The pork belly with rib bones removed
I was keen to see how the pork tasted after I picked it up from the butcher. I selected a piece of belly weighing 3.4 kilos, quite a hefty piece from a 115 kilo pig. I purposely grew these pigs out to this size to get a decent pork belly and nice big collarbutts (neck), as well as trying to develop more flavour in the meat.
With the ribs removed I cut the piece into two parts, reserving one for curing.
I included the knife I used in the pic, we have just moved house, our kitchen is a work in progress and my cooking knives are still packed…somewhere. It is my field knife, part hunters knife and part cooks knife, as you can see from the heel of the blade being lower than the handle, I’ve never seen another knife like it. It was all part of the type of cook going on, a bit improvised.
I scored the rind and rubbed in celtic salt
Having no oven forced me to improvise and the camp oven went on to the gas flame
On a medium heat skin side down to start the crackling.
Once I got a start on the crackling, I turned over the belly and turned down the heat, put the lid on and waited.
I rubbed the other piece in a cure of celtic salt, raw sugar and black pepper.
Some nice in season organic pears would go alright with the pork I reckoned.
Coals on top to finish
I had the pork on the low flame for about four hours, with some sweet white wine, some brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Again, improvising without an oven I took the camp oven outside and put a shovel load of coals on from the fire to finish the crackling.
The crackling turned out great and the meat was fall apart tender.
Apologies for the lighting, my kitchen is a bit dark at this stage.
I fried the pears in butter to get a light caramelization.
Flambe the pears with a bit of Irish whisky Andy left behind (I said I wouldn’t drink any ;-))
Added some farm spinach to the pork and pears, and drizzled over some salty sweet juices from the roast.
The belly cooked up great, no taint like factory grown pork, beautiful and clean tasting with a nice clear pork flavour. The crackling came out spot on and the fat rendered right down to leave an almost gooey meaty texture, it was great. The crackling was even crunchy the next day. I think it would have been better on the bone in hindsight.