My first attempt at making Pork Belly Confit...

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by antcoccia, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. antcoccia

    antcoccia

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    Hello! So, I've never had Pork Belly although I've heard a lot of rave, and I've never had or made anything 'confit'. I'm 24, and have had a passion for cooking since I was a kid so I'm always trying new things. Unfortunately I havn't been able to pursue anything serious as a career path, but at least I can make a fool of myself making stuff like this! But one thing I should tell you all before you make fun of my cookin methods is that I'm currently living in a small studio in Miami Beach on vacation and have NO Oven and NO Stove....Yeah... lol. But never fear! I have a crock pot and a plug in electric "range" that resembles a hot plate! lol.

    So I started by talking to the butcher at a local market, and he had a nice big piece of pork belly that I had him cut up into about a 3lb piece for me. (I only used 1/2 for this dish) And on top of it, he was nice enough to give me about 4lbs of scrap pork fat that he had laying around. All that for under $10, cant beat that!

    So here we go... first step is to turn this scrap pork fat into liquid fat "oil", so I got a saucepan (all I have) and filled it about 3/4 way with the scrap fat, and just barely covered that with water. I let that cook down until the water was completely evaporated and I was left with pure liquid pork fat. I strained out the pork pieces, and sifted out anything else that was there so I had "pure" oil. I had to repeat this 3x because I was working with such a small pan. The whole process took about 5 hours.  So I put that in a bowl, covered, and in the fridge to store.

    Next I got a large piece of the pork belly and scored the skin/fat side. Made a little rub/marinate with white wine, rosemary (i know thyme is most popular), garlic, evoo, salt and pepper. Covered the meat, and refridgerated overnight.

    The next day, it was time to "confit" (?), so I turned the crock pot on low, added in my pork fat and let that liquify while I cut the pork belly into four equal pieces. In the oil I put 5 garlic cloves and some rosemary and of course added the pork belly pieces. I could only fit 3 in my crock pot, so I ended up roasting the other piece for about 2 hours at 300 and it came out delicious. But anyway... Then I let it cook nice and slowwww.. It was tough keeping a tempature in a crock pot so a few times I had to go from "low" to "warm" setting. But overall I let it cook for about 6 hours.

    When done I put the pork belly pieces (very gently because theyre tender) in a container, strained the fat that was used to confit them in to "re-purify" it, and covered the pork in the fat and put back in the refridgerator. So, I let it sit in the fridge for 3 days, then it was finally time to eat.

    I put a sauce pan (all i had) on the burner, and started scooping out the pork fat and let it liquify as well as removed the pieces of pork. I scraped off all the excess fat that was on the pork and set aside while the oil got to temp for a quick "shallow" deep fry! lol... 3 minutes, flip, 3 minutes. done. I plated it with a little sauce I made with roasted garlic, rosemary, white wine, and chicken stock. (same flavors i rubbed on the pork)

    Now, like I said I never had this before so I didnt know what to expect. And I can't really compare it to a good pork belly confit from a professional. But wow was it good! It had the consistency of a well cooked beef brisket, where it would fall apart if you touched it (almost did a few times while deep frying it). And while the outside had a slight crisp, the inside was tender, soft, and juicy. The small layer of fat on top melted over the meat as you put it in your mouth and gave it so much flavor. There's nothing better than pork fat! 

    So overall I was verrrrry happy. I plan on cooking this again in a real kitchen back at home (i live in RI), and I would definitly appreciate any tips or feedback!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2010
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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     Tips? Sounds like you nailed it. Great job for right for being your first time. You should try making your own bacon! Very easy and something I do regularly. Thanks for sharing the photos are excellent.
     
  3. antcoccia

    antcoccia

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    Wow, thanks for the positive feedback! From a former chef, that means a lot to me. I would LOVE to learn to make my own bacon! When I learned that pork belly is"fresh bacon", thats when I knew i'd love it lol. I'll definitly do some research and give that a shot soon, and maybe do another post like this in the near future.
     
  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    We started raising our own pigs last year, I have a feeder pig ready in a few months. Nicko, would like to know more on the bacon, when you have time..............Thanks........Chef Bill
     
  5. skatz85

    skatz85

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    nice, looks good
     
  6. chefray

    chefray

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    There is though.  Duck fat wins by a slim margin.

    As for the technique, it's spot on.  I also need to add that you seem to think like a chef.  You made do with what was at hand and pulled it off well.

     
  7. antcoccia

    antcoccia

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    Skatz and Chef Ray, thanks very much for the compliments! It means a lot to me.

    As for the duck fat over pork fat, that kinda gets me excited because I've never tried duck fat. And didnt think it was possible for there to be anything better than pork fat lol. Ive checked a couple ways to make Bacon like Nicko reccomended, and I definitly want to look into duck confit.

    Also Chef Ray, I notice your from Charlotte. I just spent a few months in Raleigh and visited Charlotte a handful of times (ugh 3 hour ride). Downtown Charlotte is really nice, I like the night life, the restaurants, etc... I didnt go to any really fancy restaurants while there, but I did attend a sushi class at JWu which was fun.
     
  8. chefray

    chefray

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    Duck fat is something to get excited about indeed.  As for the higher end places in Charlotte, skip them.  There are way too many great places that won't leave you with an empty wallet.  My recommendation is to find a Greek or Thai restaurant.  There are lots of great ones in this city.