>> Thursday, January 10, 2013
Pork belly is a tricky thing to cook.Because it has quite a bit of fat and collagen, it needs to be cooked for long periods of time before it becomes tender. Unfortunately, the higher the temperature at which you cook your meat, the more moisture it loses, and thus the tougher it becomes. Therefore, making good pork belly involves dancing in between that fine line of finding the optimal temperature and time.
The Modernist Cuisine at Home outlines various temperatures and times for cooking pork belly using sous vide. The general rule is - the lower the temperature the longer the cooking time. I decided to go with 36 hours, since The Modernist said there was not much noticeable difference in tenderness between 36 hours and longer cook times.
According to some sources, it's preferable to roll up the pork belly to prevent moisture loss. My pork belly came rolled up already, so I didn't need to add that extra step. For presentation purposes, it's nice to have it rolled up so you can slice it that way later. Make your marinade by heating up soy sauce, mirin,and sake with sugar until the sugar is completely melted.Once slightly cooled, pour this marinade into a vacuum bag with the pork belly and seal. Hanging the bag over the edge was the best way I found to vacuum seal a bag full of liquid (something the FoodSaver does not usually handle).Cook for 36 hours with liquid at 146° F. I actually ended up cooking it for closer to 40 hours since I didn't come home from work until the evening.
Adapted from this recipe
2 pound slab of boneless pork belly, rolled up
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup sake
1 cup mirin
1/2 cup sugar
6 scallions, roughly chopped
6 whole garlic cloves
one 2-inch knob ginger, roughly sliced
1. Heat up soy sauce, mirin,and sake with the sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is melted.
2. Add scallions, garlic cloves, and ginger. Let cool.
3, Pour the marinade into a vacuum sealer bag with the pork belly and vacuum seal the entire thing.
4. Sous vide cook for 36-40 hours with liquid at 146° F.
5. Remove the bag from the sous vide machine.
6. Cool down the meat by either putting the entire bag into an ice bath (if you need it soon), or let it cool in the refrigerator overnight. Don't try to slice it when it's hot - you will fail.
7. Once cool, remove from bag, dry off the liquid, and slice.
8. Serve in your favorite ramen dish!