Do you know what I love? Pork belly. That thick, fatty slab of meat that gets all crispy and juicy when you cook it just right. It’s like the diamond in the rough of the pig. But did you know that pork belly has a long and interesting history in food culture and the commodities market?
First off, let’s talk about pork belly in food culture. Pork belly has been popular in many cultures throughout history, including Korea, China, and Germany. In Korea, pork belly is known as samgyeopsal and is typically grilled or served in stews. In China, it is used in dishes like braised pork belly and steamed buns. In Germany, knuspriger schweinebauch is an Oktoberfest classic…made with Bavarian bier sauce, of course. In the United States, pork belly has become synonymous with barbecue and is often slow-cooked for hours over wood fires. I mean, who doesn’t love a good slab of hickory smoked bacon?
But pork belly isn’t just about food culture. It also has a rich history. Did you know that in the 19th century, pork was America’s largest export? And during the Civil War, pork belly was a staple in the rations for Union soldiers. It was cured and preserved, and could last for weeks, making it a reliable source of food for soldiers on the move. Plus, in times of economic hardship, pork belly was an affordable source of protein, making it a popular food among working-class families.
And speaking of economics, pork belly is a valuable commodity in the market. In fact, it used to be traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange until 2011. Why would people trade pork belly, you ask? Well, pork belly is a key component in making bacon, and who doesn’t love bacon? So, when pork belly prices fluctuate, it can have an impact on the price of bacon at the grocery store. In 2017, the price of pork belly hit an all-time high due to a shortage of the cut. People were fretting, wondering if they’d ever get their hands on bacon again. But fear not, my friends, the market has since stabilized and pork belly remains a delicious, albeit slightly expensive, commodity.
Now, I know you’re probably wondering, “But FishHugger, how can I cook pork belly at home?” Don’t worry, I got you. Here’s a simple recipe for roasted pork belly:
- 2 pounds of pork belly
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Rub all sides of the pork belly with salt, pepper and olive oil.
3. Place the pork belly in a roasting pan, fat-side up.
4. Roast in the preheated oven for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the internal temperature is 145°F.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the pork belly is crispy and golden brown.
6. Let the pork belly rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
So, the next time you’re chowing down on some pork belly, just remember how far it’s come, from a Civil War ration to a beloved ingredient in modern cuisine. And with this easy oven recipe, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. Now go forth and savor that fatty flavorful goodness, your tastebuds will thank you.
Kenny & Brenna