Thit Heo Quay – Crispy Pork Belly

Vietnamese food

The nearest Chinatown is roughly 2 hours away from us, therefore food such as roasted pork or duck is just out of the question.  We have to travel all the way to Chicago just for some good BBQ meat.  It’s such a shame because there are so many Vietnamese dishes that calls for roasted pork.

Last fall I got the chance to learn how to make roasted pork at home.  It was so incredibly easy and to be honest it was better than store bought; the skin was so incredibly crispy.  It’s as easy as dumping salt on a slab of pork belly and popping it in the oven.  All you really need to do is make a rub out of salt, sugar, and whatever spices you prefer.  I usually go for a classic five spice rub to go with my Vietnamese dishes.  But be creative with your rub, crispy pork belly is such as universal dish.

Crispy roasted pork is good on it’s own but here are some my favorite ways to eat thit heo quay.  I will eventually post recipe for each of the dish below, bare with me!

1.  Banh Hoi:  Thinly woven vermicelli noodles with sweet garlic fish sauce and plenty of fresh greens.

2.  Bun Mam Nem:  Vermicelli noodle with fermented fish paste, pickled carrots, and assorted fresh vegetables.

                

3.  Chao:  Shredded roasted pork congee with 1000 year old duck egg.

                

Ingredients:  

A slab of pork belly
vinegar

Five Spice Rub:
(This is the ratio of the rub, you want to use just enough to cover the size of your pork belly)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of salt (a little less than 1/2)
1/4 cup five spice powder
2 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon of paprika

1.  Wash your pork belly well.  Use paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible.
2.  You want to use something sharp or pointy to poke holes in the surface of the skin, this pretty much allows the fat underneath to rise up and crisp up the skin.  I like using a razor or the pointy tool below (I have no idea what it is, but I found it in my dad’s garage).  Razors are harder to handle especially on tough pork skin, so you might want to go with some pointy to be safe.

3.  Marinate the meat side of the pork belly with the rub.  Don’t forget the rub above is a ratio.  You just want to use enough of it to cover the meat.  You can poke holes or cut into the meat so the rub will season the inside of meat better.  I usually keep it whole unless it’s a thicker slab of meat.  You don’t really need to a marinate the pork belly for a really long (about and hour or less for me), because once you pop it in the oven the rub is not going anywhere it’s just going to form a flavorful crust.

4.  I like placing a cooking rack on top of pan and then putting it in the oven.  When cooking the fat will drip down to the pan. Try to position the cooking rack as low as you can in the oven because you will be using the broiler.  It would be better if the pork belly is not to close to the heat source otherwise it will burn too fast.

5.  Set the oven at 350 degrees on broil.  Place the pork belly meat side up and let it roast until it browns (approx. 25-30 minutes).
6.  Take pork belly out and wipe the skin dry from all the moisture.  Brush some vinegar on the skin, this will keep the skin dry and allows the skin to crisp up.  Place the pork belly back in the oven skin side up until it browns and crisp up.  Keep eye on the skin because some parts may burn faster so you might need to re-position your pork belly in the oven.  Whenever there is too much moisture on the skin, you’ll want to take it out and wipe of the moisture.  Brush more vinegar on the skin and pop it back in the oven.
7.  When the skin has brown and crisp up enough, remove and let it cool.
8.  Cut up your pork belly and enjoy it however you like.

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