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Crispy Honey-Glazed Pork Belly: A Mouthwatering Indulgence

Crispy Honey-Glazed Pork Belly: A Mouthwatering Indulgence

The Pork Belly Revelation

It seems like a million years have passed since I’ve had pork belly. I remember the first time I had it – in fact, I remember it very well. My husband John and I had just started dating, and we were spending the weekend with my daughter. We 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, won a few, and took part in a buffet dinner. One of the items on the menu was barbecued 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 there!

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 flavors. This is what I came up with.

Understanding Pork Belly

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.

So, what is pork belly anyway? A pork belly, like bacon, starts out from the underside of the pig. It isn’t the stomach, but the flesh that 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. The 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? It’s 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.

Creating the Mouthwatering Marinade

Once you have removed the fat from the pork and cubed it into two-inch cubes, it’s time to make the marinade. To start, 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.

The Baking Process

Once marinated, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Remove the pork from the fridge and arrange it on the baking sheet, being careful not to overlap. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully turn each piece over, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Super easy, right? This pork belly dish is sweet and a little bit salty. It’s also spicy, depending on whether or not you used the dried red chili flakes. And just in case this is your first time having pork belly, it’s very fatty too. It’s the kind of fattiness that just melts in your mouth. I know it sounds bad, but it’s quite delicious.

Pairing for Perfection

To offset the fattiness, you might want to consider serving this dish with what I consider to be a palate cleanser. Make yourself a good coleslaw. I love my homestyle coleslaw – it’s creamy and probably the most common. But if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try my Jalapeño Buttermilk Ranch Coleslaw? It can certainly stand up to the strong flavors of this Easy Baked Pork Belly.

The fresh, uncooked veggies in a coleslaw will most certainly pair very well with pork belly. It’s always good to balance out a fatty meal with something fresh and cool. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think anything other than coleslaw is needed. I love the combination of the coleslaw with the pork belly. But if you want more options, consider a green salad with some acidic elements, such as tomatoes and maybe a lemon vinaigrette. Plain white rice is a great option too if you want something more substantial.

The key is to serve the pork belly with something that is fresh and/or muted in flavor. It works well every time. You should consider trying these other delicious recipes too:

So, there you have it – a mouthwatering, crispy, and honey-glazed pork belly dish that is sure to impress your taste buds. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

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