Although I boldly claim to make the meanest, baddest lechon kawali and the moistest, crunchiest lechon sa hurno on this side of Southern California, there are times when I don’t want to be encumbered with their laborious cooking process. Cooking is an activity I enjoy and find therapeutic but sometimes, it’s all about quick and easy gratification. You know, to enjoy crisp, succulent pork without boiling the meat, drying it out overnight and deep frying the next day. Enter pinakupsan–> all the sinful deliciousness of chicharonnes with hardly a fuss.
Pinakupsan is a Visayan dish wherein pork belly (or any cut high in fat) is portioned into serving pieces, salted and then cooked in low heat until golden brown and crisp. Unlike in lechon kawali where an obscene amount of oil is needed for deep frying, the pork in pinakupsan fries and browns in its own rendered fat. Per Mia who shared the recipe on her blog, a ready supply of these delectable pork morsels are often turned into humba, added as the meat ingredient to sauteed vegetable dishes or simply enjoyed with spicy vinegar. I am sure I’ll be finding many delicious ways to make use of the 2-pound batch I made today.
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- In a bowl, season pork with the salt.
- Over high heat, preheat a wide, thick-bottomed pan. Arrange pork belly on the pan in a single layer. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 7 to 10 minutes or until pork begins to render fat.
- When the pork has released oil, decrease heat to low. Cover and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until pork pieces are golden brown and reduced in size.
- With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Serve with spicy vinegar dip or store for future use.