. All the recipes for it require so much gosh darn slow-cooking to get that perfectly tender, melt in your mouth pork belly, that's made the meat such a mainstay of the modern American kitchen for the past two years or so. (Photo: Daily Unadventures in Cooking)

Before I took to the FoodNRecipe Test Kitchen this morning, I had my doubts that I'd ever find a quick and easy pork belly recipe. All the recipes for it require so much gosh darn slow-cooking to get that perfectly tender, melt in your mouth pork belly, that's made the meat such a mainstay of the modern American kitchen for the past two years or so.

But what if the goal wasn't that awesome melt-in-your-mouth taste? What if you could play around with textures and get something that was nice and crispy on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside, with the perfect balance of sweetness, savoriness, and acidity on the tongue?

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And if that weren't dope enough, what if I told you that you could make it, start-to-finish, in fifteen minutes?

Move over literally everything you could ever dream of cooking for lunch. We're cooking up the fastest, best damn quick-braised pork belly recipe ever.

1. Preparing the pork belly

My supermarket sells pork belly with the skin peeled off, and that's the way I like it. Some people like to get that skin nice and crispy, and I've never understood that. It's certainly wonderful in other recipes, but I never like it with my pork belly. If that's your thing, more power to you. If it's not, high five.

Remove the skin, and wash the pork belly in salted water. Pat the pork belly dry, then cut it into thin pieces vertically. I like about a quarter of an inch in thickness to the pieces, but you could go a quarter inch in either direction depending on your preference.

I like to use around 500 grams of pork belly for this, but what you want to shoot for is enough pork belly to cover your pan's bottom in one layer. No piling pork on top of one another or you'll defeat the whole damn purpose of this first step.

2. Get that precious braising liquid ready.

Oh man, this part is really and truly lovely. Get a braising liquid ready by mixing two tablespoons of fish sauce, two tablespoons of sugar, and one tablespoon of ginger beer. If ginger beer isn't your jam, try two tablespoons of fish sauce, three tablespoons of sugar, and one tablespoon of water.

Mix it up until the sugar's as dissolved as you can get it. It doesn't have to be completely dissolved. Just do your thing.

3. Mince two cloves of garlic.

Mince two cloves of garlic.

4. Turn all that stuff into hog heaven.

Arrange the sliced pork belly in a single layer on your pan (whatever pan you want to use, just not a wok) and place it on the stove. Turn your stove to medium-high heat, and let it cook uninterrupted for three minutes. A little smoke coming off the pan is natural.

After three minutes, you should be hearing some nice crackling. Once you hear it, start stirring the pork belly with a spatula and move it around in the pan for another three minutes. Be mindful of the pork belly, making sure it doesn't rest one on top of the other, so that it all has equal access to the bottom of your pan.

After three minutes, add the minced garlic and stir until nice and fragrant. This is under a minute for me.

Once it's nice and fragrant, distribute the fish sauce braising liquid evenly throughout the pan. Let it cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently to make sure everything is evenly coated.

See that beautiful caramelization? Smell that wonderful sweet, savory fish sauce coming out of your pan?

Make it even more decadent by grinding fresh black pepper over the top just before you turn the heat off after those five minutes.

Enjoy over rice, with a fried egg on top.



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