Yep. I made that.
Roasting this thing quite easily makes the the list as one of the proudest moments of my life. Pulling it out of the oven with the crackling all puffy and crisp... no essay could make me feel that way. It's moments like this in the kitchen that make me feel like a million bucks. Ok, so there was one spot which didn't go ultra crispy. As a first effort though? Not bloody bad at all. Everyone said it was the best pork they had ever had.
Everything said and done it was a actually really easy to put together. Score the skin, marinate the meat, and throw it in the oven. The only issue I had was that all the websites advised leaving it uncovered out of the fridge for atleast 8 hours to dry out the skin so the crackling would be really crispy. I dunno...to me that seemed like a recipe for salmonella, but I did it (for 4 hours) anyway and it was fine. I don't know how much of a difference it made, but the skin turned out really great so I'm not going to complain. Anyways, here's the recipe for yourself. Please give it a try. Pulling this out of the oven while your friends oooh and aaahh is one of the most satisfying feelings you will ever experience.
Crispy Pork Belly
- 1.5 kg pork belly slab (make sure you have it with the skin on)
- 1 inch ginger, grated finely
- 2 big tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- A drizzle of sweet chilli sauce
-1 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
+ If it hasn't been scored already, score the skin of your pork belly. You're going to need a VERY sharp knife (I ended up using one of the razors from my dissection kit) to do this. score thin strips across the whole skin, cutting just until the top layer of fat is exposed when you separate the cuts. This will let the fat blip up and crisp up the skin. The more score marks, the better.
+ Flip the slab over. Mix the ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli, brown sugar and sesame oil together for the marinade. Score the meat as well, to allow the marinade to really flavour it. Massage the marinade into the meat. When you're done, season the meat with salt and pepper.
+ Flip the slab over again, so the skin is facing up. Wipe off any marinade that got onto the skin then pat it very very dry with some paper towels. Rube some salt into the skin. Leave the meat in a baking dish to marinate, UNCOVERED for atleast 4 hours.
+When you're ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 220'C. Place the meat onto a roasting rack skin side up and pat it dry again. Rub somemore salt onto the skin (and some chilli flakes if you'd be so inclined ;p ) Place the rack in a foil lined tray (VERY IMPORTANT, cleanup will be soo much easier later) and place it all onto the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes. The skin will start to turn nice and golden brown, and may even bubble around the edges. After 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 180'C and roast for 1 hour.
+ If after an hour the crackling isn't puffy and beautiful, (mine wasn't), turn the heat up to 220'C and place the tray on the top rack of the oven. Grill for a further 30 minutes. You should be able to hear the skin popping and puffing up. A bit like popcorn, actually.
+ And now you're done! Let the meat rest under a sheet of foil for atleast 30 minutes, or until you're ready to dish up. Hack into chunks and dig in.