Slow cooked pork belly with amazing crackling.
Honestly, the best bit about roast pork for me is the crackling, unless I’m in the Southern states of America in which case it’s the coleslaw that goes with the pulled pork. I have tried so often to get it just right with pork belly, the meat is often meltingly delicious but the crackling can stubbornly remain rubbery.
Yesterday, finally, I got it right.
My main oven has started to sound like a jet on takeoff. Next week my new oven arrives, so I’m currently in limbo, using the second,smaller oven for all my baking. It has been quite a steep learning curve. This, in hindsight though, could well have made the difference when cooking the pork belly. My large oven is fan assisted but the second smaller oven has top and bottom elements, allowing the heat to move differently. The crackling ceratinly benefitted. If you have the choice try it, from now on I’ll cook pork belly in an oven with the fan off and the top and bottom elements on.
I do very little to the pork before I roast it. The skin is scored with a freshly sharpened carving knife, I have a steel and sharpen the knife as I go. Score deeply enough to go through the skin and the top fat layer but not down into the pork flesh. Preheat the oven to 150c. Rub salt into the score marks, place in a foil lined roasting tin (simply to save scrubbng off burn on bits) and roast for 3 and a half hours. Every so often drain off the rendered fat, this will prevent your kitchen becoming fog bound and smoky. After 3.5 hours turn up the oven to 225c and blast the pork for a further 20 to 30 minutes. Watch the crackling carefully as you don’t want it to scorch right at the end.
Yesterday we had the pork belly with wild rice, purple sprouting broccoli and a large dollop of sweet chilli sauce.