Salt & Pepper Pork Belly

Salt & Pepper Pork Belly

You need two crucial skills, in order to roast the perfect pork belly. 

1. You need to be able to turn your oven on. 
2. You must be able to tell the time. 

Assuming you’re comfortable with the above, congratulations - you’re in the game. 

There are a couple of key points to achieve crispy-crackling-crack, with the wobble of juicy, perfectly cooked meat. The first tip is to season your meat in advance. Overnight is ideal, but even a few hours before cooking will work. What you’re doing here is drawing moisture out of the skin and encouraging the crackling to…well…crackle. The second key tip is to understand that you need to nuke the skin at a high temperature while cooking the meat at a much lower temperature. This means blasting it with a high heat either at the very beginning or at the very end of the cooking process. Both will work but I prefer to wait until the end, which gives me more control as to the amount of time I crank the heat up for. A third tip is to raise the meat off any cooking surfaces, using a wire rack. Wire racks are friends for ANY kind of cooking where crispiness is involved, by the way. Lay the rack over a baking tray, lined with tin foil and half a cup of water. You can even throw in some fennel bulbs (or any seasonal veg that blows your hair back) towards the end of the cooking process. Vegetables + rendered pork fat = good times. Lastly, as with any roasted meat, please allow the meat to rest once you’ve taken it out the oven. Do not cover with foil, or the meat will steam and your beautiful skin could end up soggy. Just trust the meat to retain its heat for longer than you think. (15 - 20 minutes is fine). 

For seasoning, the recipe below calls for salt and pepper and a smidge of fennel. That’s it. In my opinion, too many recipes out there call for complicated marinades. There’s a purity that comes through with eating ethically-reared pork that deserves to be celebrated. 

With all of this knowledge, there really is only one thing to do. Set some time aside this weekend and cook one. You will surprise yourself, trust me. 

What you’ll need: 

1.5kg deboned pork belly, skin left on. 
1 cup sea salt
3 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup water 

What you’ll do: 

1. Using a Stanley knife, a sharp chef’s knife or a razor blade, score your meat. I like to make long, parallel cuts as close to each other as possible. (Feel free to ask your butcher to do this). 
2. Rub sea salt onto both sides of the meat and refrigerate overnight, or for a few hours. 
3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 160 Degrees Celsius. Wipe excess salt off meat and pat dry with kitchen towels. 
4. Season both sides of meat with black pepper and fennel seeds and place meat, skin side up, on a wire rack. There is no need to add any additional salt here. 
5. Place rack on a baking tray and add water to the tray, being careful not to let any moisture get onto the skin of the meat. 
6. Cook meat in the oven for 2 hours. (The skin will take on a beautiful colour). 
7. Increase heat to 220 Degrees Celsius and turn on the grill function of your oven. Cook for another 20 - 30 minutes, checking often to ensure skin isn’t burning. 
8. When skin has puffed up nicely, remove meat from oven and allow to rest. Instead of fussing around with too much carving, I like the option of peeling off the entire piece of crispy skin and breaking it up to serve with shredded pork. Serve it however you want (hint: tacos), and marvel at yourself for the stellar job you did. 

Leftover oxtail with gremolata butter

Leftover oxtail with gremolata butter

Gremolata butter, smeared on toasted sourdough. That’s how you deal with leftovers. Check out the instructions for how to braise oxtail in the first place, and how to turn the leftovers into an easy meal.

Gyudon.

Gyudon.

Gyuwhatnow? Whoah, whoah whoah, I thought these were supposed to be EASY recipes. Chill. I know it sounds exotic. Trust me, things will be fine. If you can get past the weird name, this recipe is really a bowl of rice with beef. Use it in your quest to impress and influence people. The sticky rice is important here but if you’re pushed for time just use whatever rice you have on hand. We’ve used thick flank which is a really cheap (and tasty) cut of meat but if you really want to be fancy, ask your butcher to cut some sirloin into paper thin slices. The most exotic ingredient in the recipe below is mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine) but please feel free to substitute white wine or sherry, mixed with two teaspoons of honey or sugar. The garnish is up to you, in terms of how much you want to add. Basil is a must but things like pickled vegetables, kimchi, sliced spring onion, sesame seeds etc. would all be welcome. This dish also falls very firmly into the “things that taste better with a fried egg” food category; quite a large category, in my humble opinion. 

Poached eggs with yoghurt and chipotle butter. 

Poached eggs with yoghurt and chipotle butter. 

This is one of my favourite ways to eat eggs. It sounds a bit whacky, but you need to trust us. The creaminess of good yoghurt (please, PLEASE don’t try this recipe with shitty yoghurt) adds a level of texture that works surprisingly well with the egg yolk, as it oozes over it. I like the addition of smoky chipotle chillies here too, but please leave them out if you’re not a fan. 

Smoked pork chops with celery and peanut slaw

Comment

Smoked pork chops with celery and peanut slaw

We’ve then sliced a bunch of drop-dead, beautiful chops. Whoah, whoah whoah. Does that mean smoked Kassler chops, ON THE BONE. You bet your ass it does. All you need to do is to finish cooking them at home, pairing them with something like the recipe below, for an easy weeknight meal.

Comment

Pork & Ramen Workshop

1 Comment

Pork & Ramen Workshop

Last weekend saw us hosting a very successful ramen/pork workshop. Using a handsaw, a bunch of knives, a mallet, a cleaver and some good, old-fashioned elbow grease, we broke down a side of pork. 

1 Comment

How to: Make ham hock congee with pickles

How to: Make ham hock congee with pickles

Congee sounds exotic but it is, at its most basic, as simple as it gets. With a history dating back to cash-strapped Chinese workers, congee was a way of adding a small amount of rice to a large amount of water in an effort to bulk it up and make something nutritious out of nothing.To keep with the theme, I’ve used a hock in the cooking process, as I believe it to be the cheapest, most underrated cut on the entire carcass.

Inspiration

Comment

Inspiration

“Never stop learning”. It’s a mantra that we carry into every day at FFMM. We have to. We’re totally self-taught. It would be arrogant and stupid to think there wasn’t room to grow. One of the ways we improve is to travel.

Comment

The science of hamburgers

The science of hamburgers

Nothing turns an average, meat-eating civilian into a thoroughly-trained, educated, informed and skilled meat expert quite like hamburgers. Everyone has an opinion. I guess it’s because we have all eaten and cooked so many of them, over the years. Naturally, at FFMM we have an opinion too. It’s a fairly basic one: use shit meat and you’ll get shit burgers. 

Bloody Mary chorizo with pickled pineapple and coriander salsa 

Bloody Mary chorizo with pickled pineapple and coriander salsa 

Setting out to make a fresh chorizo (based on the Mexican and Argentinean styles of grilling a fresh sausage, instead of slicing up a piece of charcuterie) we ground up some shoulders of pork and added chorizo-ish spices. Paprika, chilli flakes, fresh garlic etc. We were left with a pretty tasty mix. It was good. Really good. We then added the Bloody Mary aspects. Celery seeds and Worcestershire sauce. Better. Getting there. Black pepper and tomato juice. Very close. Tabasco. Almost. A final squeeze of fresh lemon juice. There you go. That’s it. And then we put all of this into a casing. Kabam. As a serving suggestion, we’ve pickled some pineapple. The sweetness and the acidity are winners with the gutsy flavours in the patty. If you really wanted to next-level it, I would have absolutely no problem with you throwing everything onto a roll, frying an egg and gently sliding it over the top. Arguably the greatest breakfast roll around. Of course, of course, it goes without saying that this pairs extremely well with a Bloody Mary.

FFMM Fantastic Four

FFMM Fantastic Four

Meet the FFMM Fantastic Four. Superhero meat, fighting off evil villains and their own nemesis.

Shin City

Comment

Shin City

I’ll tell you what my best value-for-money cut is. Without hesitating. It’s beef shin. In light of that, here's a killer taco recipe that takes full advantage of the cut's best qualities.

Comment

Pork belly donburi

Pork belly donburi

Since reading a book called Japanese Soul Food, my mind had been blown by the diversity of their food. Here's the recipe for a simple and spectacular bowl of pork belly donburi.

Things to remember when you’re at the butcher

Things to remember when you’re at the butcher

If you’ve made it into an actual, real butchery, then…congratulations. You’ve already avoided the convenience of a supermarket, which is a step in the right direction.