Words: Ryan Andre´
Photos: Randy Schmidt

Pork belly can be found on restaurant menus across the South, but often restaurants don’t do it well. Sometimes, you get overcooked pork belly that’s too hard and crunchy. Other times, the pork belly is served under-cooked, still fatty and chewy, the natural fats un-rendered because of poor technique. This ginger pork belly starts with a braise and ends with a sauté, ensuring you get a crispy, rich finished result every time.

Ryan Andre City Pork Ginger Pork Belly

The first step — braising — gives the ginger pork belly enough time to render out it’s fat and become creamy, tender meat candy. The second step — sautéing — ensures the pork belly becomes crispy and crunchy on the outside, but still delicate on the inside. Combined, this is a fail-safe technique for cooking pork belly at home.

chefs to watch ginger pork belly

We use ginger, lemongrass, soy sauce, and hot chili paste to give our ginger pork belly a sweet-and-sour-sauce inspired flavor that will remind you of your favorite Asian restaurants. Ginger pork belly is a great thing to cook on a Sunday afternoon; make some extra and you can have pork belly on hand for the rest of the week.

ryan andre ginger pork belly

Ginger Pork Belly
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  2. 2 cups diced braised pork belly (recipe follows)
  3. 1 cup finished ginger sweet-and-sour sauce (recipe follows)
  4. 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
  5. 1 overflowing cup of crispy rice noodles
Instructions
  1. Heat sesame oil in skillet of medium heat.
  2. Place pork belly in the skillet and sauté until crispy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add sauce to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes to glaze. Allow the sauce to thicken and coat the pork belly.
  3. Serve the ginger pork belly over rice noodles and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Braised Pork Belly
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Ingredients
  1. 2.5 pounds pork belly, sliced cross-wise into long strips
  2. 3 cups chicken stock
  3. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  7. 2 tablespoons sambal olek or other hot chili paste
Instructions
  1. Place pork belly strips, garlic, and cilantro in a tall-sided baking pan.
  2. Mix liquids and sugar together and pour over bellies. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for two and a half hours, or until pork belly is fork tender.
  3. When tender, remove from pan and spread out to cool. When cool, cut pork belly strips into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside for finishing.
Notes
  1. Save braising liquid and rendered fat for use in Ginger Sweet and Sour Sauce (recipe follows)
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Ginger Sweet and Sour Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon reserved fat from pork belly braise
  2. 1/3 cup minced ginger
  3. 1/4 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  4. 1/3 cup honey
  5. 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  6. 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  7. 1 cup soy sauce
  8. 1 cup Swamp Pop Ginger Ale
  9. 2 cups braising liquid
  10. Cornstarch slurry (1/8 cup Cornstarch, 1/8 cup water)
Instructions
  1. Heat reserved fat in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Once fat is shimmering, add ginger and crushed red pepper flakes and saute´for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except slurry, and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat to allow flavors to combine and steep.
  3. Bring sauce to a low boil and mix in cornstarch slurry. Allow the sauce to thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and let stand to cool.
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/