Over the course of the past week, I have followed some hogs on Palmetto Creek Farms
from pig to pork. Now it's time to see them on the dinner plate as Chris Miracolo of Max's Harvest shows us how to make pork belly from his stock of Palmetto Creek Pork.
Skin the belly.
Score the fat a quarter of an inch deep and a quarter inch diagonally across both sides.
Make the brine. Combine one pint of apple cider, a quarter cup kosher salt, a quarter cup sugar, two ounces molasses, some halved half peeled shallots, some fresh thyme sprigs, and a sprig of fresh sage. Boil until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
Immerse the pork belly and the brine in a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish. Cover with parchment paper, then foil. Miracolo warns, "the parchment is important, because it prevents the aluminum foil from reacting with the acid in the brine. And make sure it's parchment, not wax paper. The wax can also melt." Brine the belly for 48 hours, making sure to turn it every 12.
Place the entire baking dish, aluminum and parchment included, on top of a stove-top burner over low heat until the foil puffs up. This means the brine is boiling. Leaving the baking dish covered, cook the belly in an 300 degree oven for four hours. Slowly cool the belly in the liquid. This can be done one day ahead.Step Six While the belly is brining make the maple bourbon glaze. Combine 250 mililiters bourbon, one cup cider vinegar, a half a cup of sugar, one and a half cups maple syrup, and one ounce fresh ginger. Reduce the mixture over medium heat. The goal is to get a nice syrupy consistency. Whisk in one and a half star anise, a half a cinnamon stick, 125 grams of red miso paste, a small handful of chopped cilantro, one and a half ounces gluten free tamari, and a tablespoon of French's mustard. Whisk until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pass the mixture through a sieve.Step Seven Cut the belly into one inch pieces. Roll them in Wondra flour. For those with gluten sensitivities, rice flour is also works well.Step Eight
Using a candy thermometer to check, fry the belly pieces at 375 degrees until crisp, about six minutes. "Canola oil works well. It has a neutral flavor, it's not too expensive, and it's the most benign. You never really hear about anyone being allergic to it", says Miracolo.
Toss the bellies in the maple bourbon glaze. Serve the bellies with torn mustard greens and sauteed peaches.
There it is. The final embodiment in the transformation from pig to plate.
169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, FL