I am starting a new segment called COOK IT! This is where I stop waiting for my talented neighbors to invite me over for dinner and actually learn how to make their most delicious dishes myself. I am tired of being on the sidelines. It is time to get in the game….
#1 Pork Belly Buns
serves 5 adults, 1 nine year old, 1 two year old and 1 one year old
My neighbor is an amazing cook. And for Ollie’s first year there have definitely been weeks where she fed my family at least 3 of the 7 nights. The dish that Young makes that is legendary in my mind is Pork Belly Buns. This is a huge crowd pleaser….and this white girl is going to find her Asian mojo. First thing you need to know is that you need to marinate the pork belly for 6 hours but no more then 24 hours in a dry rub so plan ahead.
Also it is worth mentioning that this dish might look involved but that is only because I break it out step by step. The second time around you will speed through this. Also I did this while managing a cranky 1 year old, playing hide and seek with a 2 year old, snapping pictures for the blog and catching up on the days happenings with my guests. If I can do this so can you.
2.5 lbs pork belly *got mine at Whole Foods $15-
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. kosher salt
2 packages of buns * see note
1 bunch cilantro
hoisin sauce for smearing
1 bunch scallions chopped 1″ pieces
2 small Persian cucumbers cut into 1/4″ slices
bamboo steamer *got mine at Spring Garden Market $15-
*Know your buns:
I grabbed my buns at the Spring Garden Market which is located at Spring Garden and 4th Street. There is parking in the back. That store has a million and one buns and only one of the kind you need. Lotus Leaf Steamed Buns. They are in the refrigerator case at the end of the aisles in the middle of the store (not the freezer case off to the right). The buns you want are not filled and are about 1/4″ thick and are folded over like little tacos. See the picture I included. This is exact kind you need.
1. Rub it
Mix the brown sugar and kosher salt and do a dry rub all over your pork.
2. Marinate it
Place the pork belly fat side up in a glass dish that has a least 1″ lip. The pork is going to let out liquid. Place in the fridge over night or at least 6 hours and not more then 24 hours.
3. Rinse it
Before you place your pork belly in the oven wash the dry rub off. This is super important. Again you want to make sure you place it in a baking dish with high sides to contain the juice as it bakes. I used the same one that I marinated the meat in.
4. Roast it / Baste it
Fire up your oven to 450°. Place the pork fat side up in your baking dish and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes pull your pork out and baste the meat with the juices from the pan. Place the pork back in for another 30 minutes. Then turn the oven temp down to 250° and cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
5. Check it
You will know when it is ready when you push down on the meat and it springs back. It should not be falling apart.
6. Cool it
Take the meat out of the oven when down and let it cool. This is the weird part. When the meat is cool enough to handle wrap it in saran wrap and place it in the fridge until it is cool. This is the only way to get a neat, clean looking slices. Don’t skip this step.
7. Cut it
Take your meat and slice it into three parts. Then rotate it and slice it into pieces that are in between 1/2″ and 1/4″ thick.
Take your bamboo steamer and place a paper towel in each section and put your buns in. Take a large frying pan and put an inch of water in it. Nestle your steamer with the buns in it on top of your frying pan that has water in it and turn the heat on medium.
Toss your sliced pork belly into the frying pan. No need for oil in the part there is enough fat in the pan with the pork. Heat it up.
Your buns are still steaming until they are nice and soft. Try not to check them every minute because you will let the steam escape. We left them on for ten minutes.
9. Plate it
When your meat is crispy on the outside and your buns are fluffy in the steamer it is time to put the two together. Place a few slices of pork, cilantro, scallions, cucumber and hoisen sauce all in your fluffy bun taco and you have the yummiest dinner and most impressive thing your family and friends have seen you put on the table in a long time.
10. Eat it