Oven-roasted crispy side pork belly strips

Crispy Costco pork belly slices recipe (How to successfully cook the sliced side pork belly from Costco) | Part 3 in a series

Have you seen that thick-cut Costco pork belly slices in their fresh meat case? It looks like bacon, but if you cook it just like bacon and expect it to be like bacon, you’ll be disappointed. But grab it! Read on for the best pork belly recipe for sliced side pork.

I will tell you exactly how to cook the thick-cut side pork belly strips from Costco so that they come out crispy on the outside, yet stay tender and meaty. I will show how to avoid the pitfalls, so that it won’t come out bland, stringy, tough, or shrunken. I will show how to eliminate the messy, dangerous hassles of dealing with burning hot grease hidden within some other recipes.

  • See Part 1 to find out what pork belly is (and all about side pork vs. pork belly).
  • See Part 2 for how come a pork belly recipe doesn’t cook, look, or taste like bacon.

Crispy pork belly strips are an absolutely scrumptious go-to for your low-carb lifestyle. You can use them in a meal or for a snack. They’re easy to make, easy to store and transport, and delicious at all temperatures.

Like bacon, which is made from the same cut of meat, pork belly is high in fat and protein, so it’s nourishing and give you lots of energy to power through for hours ahead.

In fact, I find that these crispy side pork strips all on their own do a better job than bacon when it comes to satisfying my appetite. I think I’ll want to wolf down a whole tray, but it doesn’t take much to fill me up.

Another bacon-like feature: they smell heavenly while they’re cooking! Perfect for a leisurely weekend low carb breakfast. They’re great hot as the centerpiece of your brunch plate, or as a side. Later, you can warm with a gentle few minutes in a frying pan or your air fryer.

You can put them to many other uses, too.

Drop a handful into a sandwich bag and take them to work for the heartiest, easiest brown bag lunch ever. You don’t even need to put them in the refrigerator after you arrive. Enjoy them at room temperature and avoid the line at the microwave. Similarly, pack them in a low carb school lunch.

Take a double batch to a party when you need a a low carb potluck dish. Cut them into smaller pieces and presto: low carb appetizers. Take them to a low carb picnic menu.

This sliced side pork recipe is great for low carb snacks, too. On days when we know we’ll be busy, we put out a platter of these on the kitchen counter, so that anyone can grab them when they want to nosh. Between meals, get that energy boost as if you’d just eaten a low carb protein bar, except savory instead of sweet.

Here’s how we make crispy pork belly strips from thick-cut sliced Costco side pork at our house. You get an initial crunch, and then they’re indescribably tender-chewy. My teenage son can’t get enough of these low-carb wonders.

The secret to tender, succulent pork belly slices that aren’t shriveled into tough jerky is double-dusting the pork belly pieces with flour. You apply the flour by lightly dusting it in a couple of stages, so you get a lot of mileage out of just a tiny amount.

The flour cover does two important things: it makes it crispy and keeps it juicy. Hot fat renders out during cooking, and it literally fries the flour. It makes a toothsome crust that locks in water. More water means that the meat’s interior cooks at a temperature (near the boiling point of water, 212 F) much lower than the exterior, which is frying at around 400 F. Low cooking temperature makes meat tender.

But without flour, the meat surface itself fries and gets hard. More of the moisture evaporates, and so the meat shrinks and dries. With less water, the interior meat cooks hotter, and therefore gets tougher.

Wait, what? Flour? In a low-carb recipe?

Don’t be alarmed! Yes, this pork belly recipe calls for 1/2 cup of flour, but hardly any of it ends up in the resulting dish. An entire batch of these crispy pork belly strips has only about 10g to 15g of carbohydrate, by my calculations. That’s just 0.55g to 0.88g per piece.

Only a small amount of the flour actually sticks. Most just falls onto the surrounding surface as you’re dusting it on.

That said, stay tuned for the best zero-carb pork belly strips recipe, where I will dial in the best coating that resists scorching, stays on, seals in meaty tenderness, and keeps its tasty, satisfying crunch over time, to give you the best quality of make-ahead ZC goodness.

Bake these in a roasting pan. You need the depth — for safety, convenience, and the best results. Sliced side pork belly releases a lot of fat as it cooks, the same way that bacon does. Early in the cooking, you’re roasting the pork belly. Later, you’re actually deep frying. That creates the firm crust that seals in the flavor and moisture.

Do not use a shallow baking pan or a cookie sheet. If you do, you’ll need to take it out of the oven and empty out the hot fat partway through — before it overflows onto the hot oven floor! You will need to be careful not to slosh or splash it or let the cookie sheet torque and bend as you carry it. Hot grease can cause serious injury.

Whatever you do, do not use a flat, rimless cookie sheet. Hot fat will run right off of the edge and onto your oven floor, smoking up something awful, and potentially igniting. You’ll have a hard time getting the pan out safely. Should this happen to you, turn off the oven, shut the door to choke off oxygen, and wait for everything to cool down.

Here’s the final secret to this crispy side pork recipe: Cut the strips into segments. They’re easier to maneuver without sloshing or splashing — a definite bonus considering that you’re dealing with hot fat. There are more surfaces to fry delightfully crisp. They’re easier to stash, serve and reheat later.

Crispy side pork belly strips

Yield: 18 crispy pork belly strips. Total carbs in the whole recipe: about 10g to 15g. (About 0.55g to 0.88g per piece.)

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of thick-cut side pork belly
  • Seasoning salt, like Lawry’s (or just salt, plus any seasoning you like)
  • Flour, about 1/4 cup

Equipment

  • Roasting pan. This can be any pan about 2″ deep and about 12″ or more on a side.
  • Tray, like a cafeteria tray. You can also use a cookie sheet or a platter. You could even just use the counter itself, if need be.
  • Sieve for dusting the flour. It can be large or small. If you don’t have one, you can use your fingers to sprinkle.
  • Tongs are the best tool for flipping and transferring floured things and searing hot things. You can use a spatula if you don’t have tongs.

In essence

Cut the slices into three. Salt, season, and rest them. Dust with flour. Bake one hour at 400 F, flipping every 15 minutes. Right after flip #1 and flip #2, re-dust.

In detail

  1. Cut each strip of side pork belly into three short pieces.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning salt over the tray.
  3. Lay the pieces on the seasoning salt.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning salt over the pieces.
  5. Let rest for about 1 hour, flipping the pieces over partway through. No need to refrigerate. The salt will draw out moisture and permeate the meat, along with the seasoning’s flavors.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  7. Put the flour in the sieve and shake it over the side pork belly pieces, dusting them with flour.
  8. Turn the pieces over and dust the other side.
  9. Arrange the pork belly pieces in the roasting pan.
  10. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Turn the pieces over and dust them with flour.
  12. In oven 15 minutes.
  13. Turn the pieces over and dust them with flour.
  14. In oven 15 minutes.
  15. Turn the pieces over.
  16. In oven 15 minutes.
  17. Remove from the oven and transfer the pieces to the cooling rack, or a platter.

Extra tips

  • Get a head start by seasoning/salting the night before. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Don’t waste the delicious, nutritious seasoned fat that’s left behind! Toss a bunch of vegetables right into the pan and roast them. Half an hour at 350 F should do it.
  • Reheat gently in a frying pan or air fryer.

2 thoughts on “Crispy Costco pork belly slices recipe (How to successfully cook the sliced side pork belly from Costco) | Part 3 in a series”

  1. Pingback: Can I cook side pork belly strips and have it be like bacon? | Part 2 in a series – How to Cook With Vesna

  2. Pingback: What’s the difference between side pork and pork belly? | Part 1 in a series – How to Cook With Vesna

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