An indulgent dish that takes hold of your senses and doesn’t apologize – Easy Baked Pork Belly is slightly spicy with hints of saltiness and sweetness; it’s super moist and super delicious!
The races inspired this recipe!
It seems like a million years has passed since I’ve had pork belly. I remember the first time I had it; in fact, I remember it very well. John.e and I had just started dating. We were spending the weekend with my daughter and were invited to attend a birthday party at a horse-racing venue that Sunday afternoon.
So, on our ride back to Toronto from Kitchener, we made our way to Woodbine Race Track to help celebrate Vera’s 40th birthday. (Vera is a coworker and an extreme betting enthusiast!)
We placed a few bets – and won a few – and took part in a buffet dinner. One of the items on the menu was barbequed pork belly. The name was off putting, but I had to try it. I’d have a safe bet if I said I ate a pound or two of the stuff. In fact, I’m sure I gained a pound or two from that one meal, so that’s proof, right? 🙂
Recreating the dish was not something I was about to attempt. It’s one of those things that is best left untouched. Besides, it gives me a reason to harass Vera about hosting another one of her birthdays at Woodbine!
This particular dish uses pork belly, but I wanted to have a spicy version to accompany some good steamed rice. I previously cooked a Korean Vegetarian Beef dish that I loved the taste of, so without following that exact recipe, I wanted to mimic those flavours. This is what I came up with.
What pork belly should I use?
I’ve seen pork belly in two different formats. The first, is a solid piece that resembles a package of thick cut bacon. The second format looks like thick cut bacon that has been laid flat. So, whole and un-sliced, and the familiar sliced version like that of bacon. Make sense?
For this particular dish, I bought a solid piece of pork belly – about 3 pounds in total. The skin was left on the pork belly, but I removed it. I find that the skin in this type of recipe is just too chewy and almost inedible.
If I were preparing a dry, roasted pork belly, I would leave the skin on and let it get really crispy – such a delicacy and you must try it if you have not done so already. If you want to leave the skin on for this particular Easy Baked Pork Belly, you certainly can.
What is pork belly anyway?
So what is pork belly anyway? Pork belly, like bacon, starts out from the underside of the pig. It isn’t the stomach, but the flesh the runs on the underside of the pig. Pork belly is uncured, un-smoked and un-sliced bacon.
Most chefs consider pork belly to be far superior to bacon. Pork belly has juicy fat layers wrapped around the meat. There isn’t much meat, but once cooked it becomes tender, similar in texture to a pork loin. And that fat is melt-in-your-mouth.
That melt in your mouth feeling is exactly what you’re going to get from this particular recipe. Oh, my God – it’s so good! It’s super tender and so wonderfully easy to prepare. You’re going to love this dish!
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Easy Baked Pork Belly
- 3 pounds pork belly, skin removed and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 4 stalks green onions, chopped
- Place all of the ingredients (except the sesame seeds, pork belly, and green onions) into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the pork belly pieces and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- Arrange the pork belly on the baking sheet being careful not to overlap.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully turn each piece over, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
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