Friday, 6 August 2010

Momofuku Pork Belly and Pork Shoulder

There are lots of pork recipes in the Momofuku cookbook. If you count the ones with bacon, there's heaps. I've mentioned before that D doesn't like pork. He will eat bacon and ham, but anything else pig related is not for him. Luckily for my Momofuku journey, I do like pork. I was also looking forward to trying new cooking methods and new cuts of meat.

I have never tasted or cooked with pork belly before. I've read lots about it - this cut of pork has become increasingly popular in food blogs as bloggers explore or share Chinese or Korean recipes. In the beginning of my Momofuku journey, I didn't think I'd even seen it sold anywhere, but now I know more about what I'm looking for and I'm quite surprised at how common it is.

I procured my pork belly and pork shoulder from a butcher in Sunnybank along with a pantry full of necessities from the Asian grocer. I had lists and screenshots in my iPhone and D and I spent quite a while roaming the aisles. We must have looked pretty silly to the other shoppers, but we did have fun.

To make the Momofuku pork belly and the pork shoulder for the ramen, you either rub the pork with a sugar and salt mix and leave it to sit in the fridge for at least six hours per the original recipe or you can brine it in a sugar, salt and water mix per the recipe for pork buns. I went for the sugar/salt rub option and left the pork in the fridge overnight, before firing up my oven the next morning.

The pork belly goes into a hot oven with the fat side up for about an hour before the temperature is turned right down and cooked for another hour and 15 minutes. Unless you are cooking in my oven, where it took closer to three hours all up. Steph at Momofuku for Two suggests reversing the cooking method and cooking the belly on low first before using the high heat to colour at the end. I did both, starting and finishing with the high heat.

The pork belly was amazing. It was soft and fatty and meaty. I loved it and I was immediately a pork belly covert. We had to buy more pork belly the next weekend, so look out for more pork belly recipes coming up.

I didn't have as much success with the pork shoulder. The pork shoulder needs to cook at a very low heat for six hours. This means it would need closer to eight in my oven and I wanted to use the oven for other things that day, so I tried putting the pork shoulder into the slow cooker in a water bath. This didn't work. The slow cooker doesn't have the right kind of heat to render the fat in the pork and it ended up a little dry. It's still tasty, but it wasn't what it was supposed to be.

I'll have to buy another pork shoulder and give it another try before spring comes along and it gets too hot to have the oven on all day. I'd better hurry, less than a month to go. Boo. I do not like hot weather.


  1. I love pork belly, the fat melts in the mouth and if you cook it with the skin on, the crackle to meat ratio is amazing!

  2. I can't believe I hadn't tried pork belly before. It's incredible. I can't wait to cook with it again!