The Best Crispy Pork Belly Recipe

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Crispy Pork Belly RecipeWe’ve all had poorly cooked pork belly at some point in our lives; they’re often chewy and downright unpleasant, which proves that technique is everything. Luckily, we were able to get our hands on the Momofuku pork belly recipe card, one of David Chang’s masterful dishes which he so kindly shared. In this article, we share all you need to know about how you can make this surprisingly simple yet flavorful crispy pork belly recipe.  

What is Crispy Pork Belly? 

Traditionally, pork belly is served during the Chinese New Year as a sign of prosperity — crispy pork belly comes with a golden, crispy crackling that crumbles as you bite into it. To foodies, it delivers an experience of pure bliss because pork belly is rich in soft and juicy fat layers which is why it’s popular all over the world. This uncured portion of the pig will often be sold in bigger slabs which means preparing it will be much more different compared to thick-cut bacon.   

How to Get Crispy Skin on Pork Belly 

In our humble opinion, this is the best pork belly recipe you can get your hands on — it has signature bubbles all around which just elevates your meal. These pork belly pieces will be crumbly and crispy in a way that can’t be achieved with a regular pork roast. This is why crispy pork belly is so popular, and why people would line up at Chinese restaurants and meat shops when this cut of meat is served.

When you want to perfectly cook your skin on pork belly, just follow the tips below. 

Prick Holes into the Skin    

Doing this will ensure that your crispy pork belly will have crackling skin — this is what makes a huge difference, and will yield the gorgeous, bubbly crackling that makes this easy recipe so unique. There are many things you can use to complete this step, and some people will recommend using the following: 

  • Ice pick
  • Metal skewers
  • Meat tenderiser
  • Thick wooden skewer

Be sure to poke as many holes as possible in your pork skin, but try not to poke a hole too deep since this may puncture your meat. Luckily, there’s an alternative to this part if you find it hard to do, which we explain below. 

Non-Pricking Method 

If you don’t have any of the tools specified above or you’re finding it difficult to prick the skin, there’s another way for you to achieve the heavenly taste of crispy pork belly. This technique is foolproof and will help you skip having to prick the skin while keeping your crackling extremely crispy. However, there is one drawback; it won’t come with the puffy bubbles that Chinese crispy pork belly is famous for. 

All you need to do is place salt throughout the surface of the pork belly’s skin and leave it while it cooks in the oven for the first 60 minutes of cooking time. Once the salt forms a crust, you can remove it from the pork and continue cooking until it gets a golden brown finish. When you break this kind of crackling, it will cleanly snap instead of crumbling partially, which is how puffy crackling reacts. 

Using Rock Salt 

When using salt, be sure to use either kosher salt or rock salt rather than table salt; doing this will draw the moisture of the meat to the surface which guarantees crispy crackling every time. This technique works whether you prick your belly or not. Using rock salt will make it easier to remove, and won’t penetrate the holes while you’re cooking, so your belly won’t get too salty. 

First, you’ll roast your pork belly with a salt crust, which will be removed after cooking partially. During this stage, your belly will look unappealing and will have a rubbery texture, but you can quickly transform this ugly piggy by cooking it inside the grill or broiler for another 25 minutes. Then you can watch in awe as your pork belly puffs up and crackle while getting very crispy. 

Making Your Pork Belly Marinade

Before throwing your pork into your oven, you need to create a special marinade that will infuse classic Chinese flavors into your meat. Be sure to get your hands on some cooking wine (you can also use Mirin or dry sherry), 5-spice mix (this usually includes onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper), white pepper, and salt. While there are recipes available that won’t use any kind of marinade, we believe that making your own is worth it, or you may end up with pork flesh that lacks any kind of Chinese flavor

Crispy Pork Belly Recipe 

With just a little work, you can turn a simple and humble pork belly into the life of the party or any other celebration you want to throw — just follow the easy steps below for tender meat and crackling skin!    

Ingredients

  • 1.6 lb to 2.4 lb pork belly with skin on 
  • 1 ½ tbsp Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder 
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200 g rock salt 

Preparation

  1. Using your ice pick, a metal skewer, or a different tool, start pricking lots of holes into the pork skin. Try to avoid piercing the fat as much as possible, and make sure that you don’t punch holes into the flesh. 
  2. Turn your pork belly upside down and start rubbing the flesh using your cooking wine by slowly dribbling it on. Sprinkle your five-spice powder, pepper, and salt then rub it all over the pork’s flesh, including the sides but not the skin. 
  3. Turn it back up to the skin side and place it inside a container then use a paper towel to dab the skin dry. 
  4. Refrigerate your pork belly uncovered for 12 hours (maximum 24 hrs, minimum 3 hrs).  

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C° or 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove your pork from the fridge and place it onto an aluminum foil. Fold up all the sides of your foil around your pork and enclose it tightly. Make sure to leave your pork skin uncovered to make room for the salt. 
  3. Transfer your pork to a baking tray and dab the skin with a paper towel.
  4. Brush the skin using your vinegar.
  5. Spread some rock salt over the skin of your pork belly — having the edges of the foil will keep the salt from falling to the sides.
  6. Roast your pork belly for a full 60 minutes on medium low heat.
  7. Remove your pork from the oven and transfer it over to a work surface.
  8. Switch over to the grill or broiler on medium-high heat and move the shelf so that it’s closer to the heat source.
  9. Remove the foil and scrape off the salt from your pork belly then return your pork into the baking tray.
  10. Cook for another 25 minutes in your grill and rotate your tray once then wait until your skin is crispy, puffed, and golden.  

Remove your pork and transfer it to a cutting board then slice your pork belly into 1 – 1.5cm slices, or you can slice thicker depending on your preference. Be sure to use a sharp knife to get an even thickness. Serve them with some yellow mustard and some fresh vegetables to make a meal out of it! 

How to Use Pork Belly Slices 

There are many ways to use your scrumptious pork belly slices; it’s best to cut them into smaller pieces since these can be rich! If you want to incorporate these delicious pork slices into your meals, here are a few ways to use them:

  • Pork belly tacos
  • Pork belly ramen
  • Paired with green salad
  • Pork belly sandwiches 

Conclusion 

Now that you have the best pork belly, there’s no need to look for new recipes — alternatively, you can also use skinless pork belly that you can cook inside an air fryer for a healthier cooking process. Because the recipe we’ve shared here will deliver perfectly cooked pork belly every single time, it will retain the same taste even when you eat leftovers the next day.

 

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