My Love Affair With Pork belly

I’m a pretty healthy eater but if there is anything I have a weakness for, it’s pork belly. Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly area of a pig (it is not the stomach). I guess my love affair began in South Korea. Korean Barbecue restaurants are everywhere in Korea but my grandmother made the best, of course. She used a charcoal brazier that looked a lot like the Chinese Chaozhou or an Indian Tandoor. It was basically a clay/pottery outdoor grill. Grandmother would pop a round steel “net” on top and we would eat right off of it. Mmmmmm my mouth is already watering. She would cook thin slices of marinated beef, pork, chicken and even shrimp sometimes. But my favorite of all time was samgyeopsal (pork belly). Not all pork belly is created equal. The best kind has a correct ratio between fat and lean meat. I prefer the kind with the skin on as I enjoy the chewy texture of the skin. it looks a lot like bacon but it is of course not processed or salted. Early in our history the pork belly was mostly used in soups to stretch it out further but during the 50s, especially during the Korean War grilling pork became much more popular. In the 60s charcoal briquets were more widely available so popularity of the Korean Barbecue became widespread. There were all sorts of homemade grills when I was growing up. People would repurpose steel oil drums, broken kimchi or soy sauce pots, and like my grandmother some had clay braziers that I am pretty sure was bought from the Chinese. Even the Japanese yakitori grill was often used. Whatever the method, pork belly consumption climbed among the Koreans. Mama LOVED having pork belly with her Soju when she had people over. Each region in Korea has their own history of pork belly barbecue – skin or no skin, spicy or plain dipped in sauce, skirt meat, etc. My aunt in Busan liked her pork belly stir fried with red pepper paste only – I think that is from Japanese influence but I’m not positive. My favorite way to eat pork belly is to grill it plain, place it in a lettuce leaf or perilla leaf, add a bit of rice, raw garlic cloves and ssam jang. Just like my mama when I have soju I drink that with my pork belly. My second favorite way to eat pork belly is in Korean stews. Just a few pieces adds such a richness to kimchi stew or tofu stew. Now that Keto diets are popular a lot more people in the US are consuming pork belly. The popularity of manga and anime has also made pork belly in udon and ramen popular among the young population as well. If you do not have an Asian market near by fear not, Costco has a terrific price on their pork belly. If you can go to a real butcher get your pork belly that way. Now I must have pork belly for supper. LOL

This is an electric table top version – like the George Foreman Grill
Deliciousness. . .
You can use a regular charcoal grill just make sure you have a metal net
Tao charcoal burner – this one looks most like Grandmother’s
Japanese yakitori grill

Published by bridgey1967

Loyal. Funny. Sensitive. Loving.

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