Pork Belly and Shoulder

Momofuku ramen has two kinds of pork in the finished bowl: roasted pork belly and pulled roasted shoulder.

This was my first time cooking belly, so when buying, I left it in the hands of fate. I ended up with a thick chunk with 3 layers of meat and two of fat, but there were some little cartilage bones that I had to cut out. Ideally, you want a thick, uniform piece of meat that has consistent layers of fat and meat throughout.

curing pork belly in salt and sugar

Roasting the meats is not difficult or finicky, just time-consuming. Both pieces of pork were rubbed up with sugar and salt and left in the fridge overnight. The next day they looked like this:

juicy pork shoulder

It got pretty juicy!

Roasting both pieces of meat at the same time was a bit much, if only because of the one oven issue. Note to self: belly in the toaster oven at 450 degrees will cause a cloud of blue haze and the smoke detector to go off. You should crack open some windows, turn up the exhaust and not roast your belly in the toaster oven! There isn’t room for air circulation and the top of the pork will get burnt. Next time around, it’s definitely going in the oven.

sliced roasted pork belly

The belly wasn’t too happy in the toaster, but the shoulder was pretty cozy in the low temperature oven. It enjoyed being on its own, with just a little baste every hour or so.

roasted pork shoulder

Both meats came out delicious, but I would have liked the belly a bit more “pillowy soft.” Next time around I’ll slow roast the belly even longer. The pulled pork was very toothsome, especially when I followed the suggestion to add some of the rendered fat after pulling the meat. One thing I’d recommend though, rinse off the salt and sugar mixture from the belly. It was fine on the shoulder, probably due to the higher meat-to-surface ratio, but I found the belly a tad bit salty.

ramen toppings

All in all, meaty goodness!

5 Comments add yours

  1. Thanks for this! I just made the shoulder today. I was really tight on time so I just rubbed it with salt and sugar and popped it in the oven. Still awesome! I wonder what a difference it really makes? I also put the over to 350 for only 4 hours. Again, it was still awesome. So who knows….:)

  2. I thought you were meant to rinse the belly and shoulder so I rinsed them….

    My belly was delicious – pillowy, just like DC said but I must admit being scared at the layers of fat! Well done for providing some calibration….on what is a 7-days-to-making-a bowl-of-ramen adventure!

  3. I tried the pork belly exactly as the recipe stated and it was just perfect! I didn’t rinse off, but I used COARSE kosher salt so it’s not as salty. The outside was a bit salty but once mixed with the sweet hoisin sauce in the bun, oh heavens!

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