When I am feeling decadent (Concise Oxford Dictionary: “a luxurious self-indulgence”, I think of this image. From my years of entertaining family and friends, this is one dish that never fails to excite and satisfy – succulent, melt-in-your-mouth tasty pork belly with the crunch of crispy pork crackling! Life can’t possible be better.
1.5 – 2 kg square / rectangular cut of pork belly with rind on
2 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon white pepper, half tablespoon of Chinese five-spice powder and half tablespoon of MSG.
Chinese chilli sauce (Fu Chi brand) mixed with fresh lemon juice
1. Place pork belly rind side down in simmering hot water and boil for approximately 15 minutes. This is important for 3 reasons:
- to rid the meat of any gamey odour
- to ensure the meat will cook evenly when it is eventually roasted
- boiling rind side down makes the meat curl downwards. Therefore any excess moisture will run off the rind when roasting the meat to achieve very dry and crispy crackling.
2. Rest the meat for 15 minutes, then make incisions all over the rind with a small sharp knife. This is to draw out moisture from the meat and to allow fat to drain from the meat while roasting to ensure a dry and crispy crackling.
3. Make deep length-wise incisions on the underside of the lean meat until just beneath the fat layer. This is important for 3 reasons:
- to drain off excess moisture
- to allow seasoning to penetrate the meat
- the incisions make cutting up the meat easier after roasting.
4. Season the meat all over EXCEPT the rind as the five-spice powder will blacken the rind.
5. Dab the rind with kitchen paper to draw out any remaining moisture then sprinkle coarse cooking salt over the rind.
6. Place the seasoned meat on a drip tray so that excess moisture can be drained off and place in refrigerator uncovered for at least 6 hours or ideally 24 hours, periodically dabbing the rind to remove moisture and sprinkle more salt if necessary.
7. Place the meat rind side up in a convection oven and roast at 250 degrees Celcius for approximately 35 – 45 minutes until golden brown all over.
8. Remove the meat and let it rest for 10 minutes, then place meat rind side down and slice meat into long strips with sharp knife along the incisions.
9. Cut meat into bite size pieces and squeeze fresh lemon juice into Chinese dipping sauce.
10. Serve roast pork belly slightly warm or at room temperature.
Wine suggestion: Jacobs Creek Rose (serve chilled)
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