PORK BELLY BURGER

The weekend is coming and of course, we are excited to enjoy a long afternoon, laying on the grass, in the garden with a lager or a glass of wine and a pork belly burger. And on top of that, why not to mix pleasure and health: Fresh pork belly has high-quality protein from the lean meat and plenty of micronutrients including fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Lean pork can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Cooking might be the last thing on your mind during this heatwave but at the same time, you will crave for a generous plate of food to match with your cold drinks!

So, this is A NO BRAINER, let’s bring on burgers and condiments please!!

What you will need to do in the next 36 hours is to get a piece of pork belly, to take the skin off, salt the skin overnight and to slow cook the meat for 4 hours. Who doesn’t like a golden and crispy piece of crackling? Ideally, you will use one of these amazing kitchen equipment, a slow cooker, and let the magic happen. (I will explain how to do it with a traditional oven too if you don’t  have a slow cooker.)

Today, I will not bother you with quantity but instead of I will bring you fun and joy. Just for guidance, 1kg of pork belly will make 8 generous burgers. Pork belly is a great value too, a kilo of pork belly is around £7.

Method:

  1. Place the pork belly into the bottom of your slow cooker. Cover with water, add 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves and 3 tablespoons of Maldon salt. Cook on high for 4 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, the same method works with a traditional oven (in a shallow and deep baking tray) turn to 140 degrees Celsius.
  2. Carefully take the pieces of pork belly out of the slow cooker. Leave them to cool down. Sieve the cooking juice and safe it for later.
  3. Make a glaze by cooking 1 pint of cooking juice on a medium heat with 3 tablespoons of ginger paste, half bottle of dark soy sauce and a tablespoon of sugar.
  4. Reduce it half way. Make sure that you don’t reduce it too much as the glaze will taste bitter.
  5. In a pan or in an oven turn to 140 degrees Celsius, start basting the pork belly chunks until the glaze covers and sticks to the pieces of meat.
  6. Take off the heat, cover the glazed pork belly with foil and keep it for later. Meanwhile, turn the oven to 180 degrees and with a sharped knife cut the skin into strips. Place them on a non-stick tray, sprinkle Maldon salt and press them with one more non-stick tray on top of them. Cook the future crackling for 35-40 minutes. Take the top tray off for the last 10 minutes. The crackling should be straight, golden brown and crispy.
  7. At the same time, get ready with your garnishes. I would recommend 4 sides to go with the burgers. Roasted new potatoes, a red onion and carrot slaw, a tomato salad, and I made a beetroot salad but you can swap it with anything else. Don’t forget the baby gem leaf for the crunchiness!!

Now, you have all the elements ready. Toast the buns, have a pot of mayonnaise on the middle of table, place the condiments in different bowls, sit back and enjoy the ride.

TIPS: When you prep the pork skin make sure that you are removing most of the fat from it otherwise your oven might look like hell! Also, I would recommend to use large  wholemeal baps as they are softer, healthier and a really good value too, £0.18/each.

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