Out of my comfort zone – belly pork


A few years ago I ordered belly of pork at a rather smart restaurant with lots of awards on the wall outside the premises. It was probably the most awful meal I ever had, and that’s saying something. It was nothing more than mouthfuls of pure fat – no meat content whatever. Of course I didn’t complain, as I was clearly intimidated by all those important awards. Sometimes we don’t trust our gut reaction (no pun intended) to something that doesn’t live up to our expectation, like a meal or service. Rather, we put our faith in those we assume to know better than we do about such things.

I think today, we are probably better informed through our diverse experiences, as we travel in an ever-shrinking world. To that end, I found myself staring at a very meaty piece of belly pork last weekend at my butchers and decided to bite the bullet and right a wrong-taste experience for myself.

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To say the experience was life-changing is probably gilding the lily a bit, but it is close enough. Here’s what I did.

I scored the skin with a sharp craft knife and scalded it with boiling water to ensure good crackling. Then I wiped it dry and baked uncovered in a high oven for 30 minutes. Next, I turned the temperature way down to 100*C for four fours. The result was unctuous meat that I could pull apart with two forks – a sublime eating treat and I couldn’t stop nibbling. Now I know what real pork scratchings should taste like – that crispy crackling was a delight. The real deal.

My faith has been renewed in belly pork and I encourage you to try it for yourself. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it!

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