What’s a guy to do? When you are buying a big piece of pork from a nice woman, you really can’t come out with stuff like “That’s a very nice belly you have there, my dear.” In fact, you need to be very careful how you refer to the big, attractive, fat laden hunk of meat. So, when Ety from Ethical Pork sold me the fattiest, tastiest, porkiest piece of pork I have ever seen, I really had to be on my best behaviour.
I had to be on my best behaviour too when I got into the kitchen. One doesn’t need to get caught messing with a nice big hunk of meat like that. It weighed in at a respectable 2.5 kilos (5lbs or so). If ever there was a case for keeping it very simple, this was it. To cook the belly, I set the oven to 180ºC. I cut wide strips through the skin and fat. This was surprisingly easy with the ethically produced belly. (Can I claim to have an ethically produced belly myself?).
All one needs to do is season well and rub the skin with a bit of oil.
Just as you might do on holidays, rub your belly all over with oil. Then, just as I hope you don’t do on holidays, rub salt and pepper into all the cracks.
Place it on a wire rack and pop the belly into the oven. Leave it there for two hours then turn the heat up to 220º. Leave it there for half an hour. Take it out and gaze in wonder at it’s crispiness. You will have reason to rub your own belly in anticipation.
I managed to pour off about 500 ml (1 pint) of fat.
This will provide me with enough lard to cover myself from head foot and swim the English Channel. Though, I will probably only use it for cooking fat to be used over the weeks to come.
Side note on English Channel swimming: They really used animal fat to cover themselves before attempting the 20 mile swim. Though, the practice has faded out in recent times. Here’s a link to prove it.
I let it rest for 10 minutes and then sliced between the cracks. I made a gravy using my recently produced pork ‘bombs’. Crispy crackling, punchy gravy and sublimely succulent meat work very well with mash too.
I served it with a delicious glass or three of really wonderful Australian Chardonnay, given to me by a good friend from around those parts. It deserves a nice long picture. That way, you can have a long look at it. In conclusion, it may not be completely ethical to openly admire somebody else’s belly. However, I am happy to have you admire mine. It was really pretty excellent.