Being of Filipino descent, the craving for pork hits hard and often. We take pig seriously, but until someone can tell me how to make lechon in an apartment kitchen, I’ll have to settle for something more manageable.
Whenever squares of pork belly lie in the fridge, my gut instinct tells me to consult the Chinese. Only recently have I realized that our neighbors across the pond revere Wilbur as much as we do. Fergus Henderson’s and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s homages to all animals snouted and hooved are as enjoyable to read as they are to cook from. When they say kill it and use the whole thing, they mean it. Now that’s something I can relate with.
There are no weird or nasty bits here, though. Just the tame stuff that BLTs are made of. The belly is brined with juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves, presumably to thoroughly season instead of prevent the meat from drying out. Short of dipping the belly in a drum of napalm, you’d be hard-pressed to overcook something that is half lard.
After roasting for two hours, the skin wasn’t as crackly as I wanted it to be. The solution? Grab heatproof gloves and broil inches away from the heating element. Consider wearing protective eyewear as it puffs and sputters.