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November 15, 2009 2:14 AM   Subscribe

Braising pork belly: did I ruin my Momofuku Pork Buns?

My pork belly has been braising for about 30 minutes. Am I doing it incorrectly? I've only cooked meat a few times before. I live in Korea, so I bought ogyeopsal (the 5-layer version of ssamgyeopsal) that was pre-sliced to look like this photo. Basically, very thick uncured bacon. I also don't have an oven, so I used a very big pot.

The recipe called for a cup of liquid, which basically covered the meat. 30 minutes later, it's sort of grey and disgusting-looking. It seems that I boiled it. Finally I looked up photos of braising and saw that usually the meat isn't submerged (because it is whole not sliced). So I quickly reduced the level of liquid. But did I ruin the dish? What can I do to salvage it? And how should I braise meat (sans oven) in the future?

Thank you.
posted by acidic to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just go on, don't prematurely dry it out. The meat can be half submerged or whatever. It needs time first. Reducing the sauce comes last. Grey will turn into brown over time, don't force it. 30 minutes is way too early for worrying.
posted by Namlit at 2:44 AM on November 15, 2009


Cooked pork belly is grey looking. You've probably just cooked the outside. Once you roast it, you'll get more color. When I make gua bao, I usually completely submerge the pork belly, so you should be fine.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:57 AM on November 15, 2009


Thanks for the confidence boost. The meat looks browner now.
posted by acidic at 3:15 AM on November 15, 2009


Ok, finished it and it was quite tender and delicious. However, way too salty (it sat in a brine of salt and sugar water for half a day). I'm thinking that because the meat is pre-sliced, in the future I should adjust the brine. Anyone have a percentage suggestion?
posted by acidic at 4:02 AM on November 15, 2009


Yeah, that recipe was intended for big chunks of belly, not slices. Thinner pieces = more surface area = more absorption of brine. If you do it again with slices, you could keep the brine the same, just leave it in for only half the time suggested.
posted by neroli at 5:33 AM on November 15, 2009


If you use sliced meat, a safe for the amount of salt could also be: as much as you would add to a cooked meat dish of that volume plus a small pinch. A chunk needs noticeably more salt.
posted by Namlit at 6:36 AM on November 15, 2009


safe guess for the amount
posted by Namlit at 6:36 AM on November 15, 2009


i hope you're not trying to make the buns themselves from scratch following the recipe, which is completely bogus—momofuku buys their buns from chinatown, just like every other restaurant!
posted by lia at 11:49 PM on November 15, 2009


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