Home > Categories > Food > Heat and Eat > Beak & Sons Plum and Ginger Pork Belly review
Pork Belly is the stuff of mouthwatering legends: a truly decadent and flavourful meat! Beak & Sons Plum & Ginger Pork Belly is the perfect combination of succulent pork belly coated in a sticky plum & ginger glaze, and slow cooked so it's meltingly tender and full of flavour. Simply heat then carve the belly joint into bite-sized cubes or chunky slices.
This product is fully cooked and just needs reheating in a conventional oven or microwave. It should be kept chilled until needed.
I have been a fan of Beak & Sons meats since I first saw them at a food show back in 2018. More than 4 years down the track and it is great to see new flavours still appearing, and this has the potential to become one of my favourites. Not because of the tender, flavourful meat. the easy reheat-n-eat preparation, nor even the generous portions but because of the versatility.
According to the box, it carries enough meat to feed 2-3 adults when paired with a healthy helping of veges, so I figured that really should be the first thing I try, so it was time to go out into the garden to harvest my raw materials. As the only things ready were kumara and cauliflower, and I have long-since given up buying frozen vege unless the garden is bereft of harvestable produce, that had to be enough. And it certainly was.
While I was mashing the kumara and making a basic garlic cheese sauce, I popped about a third of the meat into a bowl and gave it a spin in the microwave for 6 minutes at 50% power - I find that cooking the meat on less than full-power gives it a good thorough heating all the way through without turning it stringy and tough. At least, it doesn't with most meats... I have to admit, I have never cooked pork belly before because it's usually a very fatty meat.
However, because of the way the meat is prepared, the fat had all formed a layer that was very simple to thin out or remove when you open the bag. For those who want to avoid too much animal fat in their diet, this is probably going to be a strong selling point. I admit I was a bit nervous when it came time to take my first bite - I wasn't too sure how tender the meat was going to be, but I need not have worried, because it was tender, easy to pull apart, and melted in my mouth.
I was a little confused about the sauce though, since I was looking forward to that tingle from ginger and I love the flavour of plums, yet could find no hint of either in the finished product. The plums did provide the sauce with a rich, silky texture and a definite sweetness, but I missed the ginger. SO I added some more of my own, to give it that warm spark. That worked a treat! I little sprinkle of garlic salt and a pinch of onion powder really lifted it up for me.
My next use for this meat was to make small pies, which I usually eat at ambient temperature because I really enjoy that as a snack if I am heading out of the house and not sure if I will be home for lunch. The one potential problem was the sauce - despite being utterly delicious, it seemed to be a bit more liquid than I expected when I had it the first time. So, I had to think about the construction of the pie a bit more - it needed something to act as a wich, soaking up all that flavour and keeping it inside the pie instead of leaking through the pastry. Some lightly steamed rice went in first, then the meat and sauce, topped with some mashed kumara and grated cheese before the lid went on and it got cooked. The result, when it had cooled down, proved to be a winner. So much so, that by the time I realised I hadn't taken a photo to link to this review, they were all gone.
The last third of the meat gave me pause - I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. A glance at the box saved me from having to make a decision right away. Since the meat is already cooked, it doesn't need any special treatment - as long as the bag is resealed properly, and is kept in the fridge, it will last for a while without worry, so I just decanted it into a clip-lock container and back into the fridge it went to await a spark of inspiration or a bout of midnight hunger pangs.
Overall, I found these to be a very economical option if you want to try something a bit different. Assuming three portions, it works out to about $6.50 per person however I think you could easily get four portions if you prefer a more vege-heavy ratio on your plate. If you were using it in a single meal to feed 2 adults and 2 kids, the adults could sneak a bit extra without problem. The flavour is mild without being bland, which will allow you to adjust it to suit your preferences, which is actually a really good way to do it, in my opinion. While not expensive - a good steak will cost you almost as much and only feed two, it's not going to be an everyday-food on most people's budget. A tasty treat that easy to heat and eat, and has the bonus of allowing you to reduce the fat content easily prior to reheating.
Among the jobs I had at various times while a student there was one that really stood out for me. Every weekend I would work in a Chinese restaurant which was owned and run by the family of a fellow student (and close friend). Jobs ranged from waiting tables to food preparation to acting on occasions as assistant to the cook; this man was a highly skilled instructor. He spoke no English and I spoke no Cantonese, but we communicated in French quite adequately. I will never forget the first lesson he taught me. He never measured any of his seasonings, relying rather on tasting the food in progress and adding more spices as needed. His instruction was simply to add seasonings until you could no longer taste them, and then the food would be ready to serve. If you could taste the seasonings individually you were not a competent cook!
This lesson came back to me when I tasted this pork belly. I could not make out any ginger or plum although they were listed as key ingredients. Instead, the pork itself was richly aromatic with a slightly sweet aftertaste. The thick, dark sauce which coated it tasted of meat rather than ginger or plum, and the pork itself was incredibly tender. The fat was melt-in-your-mouth soft; I was glad there were two of us to eat it as I might otherwise have been tempted to eat the lot on my own. It is true that the packet says there are three servings, but hey, we were hungry and it was so delicious we might have resented having to share!
We decided that the pork would be best served with plain vegetables because it was not only rich tasting but also very dark, no doubt due to the plum content. We served it with mashed potato, carrots, kumara, and cooked celery. The no-contest winner was the kumara; it was a combination to die for! I think next time we have this product for dinner, we will just serve it with plenty of kumara and nothing else. And buy it again we certainly will; it was one of the nicest meals we have had in a long time.
Because of the relatively high levels of animal fat and sodium, this would not be an everyday dish for us. It would be reserved for a treat on a special occasion. However, it is ok once in a while to spend a little extra and factor in some "healthier" food for the day or two following. We will appreciate it all the more for not having it regularly, and I can guarantee that there will be none wasted. I think, given our success with the kumara, it would be nice with plain boiled pumpkin as well because the two vegetables are similar in taste and texture. The product is already cooked and just needs reheating for 30 minutes in the oven, so that allows plenty of time to prepare and cook the vegetables that are to accompany it.
Random listing from 'Food'...
Farrah's soft flame baked corn & flour tortillas filled with tasty chicken, onion & capsicum cooked in a mild spice mix of chipotle chili, smoked paprika and other aromatic spices. Rolled up and covered in a rich enchilada sauce, just sprinkle with cheese and bake for a proper family meal full of flavour.
All trademarks, images and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective companies.
KIWIreviews is an independent entity, part of the Knock Out News Group. This is a free public forum presenting user opinions on selected products, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of kiwireviews.nz and are protected under New Zealand law by the "Honest Opinion" clause of the Defamation Act of 1992. KIWIreviews accepts no liability for statements made on this site, on the premise that they have been submitted as the true and honest opinions of the individual posters. In most cases, prices and dates stated are approximate and should be considered as only guidelines.
"Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there."
Josh Billings (1818 - 1885)