I remember Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy in the movie ‘Trading Places’, Louis Winthorpe III was a successful commodity broker in Philadelphia, who was left jobless by the elderly Duke brothers, gambling on his character. Louis was a dealer in Pork bellies futures.
Pork bellies and pork belly futures started trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1961. They trade on units of 20 tons of frozen, trimmed bellies that weigh about 13 pounds each. Trading frozen pork bellies was developed to lower the risk to the meat packers processing pork, as hog prices vary depending on the market, inventory and time of year.
In the United States, bacon is made from pork bellies, the underside of the pig or hog. The rest of the world make their bacon from back and side cuts. Bacon from bellies is referred to as “American Style, or “Streaky”.
Pigs actually have two stomachs, one for storing food, one for digesting it, much like a cow.
When Pork Belly is smoked and cured, it is called Bacon, when it is just cured by the method of being immersed in salt until completely penetrating the meat, then rubbed with spices and/or herbs it is called Pancetta, used to flavor soups, stews, pasta or salads.
Because of the fat in pork, it can be darn tasty, I decided I would try to cook up some pork belly.
The top, skin side up, scored and rubbed with spices, wrapped and refrigerated for a few hours, then cooked at high heat in the oven for a short time to crisp the skin, (can you say Cracklings?) after that, slow cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots, carrots, onions, thyme, and fennel.
A de-glaze with white wine, a little butter added and your sauce is ready.
I will let you know how it turned out.
(Oh, the Rum is for the cook...)