Pork belly has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is also a versatile cut of meat. For example, you can braise, roast or wok pork belly. It is very tasty when it is pickled or rubbed with spices.
What is pork belly?
Pork belly is a very juicy and fairly fatty part of the pork. It consists of a layer of skin, a subcutaneous layer of fat, a layer of muscle tissue with connective tissue and another layer of muscle. After cooking, the layers of skin, meat and fat give an optimal combination of crispy pieces of skin and tasty tender meat.
Bacon slices are cut from the pork belly. But you can also cook it as a large piece of meat. Pork belly is tasty when it is rubbed well with spices. The best way to cook the pork belly is to slowly roast it.
With or without rind
The pork belly is available with or without rind. Rind is the outer layer of the meat. It is, in fact, the skin of the pig.
The rind can provide a nice crispy crust. The dish must then be cooked at a high temperature. This is also called crackling. Be careful, because this process is quite a challenge. The rind must dry well, which is why it is wise to start a day in advance. You can read how to do that below.
However, you can also cook pork belly without rind. In this case, you don’t have to make indentations in the pork belly and you can simply marinate the piece with a nice rub.
Below you can see our recipe for an Oriental pork belly on the barbecue.
How to cook pork belly?
There are countless pork belly recipes. This is because you can cook it in different ways. It tastes best if you let the pork belly cook slowly.
Below is a step-by-step plan for cooking pork belly with rind. If you have pork belly without rind, you can skip the first steps.
Marinating pork belly
- To get a nice crispy piece of rind it is important to get it dry. Place the pork belly in a baking dish with the rind facing up and pat the meat dry.
- Make a diamond pattern in the rind by making notches in it with a sharp knife. Go about 0.5 to 1 cm deep into the rind, but be careful not to touch the flesh. Make sure that there is about 1 cm between the lines.
- Make a nice marinade and put it in an oven dish. Make sure that the marinade does not touch the rind. Put the dish, uncovered, in a refrigerator and leave it overnight so that the rind can dry well.
- The next morning, use kitchen paper to dab off all the moisture on the rind. Then coat it with olive oil. The oil prevents moisture from absorbing into the meat.
- Cover the rind with a thick layer of coarse sea salt. The salt ensures that moisture is extracted from the meat. Put the pork belly back in the fridge for a few hours.
- Before roasting or grilling the meat, wipe off the salt crust.
- Heat the oven to 180 °C. At this temperature you can roast the pork belly in the oven for 2 hours.
- At this point the rind is not completely crispy yet. We are going to increase the temperature a bit and give the pork belly some heat. Turn the temperature of the oven to 15 °C and leave the meat in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Prepare the barbecue for indirect grilling and raise the temperature to 150 °C.
- Place the pork belly rind-side up on the grid. If you do this the other way around, the fat can catch fire and burn the meat. Leave it on the wire rack for 2.5 hours.
- Heat the barbecue to 225 °C and leave the meat for another 20 minutes. This step is necessary to get a crispy crust.
Recipe: Oven roasted crispy pork belly
Oven roasted crispy pork belly
- 1.5 pork belly
- sea salt coarse
- 1 fennel
- 2 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 star anise
- 6 cardamom seeds
- white wine
- olive oil
- 600 ml chicken stock
- fennel seed
- 1 slice white bread
- Cut the rind of the pork belly crosswise so that a diamond pattern is visible all over the top.
- Rub a handful of coarse sea salt between the diamonds on top of the pork belly. It is important that there is a good amount of salt on the whole piece of meat. This helps to make the rind dry to get it crispy.
- Grab a roasting tin. Place it on the stove over medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil.
- Cut the fennel and shallots into medium sized pieces and place them in the roasting tin. Also add a tablespoon of fennel seeds, the bay leaves and the star anise. Cut the garlic cloves into thin slices and add them as well.
- Crush the cardamom seeds with a mortar or large knife and add them as well.
- Fruit everything equally well. This way all the flavors come out nicely.
- Place the pork belly, flesh side down, in the roasting pan. Add a good splash (about 2 glasses) of white wine to the roasting pan. So much that the bottom is completely covered. Let the alcohol boil for about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to the roasting tin. Add enough so that the pork belly is covered with the stock up to the rind. Make sure that the rind remains dry.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Bring everything to a boil on the stove. This is important because if it doesn’t cook before it goes into the oven, it will not cook in the oven either.
- When it’s all cooked, place the roasting pan at the bottom of the oven. It can stay here at 180 degrees Celsius for 2 hours.
- After the two hours have passed, your pork belly is ready. If it is not yet crispy enough, leave the roasting tray in the oven and use the grill function for about 15 minutes.
- When your pork belly is ready, remove it from the roasting pan. Then place the roasting pan back on the stove. Let the pork belly rest under aluminum foil for 10 minutes.
- The remaining liquid in the roasting pan contains a lot of fat. We remove that by pulling a white slice of bread over the liquid. The sandwich will absorb the fat and you won’t need it afterwards.
- Add a large spoonful of coarse mustard to the liquid and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring well.
- Pour the liquid into a bowl and use it as gravy for the pork belly.
- TIP: it is easiest to cut the crispy pork belly with a bread knife.
Looking for more inspiration? Below you will find an overview of our pork belly recipes. Or check our pork recipes for even more inspiration.