Week 15 – Roast Pork Belly with Crackling
Week 15 of 52 Weeks of Food
I’ve been watching MasterChef Australia for years. And every season I’ve watched contestants earn much praise as they’ve served up amazing pork belly with delicious, salty crackling.
Till recently, I had no idea where I could procure pork belly from. So cooking it seemed like a distant dream. Then I found a magic store. I ambitiously bought the pork belly and boasted to Kris that I was going to make it that very weekend. Kris had only one request. Crackling. Following which, I went into a complete panic.
It took me 6 weeks (and scouring through a million recipes) to finally get around to doing this.
Luckily, I chose my recipe well. The meat was juicy and delicious. The crackling was crackling. And everyone ate happily ever after 🙂
Pork belly – 1/2 kilo cut
Salt – To taste
Pepper – To taste
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
(Yes, that’s it)
Score the pork belly skin. Use a sharp knife, cutting diagonal lines in one direction, then the other till you get a nice diamond design on top.
(I must admit this was the hardest part of doing this recipe. They make it look really easy in the recipe videos. I ended up cutting too shallow in some parts and too deep in others. You need a really sharp knife. A craft cutter was recommended by several people for scoring. And if you’re clumsy like me, you’ll have to watch those fingers.)
Salt and pepper both sides of the pork belly generously, the fat/skin side and the meat side.
Ensure the salt and pepper are rubbed well over the scored skin, so they get into the crevices created by the scoring.
Keep aside for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 230 C.
Oil the pork belly well and place it on a baking/parchment sheet on the oven tray. (I didn’t have any baking sheets so I placed the pork belly on slices of cut potato 🙂 )
Roast for 30 minutes on 230 C.
Reduce the heat to 160 C for an additional 25 minutes per pound of meat (So I roasted this for approximately 40 minutes more on the reduced temperature.)
Crank the heat up to 250 for 30 seconds to 1 minute to get the crackling done. When it’s done, it’ll be golden brown and slightly bubbly.
Take out of the oven and rest for a bit.
Slice and serve.
I pretty much followed this recipe: http://barefeetinthekitchen.com/how-to-cook-pork-belly/ The information on how long to cook the pork, and at what temperatures, was spot on. Great recipe!
P.S. The potato, which was a creative solution to not having baking paper, turned out to be a great idea. It was cooked to perfection and a fab accompaniment.