Crispy pork belly for service

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Joined Aug 10, 2013
Hi,

I'm an apprentice chef and am going to be trying a crispy cider braised pork belly. The crispy skin is the problem, I haven't been able to find a consistent way to end up with skin that can be kept/made crispy in a reasonable amount of time for service. It can't take too long as it is an entree dish.

Any suggestions or ideas? Some help would be great!
 
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Joined Mar 19, 2009
To poke or not to poke. That is the question. This is a tricky meal. I cooked it twice and both times the skin was golden brown, a joy to see, but teeth destroyer. 
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
Very timely subject as we just discussed this at a recent wine tasting I attended.

It was suggested to use a propane torch to crisp the pork belly piece just before it exits the kitchen door.
 
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Joined Aug 11, 2013
Hi there. I overcame this particular problem myself after a season at a hotel up in Scotland. I first braise the pork belly skin side up, so as not to submerge the skin. After a good few hours of braising, I press the belly overnight in the fridge. Next day when its cooled, score and salt the skin and then cut it into your desired portion shapes/sizes ready for service. Now when you get an order on, get the pork in a pan with some veg oil skin side down and get it nice and golden. Its better to start with a cold pan, as with duck. When that skin is nice and caramelised whack it in the oven, still with the skin side down. When its heated through nicely its ready to serve, and when you flip it over you should see a beautiful, hard as nails crispy skin. 
 
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Joined Aug 10, 2013
Thanks Sam, I'll give it a try. What heat do you take it to in the pan? I tried that in a test run and the skin scorched really easily because of all the sugar. I guess that won't happen if I can keep it much drier?
 
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Joined Aug 11, 2013
That's where salting the skin comes in as it draws out the moisture and really helps the skin get nice and crunchy. You don't want your pan as hot as the sun, a nice medium heat should do the job. You'll need to give it a good few minutes but you will see the process happening as the beautiful brown crackling goodness starts to creep up the side of the pork fat. Also some people say to cook your pork in a dry pan but I have tried this and I've tried it with fat (veg oil) in the pan and found that every time its better with the oil.
 
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Joined Jul 2, 2013
Personally i remove skin before braising, oil and salt sometimes adding five spice.  Then cook skin slowly on a cooling rack with tray underneath to catch fat, until crisp.
 
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Joined Aug 11, 2013
That's a good option, and a safe bet as you have total control over the crackling. I love braising the pork with some asian spices, star anise, cinnamon, clove etc
 
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