The Summer Party Dish Andrew Zimmern Swears By

Planning a summer shindig at your place? Grab your rock salt and painter's tape (yes, you read that right) because Andrew Zimmern is about to school us in how to make a delicious pork belly appetizer to wow guests at your next get-together. In a June 2 tweet, the chef, restaurateur, and former host of "Bizarre Foods" suggested an idea we think works year-round: Crispy Pork Belly Bites.

You've likely had pork belly in restaurants. In his video demonstrating how he makes crispy pork belly, the Emmy- and James Beard Award-winning television personality explains that it's a dish people often "seek out in Chinese barbecues ... or Cantonese restaurants." Pork belly might seem too intimidating to make at home, but Zimmern's preparation of the succulent meat is a safe (just a little lengthy) place to start.

Just what is pork belly? According to the National Pork Board, it's what it sounds like: The underside of the hog (muscle, skin, and fat), minus the loin and the spareribs. It's usually served in small portions because its thick layer of fat makes it pretty indulgent. How does pork belly relate to bacon? According to MasterClass, bacon is pork belly that is cured and thinly cut. There are many ways to prepare pork belly, but for this appetizer, Zimmern gives it a crispy texture by broiling it. Fair warning: Zimmern's crispy pork belly is a two-day process, but the results look worth the advanced planning.

A two-day recipe

On his website, Andrew Zimmern demonstrates how he makes his crispy pork belly appetizer. It starts with choosing the right cut: Ask your butcher for a piece that has little or no skin trimmed. "The skin on a pork belly is some of the best skin on the animal and it will get crispy and crunchy and not (be) too much to bite through," Zimmern explains in the video.

To prepare the cut, the chef starts by using a metal skewer to put a generous number of piercings in the skin and fat. This allows fat "blisters" to form on top of the skin and create the pork belly's signature crispiness. (Zimmern hack: achieve a just-right puncture depth by wrapping painter's tape near the tip of the skewer so that it pierces only the skin and fat layers, not the meat.)

Zimmern's crispy pork belly is seasoned with white pepper, five-spice powder, salt, and sake. The process involves overnight refrigeration to allow some of the meat's moisture to evaporate. On day two, Zimmern covers the meat in rock salt before cooking it. Rock salt draws out moisture without being absorbed into the flesh. The salt gets scraped off before Zimmern broils the belly until it's crispy. Zimmern cuts the pork into bite-sized squares, and serves them on toothpicks with a Chinese hot mustard for dipping. Crispy pork belly appetizers that will wow your guests? That's a party we'd love to attend.