When building your Super Bowl menu, you need at least one item that is as indulgent and over the top as the game itself. You only get one shot a year to really go whole hog for football and not be judged by casual sports fans.

Bring on the pork belly.

Until recently, unless you were a seasoned chef, pork belly wasn’t an ingredient commonly found in the typical American kitchen. Then David Chang and his Momofuku restaurant and subsequent cookbook happened. Suddenly pork belly was everywhere because Chang in all of his wisdom, demystified this amazing cut of meat much like Madden gave every sports fan a better understanding of the play call (for better or for worse).

Is it easy? Absolutely. This has to be one the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted on the Football Foodie aside of reminding everyone to have enough ice at the party. Is it time consuming? Yes, but only because it has to brine overnight, so don’t let the prep time dissuaded you from making this dish.

The only thing intimidating about Chang’s pork belly recipe are the steamed buns the meat is usually served upon. Making them by hand is a rather arduous task and the end results vary, and even if you buy pre-made pork buns from a Korean market, you still need to steam them properly. Since you don’t want to spend all of Super Bowl Sunday in the kitchen, use tortillas instead of buns for tacos. Add radishes to your pickled veggies, much like you’d find at any taco stand in Los Angeles. I spent my whole life hating radishes until I moved to LA and learned to put them on tacos. Who knew? They’re a perfect crunchy compliment to a taco filled with glorious meat.

My only warning for making these pork belly tacos is when you and your guests get to the last one on the platter. You will fight over the last taco as if the Joker has just handed you and your friends a broken pool cue and the last one standing gets to eat. Like you’re Ray Lewis at the bottom of the pile. Or Darren Sharper. Like the forward pass hasn’t been invented and President Teddy Roosevelt is about to ban the sport.

Bet Teddy would fight like hell for a pork belly taco.

You will need:

Pork Belly:

2 pound pork belly, skin removed
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar

Fresh pickled vegetables:

2 small cucumbers
2 carrots, peeled
4-5 radishes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Flour tortillas
Scallions, chopped

As you can see, I forgot to ask my butchers, the estimable Lindy & Grundy, to remove the pork skin and was stuck doing it myself. Probably should have used a better knife — a carving knife or a chef’s knife –  but the large serrated baby worked well enough.

(My attempt to make chews for my dog out the the pork skin ended up coming out more  like what they refer to in the South as cracklins’. She still loved them.)

I’ve seen people say to use 1/4 of both salt and sugar for the pork belly, all the way up to 1/2 cup each when they adapt David Chang’s recipe. 1/3 cup seems like a good middle and has never done me wrong. If you’re making more pork belly, obviously increase the amount of sugar and salt used using a 1:1 ratio.

Mix together the salt and sugar. Use a roasting pan that fits the pork belly as snugly as possible and then massage the meat with the salt and sugar, discarding any remaining seasoning.

Cover and refrigerate, at least 8 hours but preferably overnight to 24 hours.

Post-brining.

When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 450º.

Remove the pork belly from the fridge. Rinse off the the salt and sugar brine from the pork belly and pat the meat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Discard any water and brine from the bottom of the pan and dry. Place the meat back in the roasting pan fat side up.

Roast for one hour, basting the pork belly with the rendered fat after 20 minutes and basting again every 10-15 minutes until the meat gets a nice golden cover.

After an hour, reduce the oven temperature to 250º and cook for another hour or until the pork belly is tender and starts to offer a resistance to pressure, but not falling apart.

During this hour, build a barricade at the kitchen entrance to prevent your partners, friends, neighbors, pets and random velociraptors from swooping and stealing the pork belly as its delicious smell travels and soon your four friends who RSVP’d will suddenly become forty.

Once the pork belly is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly. Once the meat has cooled a bit, taste a small bite. Now you know why you built that barricade, because you’re not going to want to share a single bite.

After the meat has cooled a bit, wrap in plastic to refrigerate again.

Why let the meat rest again? Because if you try to slice the pork belly now, it will fall apart and you’ll lose all the wonderful juices inside the meat. (This is pretty much a pork confit at this point.)

While the pork belly is chilling, make your pickled vegetables.

Slice the carrots, cucumbers and radishes about 1/8 of an inch thick. In a medium bowl, toss together with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refridgerate for about an hour, which is about the time it will take for your pork belly to firm up.

Once ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the oven for a few minutes to soften and drain the water from the quick-pickled vegetables.

Slice the pork belly.

Heat for a couple of minutes on each side in a warm pan.

Put a couple of slices of pork belly in each tortilla along with the pickled vegetables and the chopped scallions. Serve with hoisin sauce and hot sauce for guests to season as preferred.

Savory pork, the snap of the vegetables and the heat of sauces. It doesn’t get much better for tacos.

Adapted from the Momofuku cookbook.

You can follow Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza here for the next couple of weeks!

Your 360-interactive-all-media-guide for the Football Foodie and the 28 Days of Super Bowl recipes can be found here, so you can follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and our own new glorious galleries that can be found at the top of this very page.

 

Momofuku Style Pork Belly Tacos: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
4.7 from 6 reviews
Print
Author: sarah’s take on David Chang’s famous pork belly from Momofuku
Prep time: 25 hours
Cook time: 2 mins
Total time: 25 hours 2 mins
Serves: 4-6
Simple pork belly in tortillas makes for a heck of special taco.
Ingredients
  • 2 pound pork belly, skin removed
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Fresh pickled vegetables:
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 4-5 radishes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Flour tortillas
  • Scallions, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix together the salt and sugar. Use a roasting pan that fits the pork belly as snugly as possible and then massage the meat with the salt and sugar, discarding any remaining seasoning.
  2. Cover and refrigerate, at least 8 hours but preferably overnight to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 450º.
  4. Remove the pork belly from the fridge. Rinse off the the salt and sugar brine from the pork belly and pat the meat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Discard any water and brine from the bottom of the pan and dry. Place the meat back in the roasting pan fat side up.
  5. Roast for one hour, basting the pork belly with the rendered fat after 20 minutes and basting again every 10-15 minutes until the meat gets a nice golden cover.
  6. After an hour, reduce the oven temperature to 250º and cook for another hour or until the pork belly is tender and starts to offer a resistance to pressure, but not falling apart.
  7. During this hour, build a barricade at the kitchen entrance to prevent your partners, friends, neighbors, pets and random velociraptors from swooping and stealing the pork belly as its delicious smell travels and soon your four friends who RSVP’d will suddenly become forty.
  8. Once the pork belly is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly. Once the meat has cooled a bit, taste a small bite. Now you know why you built that barricade, because you’re not going to want to share a single bite.
  9. After the meat has cooled a bit, wrap in plastic to refrigerate again. Why let the meat rest again? Because if you try to slice the pork belly now, it will fall apart and you’ll lose all the wonderful juices inside the meat. (This is pretty much a pork confit at this point.)
  10. While the pork belly is chilling, make your pickled vegetables.
  11. Slice the carrots, cucumbers and radishes about 1/8 of an inch thick. In a medium bowl, toss together with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refridgerate for about an hour, which is about the time it will take for your pork belly to firm up.
  12. Once ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the oven for a few minutes to soften and drain the water from the quick-pickled vegetables.
  13. Slice the pork belly and heat for a couple of minutes on each side in a pan.
  14. Put a couple of slices of pork belly in each tortilla along with the pickled vegetables and the chopped scallions.
  15. Serve with hoisin sauce and hot sauce for guests to season as preferred.
Notes

Prep time includes resting the pork belly.
I’ve seen people say to use 1/4 of both salt and sugar for the pork belly, all the way up to 1/2 cup each when they adapt David Chang’s recipe. 1/3 cup seems like a good middle and has never done me wrong. If you’re making more pork belly, obviously increase the amount of sugar and salt used using a 1:1 ratio.

 

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15 Responses to Momofuku Style Pork Belly Tacos: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

  1. el smrtmnky says:

    ~sounds of me salivating~

    gonna give this four stars for the pr0n aspect but might move to five when i make it

  2. IJustMadeThatUp says:

    I am suddenly craving this after having read the post. I think I was forced to share these tacos with two other very mean people who didn’t understand the necessity for me to consume all of this by myself. So inconsiderate!

  3. Clare says:

    Every time I go to Momofuku I order the same thing (Korean rice cakes with spicy sausage and Chinese broccoli), so I’ve never had the pork belly. Can you describe the texture of the finished pork? Is it chewy like undercooked bacon?

  4. Adriana Gutierrez says:

    Looks wonderful!

    Since I had rendered out fat from making chicharrones with the skin removed from the belly I decided to confit the pork belly instead of dry roasting. It eliminates the need for continuous basting. ( I saw a comment on another pork belly thread by a Momofuku employee that they confit the pork belly in the stores, a detail conveniently left out of the recipe published in the book.)

    My pork belly is now cooling, awaiting slicing.

    I’m curious at the absence of acid such as rice wine vinegar in the pickles…

    • sarah sprague says:

      You can add a splash of white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar, but just the small amount of sugar and salt gets the job done.

      Thanks for the tip about the confit!

  5. Ben Reed says:

    your roasting method is PERFECT don’t change a thing! i know a proper confit is a little less work but when you press the meat to get the excess fat out it makes the texture too dense, i like the fat in my pork bellies to be lofty or fluffy. also organic is the best way to go if you can, the quality of the fat is SO much better, it’s like the difference between grass or corn fed beef, the fat in the grass fed is more tender and has a much better flavor. also in the slow roasting at 250º i add some maple syrup to seal the juices in. for the tacos i use sour cream with chives, cilantro and some fig jam in it, the sweet goes really well with the salt from the brining.

  6. Guesthere says:

    I tried this and the flavor was very good but I ended up burning the bottoms of the pork belly and had to cut them off. They were a crispy black. Should I shorten the first hour at 450?

    • sarah sprague says:

      Yeah, not every oven bakes the same. You could try reducing the heat to 425º. (Sorry for the slow reply!)

  7. Rye Knish says:

    Awesome recipe – wouldn’t change a thing. Had to accomodate for a slightly more powerful oven (just turned it down to 400-425), but otherwise was great. We did it with steamed buns since we have the convenience of an asian market not too far away. Thanks!

  8. Matt says:

    The pickling doesn’t need any liquid? Just salt and sugar? Where does the water come from when you say to drain the veggies?

    • sarah sprague says:

      Nope, because it’s a quick pickling of the vegetables meant to be eaten that day. Salt pulls the liquid out of the vegetables as it sits.

  9. Casey says:

    I just made this recipe and oh….my….gosh! This is the best thing I have made in so long. I rarely follow every step of a recipe but this time I did (with the exception of putting some fresh squeezed oranges over the pork before the oven) and it is melt in your mouth amazing. If I could send you my photos of my cooking process, let me know. Thank you so much for this recipe. So happy! :-):-)

  10. Katie says:

    This is my first time cooking pork belly, should I cut the roasting time if I’m only using a pound of belly?

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