America's Most Wanted
Cathal Armstrong's Pork Belly
© Scott Suchman Photgraphy

Growing up in Ireland, chef Cathal Armstrong didn’t eat corned beef. “That’s really an American-Irish dish,” he says. But his mother did make an incredible pork belly dish that he's turned into a cult classic at his flagship, Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA. “It was inspired by what my mother called ‘boiling bacon’—basically pure pork belly that was boiled rather than pan-fried,” Armstrong says. “When we were opening Restaurant Eve, pork belly was becoming a popular thing and we experimented with it—dry curing, brining, dry roasting and braising. What we came up with is as close to a perfect piece of meat as I believe I can create.” Armstrong brines the belly for a whole week, then braises the meat until it's ultra-tender. The belly is finished in the pan so it gets fantastically crisp on the edges. “The accompaniments change fairly often, but the pork belly is a staple on the menu.”

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