Pork Belly Sous-Vide Time and Temperature Experiment

Cooking sous-vide can be confusing, as recommendations for time and temperature can vary considerably. Personal preference plays a role in this, as well as misconceptions about food safety (i.e. using higher temperatures than necessary). For pork belly I’ve seen recommendations … Continue reading Pork Belly Sous-Vide Time and Temperature Experiment

Homemade Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. I had looked into making it myself before, but the recipes I found required a curing chamber. A curing chamber is a cabinet with controlled temperature and humidity. Even for me it seems over the top to own one. But then I realised that pancetta was originally invented to preserve pork belly when refrigerators had not yet been invented (let alone curing chambers), so I figured that a cellar should do the trick as well. We don’t have a cellar, but in winter our garage comes pretty close with a temperature around 16ºC/60ºF. So I compared many recipes I found online on Italian blogs, on American blogs, and in the end based my first homemade pancetta upon a Dutch blog called missFromage (I bet Shanna likes that name!).

Making your own pancetta is quite easy and not a lot of work, it just requires a bit of patience. The result was great! My first homemade pancetta has a more elegant and detailed flavor than store-bought pancetta available around here. As an added bonus it is cheaper as well. Thanks missFromage for making it look as easy as it actually is! I will definitely make this again. Continue reading “Homemade Pancetta”

Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli

One of the things you can only do sous-vide is making tough meats tender while keeping them juicy and without cooking them ‘well done’. As I am a great fan of medium rare meat rather than well done, this is one of the reasons why so far, I’ve almost exclusively cooked sous-vide meats that way. The only exceptions have been duck leg confit sous-vide and pulled pork sous-vide. This means cooking meat sous-vide at temperatures between 55ºC/131ºF and 65ºC/149ºF, sometimes as long as 72 hours to allow the meat to become tender at such a relatively low cooking temperature.

Lately I’ve started to wonder about cooking meat sous-vide at higher temperatures. The meat will surely become well done and flaky, but I’m curious whether it is still better than a traditional braise on the stove top and in the oven. There is only one way to find out, and that is to try. The first experiment in this series is pork belly. Usually I cook pork belly sous-vide for 36 to 72 hours at 60ºC/140ºF, but in this case I tried it for 10 hours at 77ºC/170ºF. After that it was briefly crisped under the broiler. The inspiration for the recipe came from a post on Serious Eats. I thought it would be nice with broccoli stir-fried with garlic (inspired by REMCooks.com) and some rice, and that did indeed work well. Continue reading “Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli”

Pork Belly sous-vide

Next to beef short ribs, pork belly is a meat that is often mentioned on eGullet as a favorite for sous-vide. I usually don’t eat pork belly, but I thought I’d give it a try and was not disappointed! Modernist Cuisine gives 60C/140F and 65C/149F, both for 72 hours, as ‘best bets’ for pork belly sous-vide. I tried both, and liked 60C/140F much better because it is as tender as 65C/149F, but much more juicy (the 65C/149F was really dry). Please note that at this temperature the fat doesn’t render, so you end up with layers of tender meat and … Continue reading Pork Belly sous-vide