Fresh pork belly, the heavily streaked cut that bacon is cured from, can be cooked in a variety of ways. You might need to ask your butcher to order it for you, but Chowhounds report that pork belly is widely available at Asian and Latino markets.

You’ll need to score the skin before cooking, Harters notes. You can simply rub salt into the scored skin and roast it, but Chowhound biondanonima thinks this cut is tastiest when cooked in two stages: first braised until tender and refrigerated for a day, then cut up and deep-fried, sautéed, or broiled. This renders out plenty of fat and gives the meat an “appealing crispy/melty texture.”

Another two-day approach is Gordon Ramsay’s pressed pork belly technique, which he demonstrates in this video. It’s a method that yields excellent crispy skin, fourunder says. And hotoynoodle calls this pork belly confit in olive oil from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie “a thing of beauty.”

Japanese and Korean markets often sell pork belly in thin slices. The most common Korean treatment is grilled and wrapped in lettuce with condiments. You can also simply salt thin slices and cook them like bacon, frying them in their own fat until crisp and browned, sandylc says.

Discuss: Pork Belly! Getting started!
Thin-cut pork belly

Photo by Flickr member Girl Interrupted Eating under Creative Commons

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