Watch & Learn: How to Cook Pork Belly October 14, 2016
For the uninitiated, pork belly can seem a little intimidating. Its slightly rubbery mass, handed over by a butcher, comes with no instructions.
Wondering how to cook pork belly? How on earth does one transform this cut of meat into the delicious combination of melt-in-your-mouth soft, juicy pork meat, and the thick crust of savoury pork skin crackling? The answer is easier than you might think, with a little time and a few choice techniques.
This recipe for how to cook pork belly is entirely pared back and basic – with just a little onion and lemon to help with an even roast and add a little flavour. Of course, once you’ve mastered this dish, you can pair it with all sorts of flavours! Our favourites are baked fennel, apples and of course the classic Asian hit of hoisin, coriander and ginger. Check out Not Quite Nigella for a very special beer and onion gravy to go with this classic.
How to Cook Pork Belly
Pork Belly, rind on and bones removed (your butcher can do this for you)
2 large onions
- Start with very dry skin on the pork belly. Ideally you can leave the pork on a plate, uncovered, overnight to really dry out. Otherwise, give it a good pat with paper towels. Then, Score the skin an the diagonal with a (clean!) stanley knife. The knife should puncture the hard skin but not penetrate below the fat.
- Preheat your oven to it’s highest temperature. Screaming hot!
- With a generous hand, sprinkle salt all over the scored fat of the pork belly, then drizzle with oil and rub well to penetrate into the scored lines. This process will help to render the fat and ensure a really crispy, crackly top.
- Thickly slice the onions and lemon (don’t worry about removing the skin), then place the slices on a large lined baking tray. Lay the pork belly on top. Doing this will stop the bottom of the meat from burning, and allow the heat to evenly circulate around the whole cut. The fat that renders off will drip down underneath the meat, rather than sitting around it.
- Put the pork belly in the oven and cook for 15 minutes on the highest heat, then reduce the oven to 170ºC and cook for a further 1 hour and 30 minutes. Yes, it’s a long time, but think of all the great 90 minute movies you can enjoy while you wait! There’s really nothing else to be done here, just sit back and let the heat work its magic.
- Before removing from the oven, tap the top of the pork belly with a knife to see if it’s crispy and feels hard. If it isn’t, leave for a further 15 minutes. If you’re happy with it, remove from the oven.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
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