Pork Buns

I’ve had cravings lately. From boiled pork belly to garlic snapper, I don’t know why. I promise, I am not preggo. Just hungry.

Today was the day of pork belly. In addition to the fact that we had bacon for breakfast, it was the day to make some pork buns. Sweet, tangy, and oozing with pork fat, these buns are a great project for a lazy Sunday. Well, I guess that’s not so lazy then. I’ve said this time and time again. Pork belly is underrated. Completely. It is an incredible piece of pork that many Americans neglect to use. I’ll be honest, it’s not ALWAYS found in markets but it DOES exist. If I can find it here in Pensacola, then it can definitely be found anywhere you are.

It’s an amazing piece of pork that can be beautifully layered with meat and fat. When it’s slowly cooked…dear god, it is literally like butter.

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It has also gotten really warm in Florida. It’s February. I repeat, it’s February and it was almost 75 degrees today. People look at me crazy here when I say I hate the sun. We headed to the beach with the dog and the end results are here:

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A tired, sleepy, and sore puppy.

So this recipe can definitely be tweaked. I bought char-siu sauce from our local asian market. To be quite frank, I think I like plain hoisin sauce better. This char-siu sauce (which is used for that glowing red pork you see hanging in the windows of Chinese restaurants) is a bit too salty for me. But of course, to each their own.

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Oh god. Isn’t this beautiful?

OH GOD:

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Now the dough is a pain in the ass. Thankfully, I have my bread maker that kneads and rises my dough for me so I really shouldn’t complain. But it’s not really the kneading part that gets me angry. It’s the assembly of the bun itself that I could not do. I watched one video after the other, trying to figure out how these people so gracefully pleated their buns, while mine looked like baby diapers filled with poo. Practice, I suppose, would make perfect. But my patience ran out. Quickly.

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If you have access to a nice, big slab of pork belly, make these buns!

Time: 1.5 hours
Ingredients:

Filling:
1.5 lb pork belly
Char-siu sauce

Dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoon shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon honey

1. Preheat your oven to 450. (P.S. start your dough [step 8] while your pork is roasting)
2. Clean off your pork belly. I’ve said this before, but I always rinse my pork. It’s a dirty animal, I don’t know how clean it was when it was cut, so therefore, it must be rinsed!
3. Lay out a big piece of foil then lay a large piece of parchment paper on top.
4. Place your pork in the center and brush on the char-siu sauce.
5. Tightly close the pork in with the foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour.
6. After the hour is up, open up your pork belly surprise and bake for about 15 more minutes. Remove and allow it to cool.
7. Once cooled, cut your pork belly into big slices and place into a food processor. Roughly pulse the meat until it is ground up into a chunky consistency. Place to the side.
8. In a small bowl, combine your hot water, yeast, salt, and honey and allow it to proof.
9. In a large bowl, combine your flour and shortening. Add in your yeast mixture (when it is foamy).
10. Knead for about 10 minutes. Add more flour if needed. I added about 1/4 cup of flour.
11. Set in a large bowl and cover. Place in a warm place and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
12. Place your dough on a floured surface and cut into golf ball pieces.
13. Youtube how to assemble your buns. I would love to tell you how to do this step, but to be honest…mine looked terrible. TERRIBLE.
14. When ready, place your buns on top of small squares of parchment paper and steam for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is cooked.
15. Enjoy!

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