Pork
Comments 35

Roast Pork Belly, cooked simply

Pork Belly

Pork Belly

It’s fair to say that I like pork belly. Just a little. Or, is that alot? Yes, it is. ALOT. It’s such a fine cut of meat, packed full of flavour and with that gorgeous crispy crackling as a bonus. It’s cheap too!

I’ve blogged about it in the past (Slow Roast Pork Belly with Cider & Lentils), and it occured to me recently that I ‘ve never blogged about doing it simply without wine or cider, herbs or spices, just au natural. Now, there’s a petit oversight and one which I’ll rectify now.

There are a couple of important things about cooking pork belly. Start it off at a very high temperature, to wake up that crackling and get it moving. Then turn down the heat and roast it long enough to render out the fat. Then blast that sleepy crackling under the grill so it blisters and crisps, almost aching and arching with the effort.

I got another great new tip recently from one of my many cookbooks. Before roasting, pour some boiling water over the pork belly skin, so that the lines that your butcher has cut through the skin pull apart, encouraging fantastic crackling, and reminding it of the job ahead.

This was enough for two, and I had leftovers. I served it with cavolo nero flash fried with red chilli and garlic. It was a fantastic accompaniment.

Ingredients:

1kg pork belly, ask your butcher to cut through the crackling (score it) or do it yourself with a stanley knife, cutting parallel lines through the skin as far as but not through the flesh underneath
Sea salt
Olive Oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees celsius.
Put the pork belly in a metal colander and pour boiling water over the top. Drain then pat dry with kitchen paper. Rub some olive oil and sea salt into the flesh (not the skin) and rub sea salt into the skin, and into the grooves cut there.
Place on a rack in a baking tray, to allow the fat to drip out, and roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170 degrees and roast for a further hour and a half (roughly – depends on your cut of meat and the oven – keep an eye on it).
Put on the grill and put the pork belly under it to crisp the crackling. This only takes a few minutes. Take care not to burn it, which can happen very quickly.
Rest for 10-15 minutes, and serve sliced, with the crackling on top. This is delicious served simply with greens like cavolo nero, sprout tops or kale.

Enjoy!

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

35 Comments

  1. Pork Belly is fab – my dad does a slow roast version in the rayburn, although the crackling doesn’t crisp up quite to the same degree as yours. Great tip over the water – will have to try that with the next one I do.

    • Tell him to use rock salt ;) crank it at the start for 20 mins and at the end 20 mins as well, and one hr per kg of meat and u cant go wrong.. Include the ‘high heat’ times in ur overall cooking time.. If he likes it slow cooked, Just keep an eye on the internal temp ;)

  2. I’m completely devoted to belly pork. It’s such a wonderful cut of meat, and very cost effective.

    I’m skirting round the issue here. The crackling is the thing here. The pork is great, there’s no denying that, but the skin, cooked well, is nothing short of sensational.

    I tend to use a method pretty siilar to yours (that initial blast of heat is essential). Good tip with the boiling water – that will really tighten the skin, but it’s important to make sure that the skin is very dry before it goes in the oven. Pat it dry and leave it for an hour or so, uncovered in the fridge.

    A judicious sprinkling of salt also helps too. Well, crackling is hardly a health food…you may as well add a little too much salt to all the saturated fat.

  3. Great tip with the boiling water. I do that with goose and duck, but it had never occurred to me to try it with pork. My dad will be delighted- he loves the crackling. As do I.

  4. This is my favourite way to eat pork belly, it’s always interesting to use other flavours but this way the real pork flavour really shines through.

    I use the boiling water tip, also leave in the fridge uncovered so it’s relaly dry beforehand.

  5. DROOL! Drooly drool drool drooly drooly drool! Ah, the belly – how nice to see it in all it’s natural glory!

  6. Stunning as ever! I’m now gagging for some pork belly!

    Great crackling. I can almost hear the crunch from hear.

  7. Wow there is just something about your pork belly recipes that just seems irrisistable. How often do you do them? I have never read about pork belly as often as on your blog.

  8. Jo Jordan says

    Dare I even look.

    I want to introduce you to a new blogger in my town, Olney @GarethLRoberts. He does the buying for our local delicatessen and cafe, MuchAdo (MK46 5NH) and blogs for them every Thursday morning http://olney100.ning.com/profile/MuchAdo and on his own blog http://thefocacciaman.blogspot.com.

    Out here I think people don’t really believe blogs work so I hope you’ll have a look and give him some encouragement. He writes really well and knows the food chain out in these parts!

    Thanks for all the scrumptious recipes,
    Jo

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  10. Mare says

    Thanks for your posts on pork belly. As a result I went to price it at a local shop and it really is cheap. I want to try your techniques this sunday but have a question for you. I have a crock pot–do you think the pork belly would be fine in it for some hours and then at the end I could crisp up the crackling. I’ve never cooked pork belly before so I’d really appreciate your take on this. I mostly want to use the crock pot (or slow cooker) so I can put it in in the morning and leave it while we go out. Thank you!

    • Mare, I think you could crisp it under the grill when you come home. Make sure the skin is dried, scored well and rubbed with salt, and watch it like a hawk.

  11. WOW that crackling looks awesome, better than my attempt…
    If you have the time rub salt into the skin, leave for 20 mins scrape off and repeat 3 or 4 times, gets some of the moisture out of the skin and makes superb crackling. Have also tried honey basting but it tends to burn or caramelise so have given up with honey but still good in the gravy reduction to serve alongside…

  12. jonni fitzgerald says

    putting a roasting tray full of par boiled potatoes under the roasting and dripping pork belly is another good idea…..they are delicious, roasting in the delicious (and naughty) pork fat…..it is worth putting a little water in with the potatoes just to stop them catching……
    your pork belly looks amazing! thanks for the tip of the boiling water! brilliant!…..

  13. Melanie says

    Hello Niamh, thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe – I’ve never cooked pork belly before and wanted to start with a simple recipe but couldn’t seem to find a good one till I came across yours – just cooked a lovely piece of pork belly tonight and it was divine. I will definitely try your slow roasted one next.

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  17. This was awesome. I used pork dripping and sea salt. Never thought of finishing off the crackling with the grill!

  18. william says

    pork and crackling was cooked to perfection cheers for the tips . the hot water worked well and having no oil on the skin really made it crunchy .

  19. Jessikins1989 says

    Fantastic! I have an absolute weakness for pork belly, I love a nice slab of it on layers of black pudding, caramelized Apple slices, and sweet potato mash with a big blob of creamed parsnips on the side. Mmmm! Xx

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  21. Samsum2312 says

    Cooking it now and serving with a griddled courgette and watercress salad with pistachio dressing :-)

  22. Carina says

    I tried this method – with the hot water – earlier today, and it worked brilliantly! Best pork belly and most even crackling I’ve ever been able to produce – thank you!

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