The Epic Pork Belly Fail…Why???

Really sad.  We did everything Thomas Keller told us to do.  EVERYTHING!  The consistency was perfect, the brine was perfect, so what could happen?  FAT!  FAT happened!  A huge slab of pork belly fat! While delicious, it ruined our amazing creation.

Our beautiful brine, which made the little bit of meat we had taste oh, so yummy. *sniff*

We then let the brine cool overnight and then put the pork belly in to soak for about 10 hours.  Thomas Keller says any more than that, the meat might become too salty.  Definitely don’t want that happening.  After the soak, I washed it and then patted it and let it air dry the rest of the way.  We got our pot nice and hot and started rendering the fat down.  But we forgot one important thing: trim off the skin! So, we decided to take it out and score it so that the fat would actually render since the skin was in the way.


Now, as you can clearly see from this photo: WHERE’S THE MEAT???  I don’t know how we didn’t notice this.  I think we were just so caught up in the excitement of it all.  That’ll teach us a lesson.  We then put the slab of fat back into the pot to let it render.  As this was happening, we threw it in the oven with some warmed up beef stock to let it braise for a bit.

This is what it looked like when we pulled it out of the oven.  Looks amazing, right?  Why would you think otherwise?  Well, now we had to turn it over and let it braise a bit more on the other side.  But, what’s this??

The whole thing just totally fell apart.  What we had was some burned cracklings, liquid fat and, as you can see, mounds of fat.  We tried our hardest, using every kitchen tool known to man to try and flip this baby, but, just wasn’t happening.  I, at one point, said “We need to stop.  It’s just all fat and it’s falling apart.  *sniff*”

We salvaged what we could, but as you can see, there really wasn’t too much to save.  That was literally all the meat that slab had on there.  What a huge disappointment. But, with mishaps comes learning and the lesson we learned was to look closely at the piece of meat we’re buying.

With that said, we were very proud of ourselves and found out that this brine really does work!  In fact, we’re going to be using it on a whole chicken we have thanks to my dad.  He gets these amazing pasture raised chickens fed with organic grains.  They’re delicious and I can’t wait to try out the brine.

I remember watching Good Eats one night and looking at Alton Brown like he was crazy for brining stuff.  But, I think next to bacon, brining is the best thing ever discovered.


~ by Iyumnewyork on July 19, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Epic Pork Belly Fail…Why???”

  1. i have a confession. you’re having all these problems with your pork belly because, when i first set foot in your kitchen, i cast my vegan spells upon it.

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