We’ve already established that pork belly is one of our favorite cuts to cook with at home. We showed you the easiest way to work with it in the form of a traditional braise and delved into the quickest way to get it done by using a pressure cooker. This week, we called on our friends from ChefSteps to show us the absolute best way to cook tender, fatty pork belly. Whether you’re new to sous vide cooking or familiar with the technique, you’ll be amazed when you take a tough cut like pork belly and slowly cook it so that it takes on textures and flavors you just don’t see with traditional methods.
Sous vide pork belly has incredible flavor, and you can choose your texture in advance and know that your meat will come out exactly how you want it every time. Sure, it takes a while (24 hours for a steak-y texture and seven hours for a braiselike one), but this is one impressive hunk of meat. Check out the basic instructional video and recipe below.
1 pound pork belly
Aromatics, veggies and herbs, as needed
Salt, as needed
Cooking liquid, such as soy sauce or wine, as needed
Sous vide setup
Ziplock-style bag, 1 gallon (optional)
Sous vide bags (optional)
- For tender but snappy pig with zero stringiness, heat cooking water to 154°F. For a succulent, fall-off-the-bone, braiselike texture, heat cooking water to 176°F.
- Add pork belly, aromatics, salt and cooking liquid to the sous vide bag. If you like your belly braised, opt for a sturdy sous vide bag, as higher temps can cause ziplock-style bags to fail at the seams. Make sure that the meat is completely submerged in water for the food to cook correctly.
- Slowly lower bag below the water line to squeeze out air, then seal the opening or drape it over the edge of the container and clip to the side. Cook 24 hours for steak-y belly; 7 hours for braise-y belly.
- Gently remove the bag from the water and set the belly aside. Pour juices from the bag into a bowl — we’re going to make a glaze with those.
- Make the glaze. Transfer juices to a pot and heat on high. Bring to a boil and simmer aggressively until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Brush that gorgeous glaze all over your belly.
- Slice up your piggy tum and serve with something amazing, such as baked beans or potato salad.
ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. The site is currently offering free online classes called Cooking Sous Vide: Getting Started and Burgers, as well as a $10 class called Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics and a $14 class called Coffee.