Yuzu-Cured Pork Belly


I found some fresh Yuzu at Mitsuwa last week and the first thing that came to mind was of course to make Pierre Hermé Yuzu macarons with candied grapefruit. So why in the world is this post about pork belly!? you asked. At $4 a pop for these Japanese citrus i didn’t want to waste any of it so i carefully grated the precious zest, mixed it with salt, sugar and a little rosemary and used this mixture as an overnight cure for a nice chunk of pork belly i bought in Chinatown a day earlier. The bright flavors of the yuzu zest and rosemary penetrated the meat perfectly cutting through the richness of the belly without overpowering it.


I followed David Chang’s technique that consist of blasting the cured-pork belly at 450’F for an hour and lowering the temperature to 250’F for 2 more hours which resulted in a caramelized pork roast with a dangerously addictive sweet/savory crust and a fork-tender interior. The extra oomph came from a drizzle of reduced vinegar and a touch of a hot pepper powder i bought in Kyoto last year, its main purpose is to spice up noodles but it did a fine job at kicking things up here too.

Of course fresh peas, fava beans and butter lettuce are a natural match to bacon, even better with fresh bacon if you ask me. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this was.. but i can tell you this one is going straight to the vault of ‘extra special’ recipes.


  • Yuzu-Cured Pork Belly

  • serves 4-6
    • Pork Belly Recipe:
    • 2 pieces of 2 lbs pork belly
    • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • Grated zest from 4 yuzu or 3 lemons
    • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
    • To finish:
    • 1/2 lb fresh peas, blanched
    • 1/2 lb fresh fava beans, blanched
    • shredded butter head lettuce
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • chicken stock
    • salt, to taste
    • hot pepper powder, to taste
    • vinegar reduction, to taste
    • For the cured pork belly:
    • Combine the kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl and add the grated zest and chopped rosemary. Rub with your fingers until the zest and rosemary is fully incorporated and the mixture is fragrant.
    • If the pork belly still have the skin on, remove it carefully with a sharp knife. Rub the salt/sugar mixture all over the pork belly. Discard the excess. Place on a clean baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (no more than 12 hours).
    • The next day, preheat the oven to 450’F. Brush off the excess cure, place the pork belly on a clean baking tray and roast for 1 hour, basting occasionally with the fat. Lower the heat to 250’F and continue cooking for another 2 hours. You will have a beautiful golden brown pork belly roast. You can use it right away but it’s easier to cut neat slices after letting it cool overnight and reheating it in a low oven.
    • To Finish:
    • Melt the butter in a large sautee pan. Add the shredded butterhead lettuce and sautee until wilted. Add the peas and fava beans and season with salt. Add a little chicken stock and let it reduce until it’s all absorbed and  the mixture is glazed.
    • Divide equally between 4 plates. Top with sliced pork belly. Drizzle with a vinegar reduction and sprinkle with hot pepper powder. Serve immediately.
    • yuzu-cured-pork-belly-4

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    I’ve not met any pork belly I didn’t like. But this one with citrus flavoring sounds absolutely divine. You rock Zen!

  • http://vanillamanda.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    I wish I was having this for lunch right now! Yum yum!

  • http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com Ciaochowlinda

    I’ve never eaten pork belly, as far as I know anyway. Is there room at the table for me next time you make this?

  • http://www.thepechkitchen.com peachkins

    it looks really really tasty!

  • http://www.sippitysup.com sippitysup

    Very, very, very pretty and I am sure delicious! GREG

  • http://thelittleteochew.blogspot.com The Little Teochew

    Good grief, what will you think of next?! We usually use 5-spice powder for roast pork belly. Love your presentation of this dish!

  • http://www.chezus.com Chez Us

    I love the flavor combinations – I can only imagine how wonderful it all smelled while you were cooking it. Lucky you to find fresh favas already – I am told it will only be a little longer until we can begin to enjoy them. May just have to make this dish.

  • http://Littlegirlinthekitchen.blogspot.com The Little Girl In The Kitchen

    Really great, nice fresh summery flavor combinations very nice, a must try!

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com/ Kitchen M

    What a great use of yuzu! And wow… it’s absolutely gorgeous…
    No doubt this will be on FB Top 9 tomorrow. :)

  • http://www.corner-turn.cvom mich

    I think I can handle this recipe. I might try this one soon. Thank you.

  • http://tokyoterrace.com Tokyo Terrace

    Oh my goodness- what a beautiful recipe! I love every single thing about it! I’m going to have to make this…like, yesterday. Bravo!

  • http://www.thatssoron.blogspot.com thatssoron

    holy smokes! when your page loaded, my stomach rumbled!

  • http://www.my-easy-cooking.com nina

    I hear or see the word “Pork” and my ears and eyes pop out like radars….Love the stuff and cooked like yours all the better!

  • http://www.refillchinasim.com china sim card

    I like what you cooked with pork belly. But I prefer fried pork belly.

  • http://feedetgastro.wordpress.com/ Becci

    Careful. You’re in danger of becoming my favourite blog.

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net Y

    Sounds and looks outrageously good! Like most people, there haven’t been many pork bellies to cross my path that I haven’t liked :)

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com Rachel (S[d]OC)

    I have only recently discovered the joys of yuzu. I have always known the joys of pork belly. Wowee do they look good together! *Restrains self from licking screen*

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    I have a piece of pork belly and will definitely give this a try.

  • ron

    I’m going to try this with pork cheek. I’ll let you know how it worked out.

  • zenchef

    Thank you everyone for your comments. Much appreciated!

    Ron– Let me know how it goes. I’m curious.

  • Paula Pereira

    This looks so great and I am going to defintley try the curing on the pork belly. What exactly does the curing do? It’s to impart flavor and I’m thinking it draws out moisture too right or no?

  • zenchef

    Paula — You got it exactly right. It impart flavor, draws out the moisture and tenderizes the meat.

  • http://chicopea.blogspot.com/ chicopea

    Hi Zen! Long time :) Looks delish! Speaking of d-words you must have been at Deluxe or Dynasty in chinatown. HK supermarket maybe…i’ve got you cornered! =P

  • http://www.stirthepots.com Jeremy

    Scintillating crisp and most definitely a dish I would want to taste or hell even make!!!
    Love Mitsuwa!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    Absolutely lovely. Yuzu lemon is always a delicious addition.

  • http://rusticgardenbistro.com Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro

    Wow, this looks amazing. Bet it’s better than the Charlie Palmer pork belly I had last week. :-)

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Niiiice! I see you’re on an Asian kick;-) Those macaron’s were good, but this almost looks better.

  • http://pierre.cuisine.over-blog.com pierre

    Hi I have browsed through your blog and love it !! nice glaze on your chicken and great use of yuzu with pork !! bravo !! PIerre de Paris

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz @ zested

    Based on my experience with your recipes, I am definitely gonna have to try anything on your “extra special” list.

  • http://lostpastremembered.blogspot.com/ deana@lostpastremembered

    The dish is so beautiful..saw it on Food with style and had to see who did it.. great job.

  • http://www.mattikaarts.com/blog matt

    wow, what a great modern way of serving pork belly. I wish I could get peas and favas at the moment here. Total class all the way here mate. Lovely photos as usual.

  • http://quisimangiabene.blogspot.com/ Peter

    I usually cure belly with miso- have you tried that? And isn’t Mitsuwa fun and dangerous at the same time?

  • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com Neel | Learn Food Photography

    Like on this one… love your plating. Makes top photo very appealing to me.

  • http://culinary-studio.com Eddie

    I always see yuzu on restaurant menus these days and have wanted to try making something with yuzu for myself. I’ll have to try this one out. Beautiful pictures, by the way!

  • http://www.mbefood.com/sourgrapes Michael

    Beautiful photos! Great light and depth of field, and lovely styling too.

  • http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ken_taroii/32980415.html kentaro

    I made a similar dish yesterday.
    It was really tasty. Thank you !
    from Japan

    (all in Japanese)

  • teresa

    wow!!!!!! my kind of cooking!!!!!just stumbled upon your blog and I love every single recipe i have been reading.

  • Imsengr

    Question: does 2 pieces of 2 lbs pork belly mean 2 pieces of 2 lbs EACH or 2 pieces of just 1 pound each?