I, and most other chefs out there, have a secret weapon….it’s called pork belly.
It’s something we make and you probably don’t, and it’s something that gets rave reviews every time we make it, impressing diners that don’t realize that a trained monkey could crank out a pretty decent roasted pork belly - it’s just that hard to screw up!
It’s the fat that intimidates most home cooks, and there is a lot of fat on a raw pork belly, but the truth is that most of it will render off in the roasting process (bathing the meat to succulence as it does) and since the fat is so subdivided from the meat into layers (think bacon) even though you may get a fair amount of fat on your plate, you don’t have to eat it all and you’re just as well just concentrating on that fork-tender meat that lies between those layers of fat.
Give it a try. I promise you won’t regret it. There is no roast that’s easier to make to perfection and this is so forgiving that you can overcook it by an hour and it will still taste fantastic!
Roasted Pork Belly Recipe
Actually, you’d hardly call this a recipe, it’s so easy…
- Get some pork belly – doesn’t matter how much, just get enough to feed the people at your table and preferably, some for another meal or two after that. For the main event, figure a pound per person (raw weight) for regular appetites, and a pound and a half for super sized hungers.
- Since you probably had to get this from a butcher (few supermarkets carry slabs of pork belly these days…) make sure he or she has removed the skin.
- About 3 and half hours before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350f
- Sprinkle salt and a generous quantity of freshly cracked pepper over both sides of your slab of pork belly and transfer it to a roasting dish. (if you’re using a baking pan, make sure to use one with generous sides, as quite a bit of fat will render out – enough to put anyone’s self-cleaning oven to a serious test…
- Once the oven is hot, pop that belly uncovered in the oven and let it roast slowly for about 3 to 3 and a 1/2 hours. After 3 hours, much of the fat should have rendered off, it should be an appetizing golden brown and it should be very very tender – no knife required for this dinner. If it still feels a little firm, give it another half an hour and check again.
Enjoy with sides you’d pick for any other roasted pork dinner.
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BRAD on December 08, 2017:
I found that the temp was too high it cooked to a super hard brick in an hour and a half in a gas oven.
Ivan on January 19, 2017:
Cheapskatemate, there would be no crackling on this as the recipe says to remove the skin.
Pete on January 11, 2017:
Preheat? to what temperature?? Picture looks great but I noticed that some recipes leave critical details out. Thanks
Miranda on September 08, 2015:
Lisa, I think you are misreading that step, he is saying it will take 3 1/2 hours to cook so preheat when you are ready to dive into that lengthy cook time.
Lisa on October 21, 2014:
Why do you have to preheat oven for so long. 3 1/2 hours?
John D Lee (author) on September 12, 2010:
Have you tried doing the crackling separately?
cheapskatemate from London on September 10, 2010:
That picture is awesome!
How does the crackling turn out with this recipe? I have been experimenting with different ways to make the crackling nice and crunchy, but not too hard. Unfortunately I have yet to find a solution that works every time.