PORK BELLY CHICHARRONES
Norman Van Aken © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved
1 pound pork belly, skin side rubbed with 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt
Water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Spices of your choice such as cayenne, sugar, and paprika
To prepare the belly:
Rub the baking soda and salt all over the surface of the skin, taking care to distribute the powder evenly. Set the pork belly on a rack and place it uncovered in the refrigerator preferably overnight and for up to a day.
The next day, rinse the belly in cold water and pat dry.
Cut into 1-inch segments, about 1/3-inch thick.
Place all the segments of belly into a wok and add enough water to cover the meat.
Turn the heat to low. Over the course of 2 to 4 hours, depending on the moisture content of your pork, slowly render the fat from the belly, turning the segments of meat every half hour or so.
Keep the heat on low. In the beginning, the water will look like pork stock but over time the water will cook off, leaving only the lard in the pan.
When only liquid fat remains in the wok, turn the heat to high and carefully monitor the pieces of belly as they deep-fry in the lard. This last stage of deep-frying should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicharrones to a plate lined with paper towels to blot the extra fat. Toss with salt and your choice of seasonings.
The chicharrones will remain crispy for many hours.