I don't know what to say about this. I did every thing right in terms if preparing the belly. I followed Thomas Keller’s pork brine instructions from Ad Hoc to a tee and I braised it for four and half hours. Somehow I ended up with this. Like an early morning trip to Macy’s for a one-day sale, or a journey through Costco’s aisles for a massive jar of four bean salad, the lesson today is plan ahead (you know you won’t be able to eat all of those beans).
This is not what I signed up for. I wanted to something spectacular, succulent and luscious. I wanted something that only slow braising could deliver. I had about a pound and half of pork belly and I followed the brining instructions and did as Mr Keller instructed. I then took on some kind of Momofuku meets Mexican inspiration and what I got was this freak show. And it’s my fault because I didn’t plan ahead. Oh it tasted sublime, but the final product looks like a circus.
My issue is that I didn’t think beyond the belly. As I turned the heat off the stove, my wife asked me what we would be having with this delicious belly. I didn’t have a clue. We were too hungry and it was too late to start anything, so I made these junk yard tacos. See the yellow cheese that I melted onto the tortilla under the broiler? Yep, pure, junk yard. It would have been a home run as pork belly sliders with peach preserves or BBQ sauce topped with red cabbage coleslaw. Or as a taco, but paired with homemade black beans and a mango red onion salsa.
So, plan ahead. Whether it be the 2 gallon jar of four bean salad or slow braised pork bellies. We all need to think ahead.
Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc pork brine
Makes 2 quarts for up to 4 pounds of pork.
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
- 12 bay leaves
- 3 large rosemary sprigs
- ½ bunch tyhmme
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley
- ½ cup garlic cloves, crushed, skin left on
- 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 8 cups of water
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt.
- Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using.
- The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.