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How to Make the Most Delicious Crispy Chinese Five Spice Roasted Pork Belly Ever [Recipe]

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Getting deliciously crispy crackling on a pork belly and tender, juicy meat is not as difficult as it seems.  You just need a little bit of time and planning.  

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1. About the ingredients

Pork belly –  Look for a piece that has a more or less even thickness and at least 3.25 cm / 1.3″ thick, with decent layers of fat between the flesh. The shape is not as important for even cooking and crackling.  The pork belly should be dry, flat, and smooth skin. Try to avoid vacuum packed pork and wrinkled skin.  The skin is too wet in a vacuum packed piece and the crackling does not crisp inside the wrinkles.  It is your choice whether or not to score.  If you do score, make sure you don’t go so deep that you compromise the crackling due to meat juices rising up and flooding the skin. 

Chinese Five Spice  – This powder is a combination of cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, cloves and Sichuan peppercorns.  You can use a blend that can be purchased at any supermarket or make your own if you prefer.

Olive Oil – This is to make the salt stick to the skin and encourages the crackling. I use olive oil but you can use melted coconut oil or ghee.

Garlic – I prefer to use freshly crushed garlic.  A dry garlic powder works too.

Salt – This is the key ingredient for the crackling.  If you don’t sprinkle salt on the skin you’ll just be left with a tough sheet of skin and no crackling.


2. Ingredients

   2.5kg (5.5 lb) skin-on pork belly 

   1 tbsp sea salt 

   Olive Oil


Chinese Five Spice Rub:

   3 tbsp sea salt 

   3 tbsp Chinese Five Spice


3. Instructions

Pat the skin dry very well using paper towels or tea towels. If you want to score the skin now is the time to do it. 

Flip the pork over flesh side up and rub the five spice, garlic and salt over the pork meat but not on the skin. Be sure to include the sides and get right into all the cracks and crevices. Flip the pork back over and use a paper towel to brush off any spice from the pork skin. Leave the pork uncovered overnight in the fridge.  This ensures a really good crackling – wet skin will not get crispy, it will just get really hard and flat and eventually burn.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F. 

Place a wire cake rack onto a baking tray. Brush the rack with oil. Place the pork on the rack, skin side up. Level the pork so the skin is level (ie. as horizontal as possible) by propping up the pork with balls of foil beneath. This makes the skin cook evenly.  Rub a little olive oil on the skin and then the 1 tablespoon of salt over the pork skin. Ensure there is an even layer of salt across the entire surface. Roast in the oven for 3 hours. At the end of the 3 hours, remove the pork from the oven. Gently prise apart the meat on the side of the pork to ensure it comes apart without too much effort. 

Turn the heat up to 200°C/400°F. Place the pork back in the oven to roast for an hour or until the skin is super crispy. 

Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes.




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