Pork belly is much more flavorful than a traditional pork roast, with a hint of the smokiness of bacon.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: pork belly
1/2teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with one oven rack in the middle and another about 6 inches under the broiler, if it's on top of your oven. Prepare the pork belly by scoring the skin with a very sharp blade. (I used this inexpensive utility cutter and it worked perfectly.) You want to cut lines through the skin, about half an inch apart all the way across the pork belly, without cutting too much of the fat and exposing the meat. There should be stripes across the whole belly where you have scored the skin. Place the scored pork belly on a large baking sheet or roasting pan, preferably with a wire rack underneath the pork.
Drizzle the pork with oil and rub it all over both sides of the meat. Sprinkle the pork belly all over with salt, taking care to generously rub it into the slits you've made on the skin. Sprinkle with pepper. Place the pork on the middle oven rack and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and roast an additional 25 minutes per pound. For a 2 1/2 pound roast this is approximately an hour more. Test the roast by poking a skewer into it and seeing if the juices are clear or still milky white.
Increase the heat to broil and move the roast to the oven shelf under the broiler. Set a timer and broil the roast for 60 seconds, check it and broil an additional 30 seconds, but only as needed! When all of the skin has bubbled up and is puffy, crackling, and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
First, look for pork belly that is relatively even in thickness and size. The best pork belly I made was the same thickness across and a fairly uniform rectangle. While a perfectly even cut isn't always possible, the crackling was much more easy to achieve on the uniform pieces. Second, use plenty of salt! Use far more than you think you need. If you do not use enough salt, the skin will remain chewy and it will not be very tasty at all. The fat layer under the skin will react with the salt causing it to puff up and become the crunchy crackling that tastes so good!