Succulent and Crispy Pork Belly on Chinese Steamed Buns with Pickled Cucumbers and Hoisin Sauce
Succulent pork belly meat and crispy skin on a fluffy white steamed bun dressed with savory Hoisin sauce and crunchy, pickled cucumbers all melt into one amazing bite. Add a drizzle of Sriracha and you will be in heaven. I will be making these again and again for special occasions. They are just that good. Once you get the hang of it the first time, you will see how easy this is to do at home. Recipe adapted from Chef David Chang Momofuku's Chinese Pork Buns.
Prep Time 1hour
Cook Time 4hours
Total Time 5hours
Author Homemade Italian Cooking with Cara
3-6poundspork belly with skin-on
¼cupplus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4cupplus 1 tablespoon sugar
2thick Kirby cucumberscut into 1/8-inch-slices
½cupthinly sliced scallionsgreen and white parts
12steamed Bao bunssee recipe at www.homemadeitaliancooking.com
First brine the pork overnight. Mix ¼ cup sugar, peppercorns, star anise and ¼ cup salt in large ziplock bag or glass bowl. Add the pork belly, then cover with water and zip close. Chill overnight in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 400ºF. Discard the liquid from the bag and dry the pork belly thoroughly with paper towels. Rub 1 tablespoon baking powder over the skin. Score the skin in a diamond pattern and return to roasting pan. Place the pork belly skin side up on a wire rack in a baking pan. Place uncovered pan in the oven and cook for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat halfway through. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and continue to bake another 2- 3 hours until the meat is tender and the meat registers at least 160 degrees. The fat should have mostly rendered out.
If the skin is not crispy enough at that point, remove the pan from the oven and pour off the fat. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Put the pork belly back in the oven and watch closely so it does not smoke or burn. The skin will blister and get crispy. Transfer the pork to a platter and allow to cool slightly.
When it’s cool enough to handle, wrap the pork in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge until it’s thoroughly chilled and firm. (You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but the only way to get neat, nice-looking slices is to chill the belly thoroughly before slicing it.)
Combine the cucumbers with the remaining sugar and salt, and rice vinegar in a small mixing bowl and toss to coat. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
When you're ready to make the buns, cut the pork belly into 1/2-inch-slices about 2 inches long. Warm them in a pan over medium heat for a minute or two, until soft and heated through. Use the pork right away.
Open a warm steamed bun and spread about 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce on the inside. Add 2 pieces of pork belly, then a couple slices of pickle. Add a scattering of scallion and a squirt of sriracha if you like. Repeat with the remaining buns, and eat!