Type of pork makes difference.
The pork used most in Sichuan is Erdaorou 二刀肉, which is the second cut at pork rump butt portion, right next to the first cut at the butt asshole of a pig.
This cut is the best for Twice-Cooked Pork too. Unfortunately, one pig has about 5 pounds only. Occasionally, a butcher in Asian store may cut one for you if your request gets understood correctly because pork cutting practice in the US is different of China.
Comparing with pork belly, Erdaorou tastes less greasy but much tender in fat and has better lean meat.
The next best we could get at some Asian store is a cut of pork butt, such as the one used in this recipe.
Pork belly is most easy to slice (with fat and lean meat well attached) and popularly available in every Asian supermarket and many specialty stores. Costco sells pork belly that has no skin on.
Essentially, any pork can be used no matter it has fat and/or skin.
Boiling pork is a tricky task.
The boiling water should use ginger to flavor pork at the first touch, with green onion, cooking wine and Sichuan pepper optional.
The pork is added to cold water such that pork can be heated evenly. If boiling for Twice-Cooked Pork, however, pork should be added to boiling water.
The pork has to be cooked through. but should not be overcooked. Otherwise, the fat and lean meat may not ideally connect together, and the fat becomes mushy and greasy.
Slicing pork is pretty technical.
If slicing after the pork becomes cold completely, the fat and lean meat are easier to separate. The best is that the pork is cold outside but hot inside. The pork should be served in hot or warm too.
Cut at a certain knife angle against the grain of the lean meat.
There is no standard about the cutting size of each pork slice. Slice the pork as thinly as you can, while each slice has skin strip, fat and lean meat attached together. The slices can be as long as possible and hang up on a shelf to serve (home cooking may use cucumber as holding base and chopsticks to make the shelf).
Seasoning sauce is the key, but its variation is unlimited
If you want to use store-bought chili oil, Laoganma Chili in Oil and Baiweizhai Chili Oil are recommended.
If you want to make chili oil for this dish only, simply place the mashed garlic, two tablespoon chili powder and salt in a rice bowl. Heat 3 tablespoon cooking oil to high heat and pour on the chili powder. Add soy sauce and sugar and you are ready to serve.
If you want to make chili oil in general, refer to our recipe "Sichuan Hot Chili Oil".
Soy sauce can be light soy sauce and all-purpose soy sauce, but the best is the seasoned soy sauce made with our recipe.
Knowing how to eat pork leaf lard as meat makes this recipe magically simpler