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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reduce it half way. Make sure that you don’t reduce it too much as the glaze will taste bitter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.