I’ve been a little obsessed with Momofuku as of late. After surrenduring to the buzz and re-creating pastry chef Christina Tosi’s compost cookies two weeks ago I caved, hopped on Amazon and overnighted the cookbook. I’m officially on the bandwagon.
Not only is it beautiful (who doesn’t love a cookbook with a fois bois cover?) and gorgeously photographed, but the recipes are stellar. Not easy, not for weekday dinners, but stellar all the same. After pouring through it and flagging almost every recipe as “to cook,” I finally settled on what to make first. It would require three recipes, several trips to the butcher and the grocery, and almost an entire day of prep. So this lazy gal got her butt in gear and got to work, all in an attempt to make Chef Chang’s signature pork buns.
It started with tracking down some pork belly in the Emerald City. Grocery butchers generally don’t carry it, so I took a special trip. You need about 3 pounds.
Pork belly is simply bacon that hasn’t been cured. It’s super fatty, tender, and totally worth a drive to your local butcher. This is not to be confused with pork stomach–-a whole other bag of worms that I don’t care to ever, ever open.
Coat it in a simple 1:1 mixture of sugar and kosher salt and let it sit overnight covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to roast, pour out any liquid that has accumulated in the pan and preheat your oven to 450F. Cook uncovered for 1 hour, then turn the temp down to 250F and cook for another hour to hour and 15 minutes.
The result? Perfectly roasted, succulent, fatty pork belly. Bonus? Save all of that rendered fat for later cooking uses.
Oh this stuff smells divine. My house has never smelled so delicious. I wanted to lick the walls.
But I didn’t. Because my walls are probably really gross.
Chang recommends wrapping the whole thing in foil and chilling before slicing. I’d have to agree—I would have loved to serve it warm from the oven but the whole thing was very soft and would have been really difficult to slice.
The most tender pork I have ever tasted. Seriously. Probably because it has the highest fat content of any pork I have ever tasted. But again—worth it.
The outside had a sweet and salty caramelized crust that gave each bite a touch of tanginess. *Swoon!*
The inside was tender and juicy.
No drooling on the computer.
Ha. I take your pork away.
I made pork buns and some other accoutrements, so tune in during the next few days to see the process and the final product.
*Please note: I can’t re-print recipes from cookbooks for copyright reasons. If you’d like the original recipe, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying Chang’s book or checking it out from your local library!