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Pastured Pork Belly Recipe — Dan Barber’s Way

| 5/9/2012 10:13:00 AM

PigLush and fatty, this cut is best known for bacon (smoked) but is increasingly valued as fresh belly, which is usually braised or boiled before browning. Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant, cures his pork belly for 3 days before oven-braising it at low heat overnight, then cutting and searing it. This is a lengthy process but worth the trouble. I use his wonderful Salt and Spice Cure to flavor lots of different cuts of meat in addition to this one. I’ve adapted his recipe here for a smaller belly portion. Mashed potatoes, mashed Jerusalem artichokes or sweet potatoes all make fine accompaniments to this dish.


1 1/2 pounds pastured pork belly 
4 to 5 tbsp Salt and Spice Cure (below) 
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 


Combine all the ingredients for the Salt and Spice Cure (below) in an electric spice grinder and process into a powder. (This makes about 7 tablespoons. You can store the leftovers in an airtight jar, away from heat and light.)

Blot the meat dry. Rub it on all sides with the spice mixture and put it in an airtight refrigerator container that will hold it flat. Refrigerate the spiced meat for 3 days. On the third day, at least 6 hours before (if not the day before) you need to serve the dish, heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork belly in a Dutch oven or gratin dish as close to the size of meat as possible. Pour the chicken stock over the meat (it should cover it — if it does not, add water to cover). Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan. If the pan doesn’t have a lid or the lid is loose, make an airtight cover using foil. Braise the pork belly for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, until the meat is completely tender and has a texture similar to pot roast.

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