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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
All in all, meaty goodness!