This mouthwatering pork belly is encrusted with an irresistible caramelized and crackly skin. Lightly seasoned and slow-roasted to perfection, it’s the ultimate pork recipe that always impresses family and friends!
Feast your eyes on this show-stopping slab of perfectly cooked crispy pork belly! I consider myself quite the pork belly expert (it’s my favorite cut, and I’ve been cooking it for years!) so trust me, it’s a winner.
The secret? I swear by slow roasting it. Don’t let the slightly longer cooking time deter you- it’s worth every single minute.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Ideal juiciness and crackle. My slow roasting method results in a tender pork belly with a crunchy and flavorful skin every time. My family literally begs me to make this once a week.
- Only 4 ingredients. Besides the pork, all you need is sugar, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
- Mostly hands-off. With just a few seconds of prep time, the oven does most of the work. Easy peasy!
What we love about this recipe is how perfect the meat turns out every time. I know some of you may be worried that the skin won’t be crispy but don’t fret- I’ve also included my tried and true tips to guarantee perfection every single time.
The ingredient list is brief thanks to pork belly’s natural, mouthwatering goodness. This is everything you’ll need:
- Pork belly. Pick up a slab of pork belly, preferably skinless and boneless. The best kind for roasting will have a good balance of lean meat and fat marbling. If you can, try to g
- Salt and pepper. For seasoning.
- Sugar. As it cooks, the sugar caramelizes and hardens around the outside, giving you that amazing crackled pork skin. Yum!
- Water. Roasting the pork in a pan filled with a small amount of water keeps it from drying out in the oven.
How to cook pork belly
Step 1- Season the pork: Rub the sugar, salt, and pepper all over the pork.
Step 2- Roast: Place pork belly skin side up in the baking tray. Roast until it’s cooked through.
Step 3- Finish under the broiler: If the skin isn’t crispy, broil the pork until the skin is crisp and crackling.
Step 4- Rest, slice, and serve: Set the pork aside to rest before slicing and serving warm. Enjoy!
Pork side vs. pork belly
These two pork parts may seem alike, but they’re actually two different cuts with very different uses. Pork belly is an unprocessed cut known for its high fat content and natural succulence. On the other hand, the pork side, AKA pork side ribs, contains meaty sections attached to the rib bones.
Recipe tips and variations
Dry the skin. Do you want crispy skin? Then you HAVE to take the time to pat the skin dry before adding the dry rub! I usually pat dry it with a paper towel to soak extra moisture.
Season in advance. To infuse more flavor, I like sprinkling the salt rub over the meat a few hours before cooking or the night before. It’s not necessary, but it does take it up a notch.
Score the skin. Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts all across the pork skin. It’s an optional step but will help render the fat out of the skin, leaving you with crispier results.
Play with the seasonings. To change things up, I like to rub the crispy roast pork belly with Chinese five-spice powder, a sweet and spicy dry rub, or white pepper for a little extra flavor.
Brush with a glaze. Use my 3-ingredient ham glaze, pork tenderloin marinade, or even a simple mix of soy sauce and white vinegar as a glaze. Brushing the pork with a glaze during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking adds more flavor and preserves the crackly skin.
To store: Once cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: Let the leftovers cool before wrapping them in plastic or aluminum foil. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Reheat the pork on a baking sheet covered loosely with foil at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the pan juices over the pork periodically to keep it moist and juicy.
More impressive pork recipes
- Stuffed Pork Chops
- Stuffed Pork Loin
- Country Style Pork Ribs
- Pork Katsu
- Oven Baked Pork Chops
- Lechon Asado (Cuban Pork Roast)
Frequently asked questions
Your pork belly is only as good as the dipping sauce it’s served with. That’s why I always like to pair it with katsu sauce, hot honey sauce, or eel sauce! On the side, you can serve it with cauliflower mash, a fresh arugula salad with a citrus vinaigrette, and a medley of roasted vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Yes, you can use bone-in pork. Remember that bone-in cuts typically take longer to cook, so you’ll need to adjust the roasting time as necessary.
I prefer to cook skin-on pork belly, but this ultimately comes down to personal preference. Skin-on results in that coveted crispy, crackling skin, while skinless is a better choice if you want a more tender, less fatty dish.
Crispy Pork Belly Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 240C/460F.
- Pat dry the pork belly skin with a paper towel.
- Combine two teaspoons of the salt, the sugar, and the pepper in a small bowl and season the flesh of the pork belly on all sides.
- Place the pork belly in a baking dish or roasting pan skin side up. Add enough water to cover 1/3 of an inch. Sprinkle the rest of the salt over the pork belly skin.
- Roast the pork belly for 40 minutes, then lower the temperature to 140C/280F and roast for another hour.
- If the skin is not crispy enough after that, turn on the broiler and cook for another 5 minutes until it gets an even crispy layer.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
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