Slow roasted pork belly

Anyone who knows me, knows my passion for all things pig. In my humble opinion, there is no greater beast. No beast that provides so many of life’s joys all Crispy bacon with some oozing eggs on a lazy Sunday morning. Slice of thin, carved ham with lashings of butter on thick toast on Christmas morning. Smoky thin layers of prosciutto with some melon and a glass of Prosecco. Crackle. As it is. BBQ’d pork chops with lemon juice and salt on an open fire pit. Slow roasted sticky Asian style ribs. And of course my beloved pork belly. Sure, this dish is a special occasion number, what with all that skin, but believe me, it’s worth it.

pork belly-5

I haven’t been cooking pork belly for all that long – I never knew what to do with it – whether it was a fast cook, or slow, covered, uncovered, how to get the best crackle….it’s all quite confusing. My blogging friend Linda passed this recipe onto me a few years ago and I made it for her and another friend when they came down to stay one time. It’s been trotted out many times since for many a guest that has sat at our dining table. It’s simple, it can be adjusted to whatever you have in your fridge and the end results will be good every single time.

Slow roasted Pork Belly
Cooking time 3 hours
Prep time 10 mins

1.5kg piece pork belly (boned and scored by your butcher)
4 apples (any variety)
6 baby beets
4 sprigs rosemary
Olive oil
Half to one bottle of white wine

1. Preheat your oven to about 220 degrees. The hotter the better!

pork belly-6

2. Peel and roughly quarter the 4 apples placing them at the bottom of your roasting pan.

pork belly-7 pork belly-11

3. Peel the baby beets and place them in amongst the apples. Quarter them if they are big or leave whole if smaller. Place the sprigs of rosemary on top of that.

4. This forms a trivet for the pork belly to sit on while roasting. You can add rhubarb in here, or some fennel, or change the herbs up to oregano – it’s up to you to what you have in season or in your fridge.

pork belly-13

5. Make sure that your pork belly has been scored well by your butcher. If you have purchased the meat from a supermarket an easy trick for scoring is to use a stanley knife. The thin blade is perfect for cutting that skin and will ensure that you have perfect crackle at the end of it. I massage in a little olive oil, some pepper and PLENTY of salt. Lots of salt.   When you think that you are done, that it couldn’t possibly take any more, add some more. It’s the key for good crackle – trust me!

6. Place the seasoned meat on top of the apples, beets and herbs and pour in half a bottle of white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Whack it into that hot, hot oven for 20 mins. The intense heat at the start will make sure that the crackling gets a good head start. Once it’s been up high for 20 mins, turn the oven down to 150 degrees and let it cook on this lower heat for the remaining 2 hours 40 minutes. The slower, lower cooking should render most of the fat from the meat and you’ll be left with delicious soft meat with a glassy, crackling top.

This is what the meat looks like after 20 mins and before you cover and lower the temperature.

pork belly-14

7. Keep an eye on the top of the meat while it’s cooking. If it starts to look a little too dark you can loosely cover it with foil to make sure it doesn’t burn. Same goes at the end of the cooking time – if the crackling still seems a little spongy and not crackly (very technical I know, but it goes by touch) you can whack up the heat or even turn it to the grill to give it a final blast.

pork belly-16

8. Let the meat rest for 10 mins or so and then carve into individual pieces. Take the apples and beets out and add some chicken stock to the pan juices to make a quick sauce. Cook on the stove top for 5 mins and transfer into a pouring jug for the table.

I serve on mashed potato, some wilted greens and of course those apples and beets on the side and a drizzle of the pan juices.

pork belly-20

DEAD SET.

Do you love pork belly too?

Slow roasted pork belly

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg pork belly (Well scored)
  • 4 Medium apples ((any variety))
  • 6 Medium baby beets (peeled and quartered)
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to about 220 degrees. The hotter the better!
Step 2
Peel and roughly quarter the 4 apples placing them at the bottom of your roasting pan.
Step 3
Peel the baby beets and place them in amongst the apples. Quarter them if they are big or leave whole if smaller. Place the sprigs of rosemary on top of that.
Step 4
This forms a trivet for the pork belly to sit on while roasting. You can add rhubarb in here, or some fennel, or change the herbs up to oregano - it’s up to you to what you have in season or in your fridge.
Step 5
Make sure that your pork belly has been scored well by your butcher. If you have purchased the meat from a supermarket an easy trick for scoring is to use a stanley knife. The thin blade is perfect for cutting that skin and will ensure that you have perfect crackle at the end of it. I massage in a little olive oil, some pepper and PLENTY of salt. Lots of salt. When you think that you are done, that it couldn’t possibly take any more, add some more. It’s the key for good crackle - trust me!
Step 6
Place the seasoned meat on top of the apples, beets and herbs and pour in half a bottle of white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Whack it into that hot, hot oven for 20 mins. The intense heat at the start will make sure that the crackling gets a good head start. Once it’s been up high for 20 mins, turn the oven down to 150 degrees and let it cook on this lower heat for the remaining 2 hours 40 minutes. The slower, lower cooking should render most of the fat from the meat and you’ll be left with delicious soft meat with a glassy, crackling top.
Step 7
Keep an eye on the top of the meat while it’s cooking. If it starts to look a little too dark you can loosely cover it with foil to make sure it doesn’t burn. Same goes at the end of the cooking time - if the crackling still seems a little spongy and not crackly (very technical I know, but it goes by touch) you can whack up the heat or even turn it to the grill to give it a final blast.
Step 8
Let the meat rest for 10 mins or so and then carve into individual pieces. Take the apples and beets out and add some chicken stock to the pan juices to make a quick sauce. Cook on the stove top for 5 mins and transfer into a pouring jug for the table.
Step 9
I serve on mashed potato, some wilted greens and of course those apples and beets on the side and a drizzle of the pan juices.

Comments

  1. katie clews says

    Yummo!! thanks for recipe Beth, have pinned it 🙂

  2. Cooked pork belly on Monday in our new woodfired pizza oven. We now have the largest and most expensive but SHOW PONYISH slow cooker known to man. If we cook pizzas one night (and we have to get the wood oven very hot for pizzas) there is enough residual heat in the oven the next day to slow roast meat, and on Monday morning before I did the school drop off, I put in two pieces of pork belly in an Asian inspired spice rub (think Chinese five spice, etc). It is a set and forget thing and just before serving, I peeled the very soggy and sorry looking skin off to put under the very hot grill in the kitchen to turn it in to perfect crackle. So good. You should pop around one night!

  3. I am so making this next week for vistitors. I also have a love affair with all things pig – unfortunately my husband needs convincing on certain recipes. If this doesn’t convert him I will cry.

  4. This sounds like a winner, Beth! I love all things pork too. 🙂

  5. Get in my belly!
    I have the worlds smallest oven and so rarely do roasts because I can’t fit a roasting pan in there!

  6. You had me at the title. I love dead pig. PORK BELLY – YUM.

  7. If there’s anything better than well cooked pig fat, I’m yet to taste it! Delicious looking recipe Beth – off to pin it! xx

  8. looks ab/fab beth!
    my daughter is always telling me to put some pork on my fork!
    because we don’t have it much!
    love the crackling! I saw a chef pouring boiling water over the skin before it went in then he dried it I think! yours looks amazing enough! love m:)X

    • I’ve seen that trick done a few times too – never tried it myself! Pork can be a delicious lean meat (obviously not with all this skin though!!!)

  9. Mmmm I can still taste it. Xxx

  10. Gah!!! Now I have to wait til the next school holidays to try this! No fresh meat available in our small town and definitely no frozen pork belly! Droooòol. Thanks for sharing Beth.

  11. This is on tonight’s menu!:)
    Yum & thank you

  12. I have just cooked and eaten this meal and it was fantastic!
    I put the pork on while I was at work (slow cooker method) and then finished it off in the oven while I did the rice and stir fry. I struggled to find dried chili so I used a small amount of cayenne pepper and it worked well. I would recommend this meal and I will cook it again.

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