One of the many great things about State Bird Provisions is that the menu is served dim sum-style. A red cart rolls through the restaurant loaded with small plates meant to be shared. Though the menu changes often and adapts to the season, there are a few mainstays that have been on since the beginning and aren't going anywhere. The crispy pork belly is one of them, and we got the recipe just for you.
Crispy Pork Belly with Winter Citrus + Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
FOR BRINING THE BELLY
16 cups water
1¾ cups plus 2½ tablespoons kosher salt
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup black peppercorns, finely ground in a blender
3 pound piece pork belly
FOR COOKING THE BELLY
1 medium yellow onion, very roughly chopped
5 medium garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
2 scallions, trimmed and cut into several pieces
3 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
FOR FISH SAUCE VINAIGRETTE
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce, preferably Red Boat Brand
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½-inch knob peeled ginger, finely grated on a Microplane
1 small garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane
¼ cup grapeseed oil
TO FINISH THE DISH
Rice bran, vegetable, or canola oil for deep-frying
Brined, Braised, and Pressed Pork Belly, cut into approximately 1½-inch cubes, chilled
About 2 cups cornstarch
3 cups Winter Citrus, cut into bite size pieces (i.e. Blood oranges, mandarins, pomelo, grapefruit, cara cara oranges)
½ inch jalapeño, very thinly sliced
1½ cups loosely packed mixed herbs, such as mint, cilantro, Thai basil, and bronze fennel fronds
1 cup Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
2 Indonesian long peppercorns
BRINE THE BELLY
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, salt, sugar, and pepper and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
2. Place the pork belly fat side down in a baking dish and pour the brine over to cover the belly.
3. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for three days.
BRAISE THE BELLY
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Remove the pork belly from the brine and place it fat side down in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven.
3. Add the onion, garlic, scallions, thyme, rosemary, and just enough water to cover.
4. On the stovetop, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover with parchment paper and then cover with foil.
5. Place in the oven and cook until the belly is tender enough to easily poke through with a metal skewer, about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and let the pork rest in the liquid for up to 2 hours.
PRESS THE BELLY
1. Remove the belly from the pan and carefully transfer it fat side down to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
2. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the belly and place another baking sheet on top of the belly to press.
3. Add enough weight to the top baking sheet to press the belly flat.
4. Keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
MAKE THE FISH SAUCE VINAIGRETTE
1. Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of water in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
2. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream until well combined.
FINISH THE DISH
1. Pour 3 inches of oil into a large heavy pot and bring the oil to 335° F over high heat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the belly pieces in the cornstarch until they well-coated.
3. Fry the pork in several batches, making sure not to crowd the oil.
4. The pork should be a golden brown and crisp when done, approximately 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the pork to a paper towel lined tray and season with salt.
6. On a large plate, arrange the pork belly and citrus.
7. Add the jalapeno and herbs and douse with fish sauce vinaigrette.
8. Using a microplane, finely grate the long pepper over the salad.
9. Serve right away.