Pork belly is a cut of meat that has an incredible amount of fat and meat, which is perfect for different ways of cooking.
However, a pork belly cut is usually carved into portions before throwing into a pot or oven in a somewhat recipe.
But how do you carve pork belly properly so that the meat will end up beautiful in look and tasty in flavor?
Don’t worry, we will guide you in this article.
Why should we carve pork belly?
Pork belly is usually sold under a whole big cut.
Unless you are serving this giant cut in a reunion meal for your friends and family, otherwise, you will need to carve pork belly into smaller portions to easily cook and enjoy.
Depending on each method of cooking, like grilling, smoking, or braising, you should carve your meat cut in different ways.
For example, to make smoked bacon, it is best to slice the pork belly into thin strips, while a braising recipe will require thick cubes of pork belly.
2 tips to carve pork belly
As long as you know what is suitable to cook the pork belly in a specific dish, carving this pork cut will be just a piece of cake.
Anyway, the following tips will help you easily carve pork belly so that every dish that is made from this meat cut will not only end up with a delicious taste but also an appealing look.
1. Know exactly what you are going to cook
Before carving pork belly, you should determine what dish you are going to cook with this cut of meat.
This step should be done before you purchase the pork belly cut indeed.
For your information, pork belly is not treated equally in different dishes.
Each method of cooking pork belly will require different marinating spices, time to cook, and of course, the way it is cut.
For instance, you don’t need to thinly slice pork belly before roasting or braising because the naturally sweet flavor from the meat will be likely to transfer from the meat to the liquid it is cooked with.
Moreover, it will be easy to get burnt under high heat.
On the other hand, when it comes to making bacon, ham, or an Asian stir-fried belly dish, it will be fine to slice the pork belly into paper-thin strips so that the flavor can easily penetrate into the meat and be quick to cook.
2. Prepare a sharp knife and flat surface to carve pork belly
The second and crucial thing when carving pork belly is you have to work with a very sharp knife.
Every cut should be done at one time because if you slice a cut again and again with a dull knife, the resulting pieces of pork will look disappointing.
Besides a sharp knife, you need to place the pork belly on a flat surface to easily carve it.
If you don’t have a chopping board, make sure the pork belly cut is placed on a clean, flat, and firm surface like a kitchen countertop.
How to carve pork belly?
- A sharp knife
- A flat chopping board
- A pot of water with salt
- Paper towels
Time needed: 15 minutes.
It is super easy to carve pork belly, even for a novice cook without any experience in cutting raw meat cut.
With just a sharp knife and a good chopping board, you can create beautiful pieces of pork belly, no matter if it is raw or already cooked.
- Get the best cut of pork belly from a local butcher
- Score the fat side of the meat in a diamond pattern, making sure not to cut through the skin
- Heat up a pot of water to the boiling point, add salt to the pot and blanch the pork belly for a few minutes
- Remove pork belly from heat and drain it under clean water
- Pat dry with paper towels
- Cut the pork belly into pieces of meat that include both fat, skin, and lean meat layers (the thickness can vary per your preference and the recipe)
- Marinate per recipe and cook
Now you know how to carve pork belly properly.
You can now start cooking with this new knowledge and enjoy the benefits of a delicious cut of meat that has an incredibly rich and buttery taste.
But remember, be sure to always use a sharp knife when carving your pork belly so that it won’t end up looking like it was hacked apart by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing!
Remember these tips for next time you go shopping for meats or make some cuts at home if you have the tools handy.