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Preparing a Whole Pork Belly

Preparing a Whole Pork Belly

Pork is great value for money and buying a whole pork belly will give you a number of options for different cuts and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself.

Pork is great value for money and buying a whole pork belly will give you a number of options for different cuts and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself.

Our whole pork belly is from native breed pork, farmed in North Yorkshire. Native breeds of pork mature much more slowly than their fast growing supermarket cousins, putting on fat naturally and adding flavour to the meat. The high fat content makes it an ideal choice for succulent roasts and also lends itself to curing for bacon and pancetta.

If you buy your whole pork belly from us at Grid Iron, it will have been squared up at the loin end. If not you will need to do this yourself.


Whole Pork Belly

Spare ribs

preparing pork spare ribsThe ribs can be left in your pork belly for bone in cuts, but I would suggest removing them. When you do this, try to avoid cutting too close to the bone. Leave around 1/2 inch of meat. This will give you some nice meaty spare ribs. The spare ribs will have a membrane on the bone side, that is best removed while the ribs are still in place. Start at the end of the ribs and insert your knife under the membrane to lift it from the bones. Hold the bones with one hand and peal back the membrane with the other. It should come away easily. Hold it with a cloth if it’s a bit slippy. Starting at the shoulder end of the ribs (the longer ones), use the full length of your knife to cut along the underside. Lift the ribs and cut right back to the cartilage. Cut underneath the cartilage to remove the sheet of ribs.

Square Cut Belly Joints

At this point you might like to just cut your pork belly into flat joints of your required size. Having removed the spare ribs, you should be left with around 3.5kg of skin on belly pork. This would make 2 good sized family joints or 3-4 smaller joints for 2 people.

Bacon & Pancetta

You could take one of your square cut belly joints that has a nice even thickness and make your own dry cured streaky bacon or pancetta. You’ll need to remove the skin first by inserting a sharp knife under and gently cutting as you peel back the skin. Experimenting with different herbs and aromatics is great fun and there’s nothing like the taste of your own bacon.

Rolled belly pork joints

Rolled Belly Pork & Porchetta.

This is my favourite way to prepare a whole pork belly. Make sure you have a nice even thickness across the piece. I like to score the skin at 1/2 inch intervals at this point using a sharp Stanley knife or similar. You might like to prepare a stuffing at this point using herbs and oils of your choice spread evenly across the joint. When your ready, bring the joint together in the middle into a roll and tie with butchers string. Then go to each end of the roll and tie it again to hold the whole joint together. Work your way along tying at regular intervals until you have a nice looking roll. When your satisfied, you can cut the roll into the size of joints that you want.


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