Pork belly strips (I get mine at Costco) are a delicacy. They are like very thick-cut bacon, and come from the same cut of pork (belly, obviously), but pork belly strips are fresh meat – uncured, not smoked, dried or salted.
Obviously an extremely fatty cut, they are suitable (and usually served at restaurants) as a first course, although I sometimes serve them as our main course for dinner, alongside a small green salad. If serving as first course, one thick strip per person, cut into bite-size pieces, is perfect. For a main course, I find that three strips are plenty.
Pork belly strips are delicious on their own, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. I like to use smoked paprika, which adds a delightful smoky flavor. You can also brush them with a mixture of soy sauce (2 tablespoons), honey (1 tablespoon) and garlic powder (1 teaspoon) prior to baking, for an Asian style dish, but I rarely bother. They truly are fabulous seasoned with just salt and pepper.
- 12 (1/2-inch thick, 4oz each raw weight) pork belly strips
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the pork belly strips in the pan. Sprinkle them with the seasonings.
- Roast until browned and crisp, 30 minutes on the first side, and 20-30 more minutes on the second side. Drain the pan midway through baking, saving the rendered fat in a jar if you wish.
If serving just one strip as a first course, nutrition info is: Calories 310; fat 24g; saturated fat 8g; carbs 0g; sugars 0g; sodium 150mg; fiber 0g; protein 20g.
For thinner pork belly strips (like the ones sold by US Wellness Meats, which are cut like thick-cut bacon), bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes in the bottom of the oven; drain the fat, flip, and bake 5-7 more minutes, until crisp.