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Crispy pork belly report and question-- anyone tried zuni style dry brining?


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Home Cooking 23

Crispy pork belly report and question-- anyone tried zuni style dry brining?

Notorious EMDB | Aug 28, 2006 03:13 AM

I made a crispy pork belly for dinner tonight, not a problem since it's 50 and raining in Boston today. I rubbed it with salt/pepper/thyme/cumin/coriander as it thawed and came to room temperature, then roasted it, skin side (scored) down in a 475 oven for 30 min. before turning it down to 350 to finish for another 60 min, following the basic technique of a recipe from the London Telegraph from earlier this year. I also roasted some small fresh dug red potatoes on a salt bed-- I coated the potatoes in evoo, thyme, salt, lemon pepper, and piment d'espellete before roasting. The fat rendered out well, and it was very savory, moist and rich. I made a quick sauce by sauteeing some carrots and onions in the roasting pan until caramelized, and deglazing with fino sherry, chicken stock, and a half a lemon, which complemented but cut through the richness. All very tasty...

But-- I know most recipes for pork belly call either for braising (tried it, too mushy, didn't like it) or wet-brining in advance. Has anyone tried an extended dry cure, a la Zuni Cafe? I have done this with chicken, beef, veal, and other cuts of pork, but not pork belly. Does it add to the flavor? Or does the thick rind interfere with the rub's permeating the meat? I liked the cumin/coriander/thyme combo that was part of the original recipe, but I am wondering if the cumin over time would be too strong and overwhelm the meat.

Thanks for any thoughts, experiences, ideas...

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