I guess I’m not so special when I say “I love pork belly”. It’s a universal club that welcomes anyone and everyone. But I don’t care. I’m saying it anyway. I love pork belly. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
I love the tender juicy meat, and the snap of the crunchy, salty crackling. But when it comes to making it at home, I often get frustrated. The skin won’t crisp up unless I pump up my oven temperature to max, smoking out my house in the meantime. Additionally as a consequence, the meat would overcook, resulting in dry, chewy pork. Not fun.
Enter my dad. He told me of a new secret pork belly recipe he had been tweaking. He said, “It’s easy! Marinate, boil, roast. Easy!”
BOIL!? As in put in water and rehydrate the skin I’ve been working so hard to dry out? Skeptically, I wrote down what he said, and went to the market to test out this unconventional method.
This is how it ended up:
I was surprised.
IT WORKED! The crackling was crispy crunchy, and the meat was juicy and tender. I also found that the pork didn’t seem as fatty and oily, and the fat almost seem to melt in my mouth (perhaps due to the boiling stage). BONUS!
So with the success of this discovery, I’m proud to share the joy and let you in on the Twin Discoveries Crispy Crackling Pork Belly recipe, courtesy of our dad. You can thank him later.
1. The Marinade – for 2kgs of pork belly (adjust as necessary)
- 2kgs pork belly
- Approximately 500-700ml of good fish sauce (I used the “Healthy Boy” brand)
- 1 bulb of garlic, chopped into small pieces, adjusted to taste.
I was a bit concerned at the amount of fish sauce and garlic in this marinade, but I gave it a go (obviously adjust this based on the weight of the pork belly). I recall on our recent trip to America, eating a famous dish which I thought sounded rather unappetizing – Fish Sauce Chicken wings. As soon as I took the first bite at Pok Pok in Portland, I was converted, completely blown away! So, my friends, have faith and trust me, it works!
- Prepare the pork belly by washing it, then dry with paper towel
- Scour the skin in parallel rows of about 2 cm
- Put half of the chopped garlic at the bottom of a flat container just big enough to accommodate the pork. Add the pork belly, skin side down, then cover with the remaining chopped garlic.
- Pour fish sauce into the container to level with the pork
- Marinate for one hour in the fridge, then turn the skin side up. Marinate for another hour
2. The Boil and Roast
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Prepare a roasting tray with a roasting mesh/rack so the pork sits elevated off the bottom of the tray to allow an even cook.
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, adding the pork belly from the fridge, skin side down. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn the pork over and boil for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer the pork belly to the roasting tray, skin side up, and put into the oven. Turn temperature to max (300 degrees celcius) for as long as you feel comfortable, or until the skin has blistered and looks crispy.
- If you prefer your pork belly cooked a bit more, turn the temperature down to 160-180 degrees celcius, and cook until the juices run clear
- Serve with your favourite salad to balance out the heaviness of the meat. I use greens such as peas, asparagus and coriander with a balsamic glaze, and roasted red capsicum for colour. Enjoy!
Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.