Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps

I’ve made crispy skin pork belly many times and it’s one dish that I absolutely love. The key here is getting a really good piece of pork belly, there has to be a perfect amount of meat to fat ratio. And yes, I’m that person standing at the meat counter asking to examine multiple pieces of pork belly until I find my perfect one!

When I make pork belly, I always want a side of rice or noodles to accompany it. This month however, carbs are not an option. So I’m looking for a creative way to enjoy the crispy, salty goodness. At first I was thinking of making a salad, but then why not do “taco” using lettuce instead. In my mind, that’s a pretty good pork belly delivery method, and not to mention I’m still getting a lot of vegetables in for dinner!

Serving Size: 4

Cook Time: 1 1/2 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb whole pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  •  ½ tablespoon cane sugar
  • ½ tablespoon Chinese Five Spice powder
  • ½ tablespoon finely diced garlic
  • 1 large head lettuce, thoroughly washed, dried and leaves separated
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of cilantro leaves

In a small bowl, mix the salt, sugar, five spice powder and garlic. Pat the pork belly dry and rub generously with the marinade. Allow to sit in the fridge, with the fatty side up, uncovered, for at least 4 hours. The cold temperature in the fridge will help to dry out the skin and help create a crispy coat during the cooking process. When you are ready to cook, allow the meat to sit at room temperature for about 2o minutes.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the pork belly, with the skin side up, in a large pan with a rack, in the middle position in the oven. Allow to cook for 45 minutes. Using a fork, prick the skin, the more holes you make the better. This allows the fat to render out and get crispy. Allow to cook for about 25 more minutes. Depending on the thickness of your pork belly, if the skin is crispy yet, allow to cook for another 10-20 minutes. Then turn the oven to broil, and allow to cook for 5 minutes. You’ll hear a lot of crackling noises at this point, you want all the fat to crisp. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into thin slices.

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To prepare the lettuce wraps, place desired amount of pork belly slices onto a lettuce leave. Top with some cucumbers, mint leaves and cilantro leaves. Roll and enjoy!

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