Slow-Roasted Pork Belly

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Pork
Serves/Qty: 1
Marthinus Strydom

I have tried every conceivable recipe that guarantees crispy crackling. They all lie! I have failed too many times to count. This is the ONLY one that works the way I want it to. The best crispy crackling guaranteed.

The Story

I have searched high and low for the perfect pork belly recipe. I have tried every conceivable recipe that guarantees crispy crackling every time. Unfortunately I have been disappointed many times. In order to save you all a lot of time and even more money, I have done all the hard work for you! What you will find here is a recipe that I have created, combining a few techniques into a fool proof crispy crackling recipe.

The rise of the pig began in Asia and progressed through the Near East, and eventually to Europe, where Sus scrofa domesticus really took off. It is to Spain that the Americas owe the introduction of this valuable animal, as the first pigs on the continent were brought with Columbus on his second voyage.

The Spanish explorers brought pigs with them to eat on their long expeditions, and left many of them in the New World, where no large domesticated animals existed. Hernando de Soto, who explored what is today the southeastern United States, is often called the father of the American pork industry, as he brought 200 of them on his expedition. Those that remained are the ancestors of most of the pigs in the country, and certainly related to the feral pigs, or wild boar, that roam the country.

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Ingredients
Adjust Quanities

For the special roast pork belly sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
the pan juices
1 juice from orange
3 slices of orange peel
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Pork Belly
1 kg pork belly
3 medium onions, or peeled and cored green apples
3 tsp salt flakes
5 tbsp oil

Method

  1. Take two long sheets of foil and put in baking dish.
  2. Cut peeled onions or peeled apples in half and place on foil. Cut them lengthwise so that the pork is resting on a flat discs of onions or apples, and so that your guests get half of an onion or apple each.
  3. Remove all moisture from pork rind by dabbing with high-grade paper towel. You can use a hairdryer to get it completely dry. This will ensure the pork rind crackles perfectly. Mix salt flakes and oil and rub all over pork belly, including the rind. Work into the crevices all over the pork. Place pork, rind side up, on top of apples or onions.
  4. Gather up foil so that is surrounds the pork but leaves the top skin rind exposed. The foil should make a close nest around the pork to prevent it from drying out and gather the juices while it's cooking, but at the same time allow the pork rind to crackle.
  5. Place in oven preheated to 150 degrees C and cook for 3 hours. Turn oven temp down to 140 degrees C and cook for another hour. Remove from oven and pour out juices and set aside for the sauce. Do not baste the pork at any time while cooking.
  6. Finally, before serving, place the pork back into oven and cook at 220 degrees C for another 20 mins. This will bring the crackling up to perfection.
  7. To make the special roast pork belly sauce; in a saucepan mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 3 star anise, 1/2 cinnamon stick, pan juices. Bring to boil and simmer until syrupy - approx 5 mins. Add juice from 1 orange, 3 slices of orange peel and 1 cup chicken stock. Bring back to boil, simmer until reduces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove orange rind, star anise and cinnamon stick before serving.

The secret to the crackling is to (1) score the rind quite finely, (2) ensure the rind is free of moisture, and (3) don't cover or baste the pork rind at any time whie it is cooking in the oven.

You will get excellent result if you follow the cooking temperatures - it is important that your oven is at the right temperature. 

Serving suggestion

You can use any herb rub with the oil and salt. Add rosmary and rest the pork on garlic, or add star anise to the onion. Any of your favourite pork flavours will go well with this recipe - just add them to the rub or rest the pork on your favourite flavours before cooking.

pork belly crispy crackling