Pork Belly (pg. 50)

For the first 3 months of 2009, I lived with a good friend, Thomas, on St. Marks Place in the East Village, not too far from the Momofuku Milk Bar.  Momofuku Milk Bar had only been open around 6 weeks.  There were many mornings when I would wonder over for the fried poached egg and pork belly bun with a hot cup of Stumptown coffee.  This was heaven, or, on few occasions, relief from the night before.

Fittingly, this will be the first foray into the Momofuku Cookbook, albeit without the slow poached egg for this post.  Since this recipe, like most of the Momofuku Cookbook, requires a few recipes, I’ll break it up into a couple of posts.  Not surprisingly, I made a few mistakes, learned by doing on the initial go round and tried everything twice.  I did a test run of the pork belly in NYC early December but repeated it over the holidays.  I waited until the holidays to put the whole thing together at my parents house so we all could enjoy in the food and new skills.  Also, I don’t have a dough hook to make the steam buns!

First, start with a good pork belly.  Pictures are courtesy of my sister, Beth, and her new Nikon D40 SLR she loves so much.  She insisted in including the mini-York peppermint patty for scale and a good idea.  Actually, she wanted anything and that was very handy and a frozen mini York peppermint patties are in the freezy 24/7.  Mom’s nickname is Junkfood Joanie!  But I digress…

The skin had to be removed, which was a little more time consuming than I expected, but not a big deal.  Chicharrón will be coming soon once I pick up some Shichimi togarashi.

The cure was pretty straight forward and simple.  In fact, it was so simple I was sure we were doing something wrong.  Actually, we were and should have sprinkled the salt/sugar mixture over the pan rather than making a big mess.  We hammed it up with some action shots.

This was covered and put into the fridge on Christmas night.  After letting it cure for 14 hours, it was ready for the oven.  This was a done as directed at 4500Fc for an hour with basting halfway and than another hour at 2500F.

The pork came out beautiful.  It may have been a little crisper at the corner than I would have likes, but that was unavoidable with the sugar.

Finally, the best part, decanting the liquid gold! (That’s gold, Jerry, gold!)

Bonus Shot:

Trial run Mise En Place and skinned pork belly.

Coming Soon: Steamed Buns

Please leave a comment with feedback or suggestions on how to improve the post.  This blog is as much an exercise in communication as it is cooking.

44 Responses to “Pork Belly (pg. 50)”


  1. 1 Sean January 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Did you find that the bottom of the belly was burnt and over done? I made them on saturday and had this problem. It almost seemed like it was frying in its own fat which caused the bottom to turn black and hard. Dont get me wrong, it was fucking delicious!! However it just didnt look right.

    Additionally, I live in NJ and I am surrounded by Asian Markets. I thought for sure that I would find the frozen steamed buns at one of these places!! Needless to say no luck. Any advice on where I can find them frozen?

    • 2 chrisdenoia January 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      Sean,
      The steamed buns will be the next post. Honestly, they are simple to make and great to have on hand and have not had to shop for them. Where you live in NJ. Did you check out the markets in Fort Lee around Yohan Plaza or the Asian Food Center.

      Thanks for being the first comment. I’m a Jersey guy myself. A little tougher these days thanks to the Jersey Shore idiots!

      – Chris

      I’m a NJ guy myself, it’s a challenge these days with the Jersey Shore idiots!

      • 3 Sean January 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

        I live in Edgewater and went to Mitsuwa and a couple places in Palisades Park. I didnt have any luck. I could barely find a parking space at Mitsuwa, never mind steamed buns…lol

  2. 4 Heather in SF January 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Can’t wait to see a shot of the pork belly sliced up. You are making me very hungry!

  3. 5 Stephanie - Wasabimon January 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Mmmm, pork belly. Just bought a bunch at a local pork CSA – along with some jowls. This is inspiring!

  4. 6 arnold | inuyaki January 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Great start on this new blog! You might like my series of Momofuku posts from when the book came out. I tackled the pork belly, pork belly buns, ginger scallion noodles, fried chicken and roasted rice cakes. I’ve also done the chicharrones and made bacon agedashi tofu based on the bacon dashi recipe. I anticipate posting more from the book throughout 2010.

    Did you refrigerate the pork belly before slicing it up? I always allotted time for this and it makes a huge difference in uniformity of the slices. It also forces you to fry up the belly to warm it up and the extra caramelization is nice.🙂

    FWIW, I haven’t bothered making the buns because there are some good ones available at local Asian markets near me. I get mine out of the refrigerated section and NOT the frozen food section. The refrigerated buns I get are bigger and wider than the frozen ones and are perfect for the Momofuku Pork Belly Buns. Plus, they’re sturdier and less likely to break than frozen. I hope you can find them in your area.

  5. 7 thebigfatundertaking January 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Good luck with the project. I vaguely heard about Momofuku (wasn’t it on a ‘No Reservations’ episode?), and definitely gonna check it out if ever in New York.

    As for suggestions, I would turn off the previews. I spend a lot of time (should I mention that?) on how to turn the f*ckers off and finally found that it could be done at appearance –> extras –> mshots.

    • 8 chrisdenoia January 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for suggestion, mshots are off.

      David Chang and Momofuku have been on No Reservations a couple times. There are now 5 restaurants: noodle bar, ssäm bar, ko, milk bar, and má pêche. The cookbook covers recipe’s from the first four.

      I would also check out Spotted Pig and the Breslin if you make it to NYC. April Bloomfield will no doubt be the next great NYC chef to hit it big (food geeks would argue she already has).

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