It seems like everyday there’s another recipe for pork belly, or at the very least someone else is extolling the virtues of braised pork belly or crispy pork belly. In case you didn’t know, pork belly has been around loooooong before we all started jawing about how yummy that fat tastes. The Chinese and Koreans have been cooking this in countless dishes. In fact, up until just a couple of years ago you were hard pressed to even find the pork belly cut available anywhere but in a meat shop that catered to a Chinese or Korean diet.
I suppose it was a natural progression for this pork belly infatuation. Bacon was/is showing up in everything…including desserts. In case you haven’t been schooled on pork belly, it is what it sounds like…the belly of a pig. Pork belly is uncured and in Western culture, it is the pork belly that is cured, sliced and called bacon.
Pork belly has a lot of fat. Much like bacon, it’s one of those things that we eat and a little goes a long way.
I made this for our Super Bowl party because I needed a party snack that would wow our crowd. I just couldn’t bring something that was a typical party snack. I’ll admit this isn’t the quickest thing to make, there are a lot of steps and it takes some time for everything to come together. But the effort is totally worth it. None of the individual steps is hard (if you’ve got a slow cooker…you’ve got it made). These pork slow cooker recipes (it’s a two part-er with the pork and slow cooker) are the perfect excuse to go out and get that slow cooker if you don’t have one. If you do have one, dust it off and start making more pork slow cooker recipes…it’s the perfect way to cook just about any cut of the pig.
These tasty bites have everything you look for in a party snack. Sweet and tangy, luscious texture and umami from braised pork belly turned crispy pork belly, a salty tease from the Parmesan topping followed with another tickle of salt, butter and crunch from the Ritz cracker base.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! Please excuse my lack of advice posting today, but I’m taking advantage of my husband today and what I would have to write would be very X-rated. VERY!!! <3
Crispy Oinkie Pork Belly Party Recipe
1/2 Cup Shaved or Shredded Parmesan Cheese
36 Ritz Crackers
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions (recipe below)
Dry Rub for Pork Belly (recipe below)
Braised Pork Belly (recipe below)
Slice cooled, braised pork belly into 1/2″ width slices.
Re-heat onions over medium low heat.
Pre-heat a saute pan over medium high heat.
Toss pieces of pork belly into pan with widest part against the pan. Cook for 1:15 minutes then flip to other side and cook for additional 1:15 minutes. (Do not crowd pan)
Remove pieces to a large plate and continue with remaining pork belly pieces.
If the pork belly you used still has the skin on it, you will need to hit the skin side with a torch (those little hairs are nasty). If the skin had been removed from the belly you used, you can omit this step.
Using a fork, pile some of the caramelized onions on to a Ritz cracker.
Lay a piece of the crisped pork belly on top of the onions.
Top with Parmesan cheese.
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions
6 Large Brown Onions (peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick)
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (cut into chunks)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (don’t use your good aged stuff for this)
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
Put all ingredients into a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 12 hours.
Let cool and spoon into a container.
The onions can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator.
Dry Rub for Pork Belly
1/2 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds
1/2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
4 Teaspoons Black Peppercorns
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
1 Star Anise
1 All Spice Berry
1 Teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1 Pound Pork Belly Slices (can be a slab, but I used 3 pieces that were 1″ thick and 8″ long – with or without skin)
Place first 6 ingredients into a small saute pan and toast over medium heat. The toasting is complete when you smell a rich nutty aroma.
Shake the pan frequently, to keep spices from burning. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
Put toasted seasonings into a spice mill (an old coffee grinder that is used exclusively for spices is perfect) or into a mortar and pestle. Grind until spices are powdered.
In a small bowl, combine the newly ground spices with the remaining ingredients (excluding the the pork) and stir to combine.
Liberally coat all sides of the pork belly with the seasonings and place in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container. There will be a lot of seasoning. You can also pour the excess over and around the pork. If you still think you have too much, you can also bottle the leftovers and use it for another dish.
Cover and let sit for 48 hours in the refrigerator.
Braised Pork Belly
1 Large Brown Onion (peeled and sliced)
2 Large Carrots (cleaned and cut into large chunks)
1 Large Shallot (peeled and sliced)
1 Cup Beef or Vegetable Broth
1 Pound of the Dry Rubbed Pork Belly
Toss the first three ingredients into the slow cooker.
Pour the stock over the vegetables.
Nestle the pork into the vegetables and broth. The tops of the pork should be above the liquid.
Cook, on low, for 6 hours.
Remove pork and let cool.
This step can be done 2 days in advance. (Cover and refrigerate if prepared ahead.)