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Confit day

November 18, 2008


Today continued the confiting adventures with my slab of pork belly. After seasoning it generously with kosher salt and quatre épices yesterday, it sat overnight in the fridge for a brief cure. Today, it was time for a loooooong, slow simmer in oil. Ten hours! I split the slab into 3 separate pieces so that it would fit in my Dutch oven, and covered it with a mixture of canola and olive oil. Ideally, I think rendered pork fat would have been best to cook it in, but seeing as I don’t keep quarts of rendered pork fat around, I made do with the canola and olive oil.

glug, glug, glug goes the oil


I brought the oil up to 170 degrees – at this point, it’s just under a simmer. And then it stays at 170 degrees for 10 hours! It’s laughable, really, when you come to think of it — a fatty slab of meat cooked in…fat. 🙂

At the halfway point


after 10 hours of cooking


The layer of fat on top of the pork belly doesn’t render out, but it does take on a slightly translucent quality. The meat underneath shrinks up a bit, and it is meltingly, amazingly, unbelievably tender. I slid a knife in to test it and it was like slicing into soft butter…


like buttah


I poured the oil through a strainer to filter off the stuff that had risen to the surface, and poured it over the pieces of pork belly in a glass container. After the oil cooled down, I sealed the container, and into the fridge it went to chill completely.

I hate to say it, but doesn’t it remind you a little of a science experiment?


Storing it in the oil protects it from exposure to air, and therefore acts as a way to preserve it. Because I only did a brief cure, it won’t keep for several months (like some confits do, when you cure them for a longer time before cooking in oil), but it should still last about a month…which is good, because it’s a lot of confit! I’m going to keep it in the fridge for at least a few days, but we’ll be trying it this weekend…and when we do, I’ll be sure to post about the results! 🙂

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2008 10:16 pm

    Fun! And surprisingly beautiful. Can’t wait to hear about the results!

  2. November 19, 2008 6:45 am

    congratulations on an awesome kitchen experiment! Looking forward to seeing the confit in action!

  3. November 19, 2008 3:49 pm

    Wow, it’s really fascinating watching this process. I think all your ideas for ways to use it sound wonderful, can’t wait to see what you actually do with it!

  4. November 19, 2008 11:00 pm

    This is so interesting, Amy! You did an amazing job and the pictures are great! Can’t wait to see some of your ideas for the confit!
    Love you!

  5. November 21, 2008 12:03 pm

    Wow, decadence!!!! I love this, cooking fat in a pot of fat…. mmmm! Can’t wait to see how you’re going to cook these beautiful hunks of fat!

  6. November 23, 2008 9:10 pm

    Great post! I’ve heard over and over that searing and finishing in the oven is the way to go, and you’re definitely proving it. Your pan sauce looks out of this world. And I love your little addiction to pork. Much more unexpected than chicken!

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