Crispy Pork Belly Tacos
Hi Hombres! Today's recipe is so much fun and great for your next casual get together. This magical combination of crispy crackling and succulent pork belly, homemade salsa and guacamole and fresh salad all finished off with grated cheese, sour cream and a crispy taco shell is irresistible!
The key to this tasting amazing is getting your pork right! There are many different methods to cooking pork belly but the important thing to remember is that the skin must have sufficient holes poked into it and be as dry as possible to ensure that you get a fantastically crispy and not a chewy shoe leather result which is horrible and generally inedible. If you find that for any reason your pork crackling hasn't gotten crisp then just place it under the grill (on low heat) and allow the skin to crisp up and crackle. Do keep an eye on it though so it doesn't burn. A little bit of browning will not affect the end taste though.
Now if you think oh, I can't eat pork belly it is too fattening think again! Research is now showing that reasonable amounts of saturated fats that come animal products are much better for you than many so called "health foods". (I'll take it!) In fact these tacos are generally pretty nutritious, as the guacamole contains healthy fats like omega-3's from the avocado, lycopene and a host of nutrients from the cooked tomato salsa, calcium and protein from the cheese and some probiotics from the sour cream, not to mention the fiber, minerals and vitamins from the lettuce, onions and fresh tomatoes - now doesn't that sound delicious and nutritious!
If you want to save time you can use store bought guacamole and salsa
You can also convert these into nachos by simply using lightly toasted plain corn/tortilla chips and adding the toppings directly on top - you can also do the same just by breaking up the taco shells too, which I find have a better flavor
For a more non-traditional taco, use a coleslaw filling which always works amazingly well with pork!
YOU WILL NEED
Pork Belly (prepare the day before cooking)
800-1kg | 28-35 ounce piece pork belly
1 teaspoon ground Schezwan peppercorns OR 1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
2 teaspoons sugar (use caster sugar or grind down your regular sugar to a powder)
1+1/2 teaspoons ground rock salt
Homemade Cooked Salsa
Homemade Salsa Recipe
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 tomatoes seeds removed first and finely chopped
Salt/pepper to taste
Lettuce finely sliced
8 taco shells
Prepare your pork belly by shaving off any extra hairs and wipe the skin dry with a paper towel.
Poke as many holes as you can into the skin (not the meat) - the more holes the better the crackling.
Combine the Schezwan peppercorns OR 5 spice powder, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a small bowl and evenly cover the the meat side of the pork with the mixture.
Turn over, pat down the skin again with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture and sprinkle the skin side with 1 teaspoon ground rock salt. Rub well to ensure the skin is well covered with the salt.
Take enough aluminium foil to cover the meat side of the pork and, with the meat side down/skin side up - place on the foil and use the foil to cover the meat only (keep the skin open to allow it to dry out) and place uncovered in the fridge overnight.
When ready to cook your pork belly preheat oven to 220°C/430°F.
Line a roasting pan with foil (this will make clean-up much easier). Pour some water into the bottom of the pan (about 2.5cm/1 inch is fine).
Place a wire rack on top and place the pork belly on the wire rack. The pork belly will cook above the water, with the pork fat/juices dripping down below into the water. (The pork does not touch the water at all.)
Cook at 220°C/430°F for 40 minutes.
Turn down oven to 160°C/320°F and continue to cook for another 1.5-2 hours.
If your crackling for any reason has not blistered and crackled by this time, simply place your pork under the grill (on a low setting) and allow the skin to blister and crackle - keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
Once done, remove from the grill/oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes and then slice as needed.
Prepare your homemade cooked salsa, and guacamole according to recipe and set aside.
To prepare fresh salsa combine onion and tomato into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper if desired and set aside.
Warm your taco shells according to the packet instructions.
Once your taco shells are cooked remove from oven and assemble your tacos as desired with the pork belly, home-cooked salsa, guacamole, fresh salsa, lettuce, grated cheese and sour cream - ole!