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Perfect crackling after reheating pork belly for service? I'm stumped...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My sous and I have been running a few experiments trying to reheat cubes of pork belly for (mock) service and retaining or recreating perfect crackling. We have reheated in sauce and blasted in the salamander, thrown it on the grill skin side down etc. While the meat comes out extremely nice and succulent, we can't seem to get the crackling right. The salamander, for instance, crisps the skin up again, but it becomes very chewy.

 

On the same note I'm still wondering (as in a former thread months ago) how some of you guys keep tender roasts ready for service over a typical period of, say, 2 1/2 hours or so, without overcooking the inside and losing the pink centre, for example in a prime rib roast. I might add that I don't have a convection oven in my kitchen, so for holding anything at the right temperature I have to resort to my steam table. Great for sauces, mash, stews etc., but most cuts of meat will suffer. Perhaps a heat lamp? Although I can't imagine this working for an extended period of time. Or are you all that busy all the time that you just slice and plate and never hold???

 

Thanks for your ideas!

 

Cheers,

Recky

post #2 of 22
From what you describe it sounds like you have the wrong cut for what you're doing.
"Cracklings" are from the skin. This happens while pit grilling an entire hog at once. The skin crisps. In stores we buy cracklings in bags. I believe they are deep fried skin....
I don't believe you can get that texture with the belly meat....Have you tied torching it rather then the salamander?

The best way to hold a large cut of meat for long service time is to cook the roast rare, and finish to order. You may have to stagger cooking multiple roasts during service.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply, ChefRoss!

 

I buy my pork belly with the skin on, and when it comes out of the oven, the crackling, i.e. the crisp skin, is perfect. It's only after reheating in any way, shape or form that the skin goes soft and chewy.

I think, using the word 'crackling' for the crisp skin on a pork roast (as well as the stuff you buy in bags and eat like crisps/chips) may be a British thing.

 

No, I haven't tried the blowtorch yet!
 

post #4 of 22

We slice/portion roasted belly when its cold and just warm/crisp up the slices in a saute pan for pick up.   We really have no issue with keeping a crisp skin that way.

post #5 of 22

i use  a blanco heat box.  they will heat up to 99 *C and it is a good consistant heat.  i serve roasted beireid cooked to 51*C and they hold well in the boxes when the temperture of the box is not more then 55*c.  they dont take up much space in the kitchen and are good for transproting hot or cold Food.  there was a Special offer not too Long ago with GV Partner 350€.  as for the Grammel.  i too have a tough time getting it crispy again.  i have a rational and use the Regeneration program and i find it to work the best.  but mostly i will chop it when it is still crispy and make a Grammel schmultz or Grammel knödel. .  or i bring it home to my wifes father he loves the stuff.

post #6 of 22

As far as I know, once you have achieved perfect crackling on a pork belly, it's impossible (for me at least) to cool down & bring it up to that same level again.  

 

Have you tried slow-cooking it, without crackling the skin, and finishing it during service?  For example, braise it uncovered at a low temp, cool it down, portion, then when you get the order, crisp up the skin in a hot oven.

post #7 of 22

Recky, you're right, the term "crackling" can be taken different ways.  For me, as a Californian, I think of cracklings as fried skin, which is a different process in its self.  I used to work at a New Orleans style restaurant and 'cracklings' were large diced, salted and confit pork belly that we fried on order and tossed in seasoned salt.  The skin was never as crispy as one might optimally want, but delicious nonetheless.

 

However, I have also roasted suckling pigs with vegetables, stock (to come just half way up) and herbs in a covered roasting pan until almost cooked and then when the pig was almost finished, removed the foil top.  The skin was then exposed to heat which dried it out...the most important part to crispy skin.  Once the pig was cooked through, and the skin was brown and dried out we would let the pig cool, pull out all the bones and then press overnight.  After it was cool we would then portion the pig into pieces.   On the order, the pig portion would go into the salamander, skin side up, just to melt the gelatin and allow the juices leave the skin.  Pat the skin dry and then sear in a cast iron pan.  The skin came out crispy and the meat was tender.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloki View Post

As far as I know, once you have achieved perfect crackling on a pork belly, it's impossible (for me at least) to cool down & bring it up to that same level again.  

 

Have you tried slow-cooking it, without crackling the skin, and finishing it during service?  For example, braise it uncovered at a low temp, cool it down, portion, then when you get the order, crisp up the skin in a hot oven.


eloki, I would think that crisping up already (soft-) cooked skin in the oven to order would take too long. I'd estimate about 20 - 30 minutes at 220°C/400°F. It would also cause the outside of the actual meat to brown and dry out.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyst View Post

We slice/portion roasted belly when its cold and just warm/crisp up the slices in a saute pan for pick up.   We really have no issue with keeping a crisp skin that way.


The best result here so far has been very similar: We've chucked slices of belly on the flat-top grill. Like this, it heats through quickly and the skin remains in good shape. My only gripe was that those slices didn't look very good on the plate. I'd rather serve cubes of pork belly.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cacioEpepe View Post

Recky, you're right, the term "crackling" can be taken different ways.  For me, as a Californian, I think of cracklings as fried skin, which is a different process in its self.  I used to work at a New Orleans style restaurant and 'cracklings' were large diced, salted and confit pork belly that we fried on order and tossed in seasoned salt.  The skin was never as crispy as one might optimally want, but delicious nonetheless.

 

However, I have also roasted suckling pigs with vegetables, stock (to come just half way up) and herbs in a covered roasting pan until almost cooked and then when the pig was almost finished, removed the foil top.  The skin was then exposed to heat which dried it out...the most important part to crispy skin.  Once the pig was cooked through, and the skin was brown and dried out we would let the pig cool, pull out all the bones and then press overnight.  After it was cool we would then portion the pig into pieces.   On the order, the pig portion would go into the salamander, skin side up, just to melt the gelatin and allow the juices leave the skin.  Pat the skin dry and then sear in a cast iron pan.  The skin came out crispy and the meat was tender.


That suckling pig sounds very elaborate, yet extremely inviting! :-)

 

I'm really interested in that confit pork belly you mention. Can you tell us more?

post #11 of 22

We take pork belly and cut it into 1 cm by 1.5 cm cubes, salt them and let them sit overnight.  We then warm up some canola oil mixed with lard and add the pork, and braise for maybe an hour and a half in the oven at 325.  The pork should then be cooled to room temp in the fat.  After its cool, then strain and lay on a sheet pan with parchment paper, cool in the walk in.  From there you can fry in 400°F (205°c) oil and season as you wish.  They skin isnt snap-crackly, but its crispy and the fat is melty and the meat is tender.

post #12 of 22
I'm curently slow cooking a belly at the moment. I let it braise in wine stock and veg for 3 hours at 120 Celsius covered tightly with paper and foil then remove the foil and turn the oven up to 140 Celsius for another hour. When its nice a tender ill remove it and let it cool in the juices. After I will press it over night and then portion to 170 grams.
For service I put a bit of oil in a pan then the belly portion skin side up and sprinkle the skin with sea salt. That then goes in the oven at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes I then bring it out and let it rest.
When it comes time to plate I heat up a clean pan with fresh oil when its hot the belly goes in skin side down and the crackle is instant.
post #13 of 22

Have you tried deep frying?. A place I worked at slow-braised their pork belly and cuts it into cubes. they then deep-fry it to order and the skin is crisp while the meat still stays nice and tender.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Recky View Post

On the same note I'm still wondering (as in a former thread months ago) how some of you guys keep tender roasts ready for service over a typical period of, say, 2 1/2 hours or so, without overcooking the inside and losing the pink centre, for example in a prime rib roast. I might add that I don't have a convection oven in my kitchen, so for holding anything at the right temperature I have to resort to my steam table. Great for sauces, mash, stews etc., but most cuts of meat will suffer. Perhaps a heat lamp? Although I can't imagine this working for an extended period of time. Or are you all that busy all the time that you just slice and plate and never hold???

If you have multiple roasts, you can just keep the others out at room temp, wrapped in foil and heat them up when as you need them.  Most places that have roasts uses it as their main selling point so I'd expect them to sell enough that they don't have to hold. Otherwise, a steamtable with a hotel pan at low heat (50~60C) meat covered with foil would be your best luck.

post #15 of 22

Might not be the solution you're looking for, but I will give you one.

 

Seperate the skin you want to have crispy, and the meat. Cut the skin into the size you want it, and dry it in the oven and deep fry it later.

It will give you crackling skin. You can do the same with skin from fish, chicken, etc....

 

Good luck. 

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey, ljokjel!

 

That's exactly the method I eventually figured out for myself! Ever since, I've successfully done pork roasts etc. without detriment to the crackling.

 

Thanks,

Recky

post #17 of 22
I have no idea on how i got the idea of reviving this dinosaur of a thread.
Good to hear you cracked the code, even though im three years late.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloki View Post
 

As far as I know, once you have achieved perfect crackling on a pork belly, it's impossible (for me at least) to cool down & bring it up to that same level again.  

 

Have you tried slow-cooking it, without crackling the skin, and finishing it during service?  For example, braise it uncovered at a low temp, cool it down, portion, then when you get the order, crisp up the skin in a hot oven.


You are 100% correct. I even tried today after being unsuccessful for nearly 40 years at trying everything under the sun. The best thing is to just keep in a very dry, warm spot in the kitchen or a hot box as another suggest like the Cuban joints in Miami do. I was born in Miami and been cooking lechon and chicharrones for over 4 decades and have found no way to return to fresh made. Today I went to a great Dominican place called Pollo TIpico in Davie and got a whole piece, the meat and skin. Got home separated the skin from the meat and put a little piece of skin in a hot toaster oven and it went from awesome to the garbage can. The skin got rubbery, the fat got a weird consistency and all I can say is yucky. I guess I just have to get them fresh.

post #19 of 22

Don't know if thisehas been stated already but try deep frying the skin, blot out the excess grease and then allowing it to sit inside your plate warmer overnight until it dries out. it will stay crispy.

post #20 of 22

If you separate the skin, trim ALL the fat off it, cut into 2mm strips and dehydrate it, it makes a beautiful crispy garnish when deep fried. They hold well in ambient so you can do in advance as it's labour intensive. You need a proper dehydrator though...

We'd sous vide the belly, press it in the bags overnight and reheat in a smoking pan to colour, then in the oven to warm through and serve with the fried "scratchings" to garnish.

post #21 of 22

For the couple of folks who are confused...he doesn't want cracklings in the sense of fried/puffed skin.  He's looking to re-crisp the skin on the outside of a piece of cooled & held meat...pork belly...like crispy skin pork.  

post #22 of 22

you can't crackle twice, I offered a suggestion to get the best result for a separate reheat and holding "crackled " skin.

 

alternatively, if you sous vide the pork with the skin, as long as there is no sugar in the sous vide process, you could crackle on reheating in a super duper hot oven, but you'd need a lot of time to get the result, probably 15-20 minutes per serving, this may not often suit...

 

another is to cook and crackle  the pork in a hot oven just prior to service and hold the pork in a warm place for service. Cut your portions fresh for each customer.

Once the service is finished, the pork cannot be reheated with crackle.

 

there are ways and means, you just have to work out what's best for your service.

 

In my opinion holding the crackle separately as a garnish is acceptable, but labour intensive (skinning, cutting off the fat, dehydrating. A MINIMUM of 24 hours for the process), but the crispy crackling is like commercial pork scratchings and looks great. I never had any complaints with this method, but you do need a commercial dehydrator...

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