We often get asked by our customers for tips on how to cook the perfect crispy pork belly with crackling. Shirley, our resident home cooking expert is renowned for her delicious crispy pork belly, so we asked her for some advice. Here's her guide for making the perfect crispy pork belly.
The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven. Set it to gas mark 8 / 220C / 200C fan. Next take your pork belly, dry the rind with kitchen towel, salt the rind with sea salt and rub the salt in to the rind with your hands. If the rind on your pork belly isn't scored, then you're going to need to score it. Take a sharp knife and cut parallel lines in the rind about every 5mm. Don't cut too deep, you don't want to pierce the actual meat, only the rind and the fat.
Place the pork belly in a baking dish, with the rind facing upwards, and put it into the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the rind begins to bubble. This initial blast in a super hot oven shocks the rind and really helps make your crackling super crispy. After 10-15 minutes, reduce the oven to gas mark 1 / 140C / 120C fan and cook for 60-90 minutes or until the meat turns white. Crank the oven back up to gas mark 8 / 220C / 200C fan for another 5 minutes before you remove the pork belly from the oven. Again, the blast of heat will help ensure that super crispy crackling.
Let It Rest
Take your pork belly out the oven and place it on a cool plate and leave the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the meat to relax, but the change in temperature created by the cool plate will also help the crackling to crisp up. I'm sure there's some science to it, and if anyone wants to enlighten me, feel free to leave us a comment below.