Crispy pork belly has popped up on restaurant menus everywhere—but don’t wait for a night out to try some. Make this easy dish at home and you’ll get flavorful and tender pork topped with a succulent crackling layer that bastes the meat as it roasts.

What Is Pork Belly?

As the name suggests, pork belly comes from a pig’s belly where there’s a thick layer of fat between the meat and skin. The same cut of pork, with the skin removed, is used to make bacon. When roasted slowly, pork belly meat becomes incredibly tender while the skin crisps and browns into cracklings. It’s a favorite dish in Latin American, Asian and other global cuisines.

Our recipe infuses the meat with soy sauce, rice wine, garlic and five-spice powder. Serve sliced pork belly with rice or homemade ramen, or with traditional Japanese recipes such as miso soup. Roasted potatoes and steamed or stir-fried veggies are also good side dishes to pair with pork belly. It’s also a tasty way to upgrade instant ramen noodles.

How to Make Super Crispy Pork Belly

This recipe makes 12 servings. Allow time for the meat to marinate for 8 hours or overnight.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-1/2 pounds pork belly with skin on

Directions

Step 1: Marinate the meat

Whisk together the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl until blended. Pour this marinade into a shallow dish big enough to hold the meat. Add the pork belly to the marinade, turning it a few times to coat it. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, then refrigerate the pork belly for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2: Prepare the pork belly

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Drain the pork belly and discard the marinade. Place the pork belly on a rack set into a shallow roasting pan, with the skin side facing up. Score the surface of the pork belly with a sharp knife, making 1/4-inch-deep horizontal cuts through the skin.

Step 3: Roast

Place the pan in the oven and bake the pork belly for 50-60 minutes. The internal temperature should be a minimum 145° when tested with a digital thermometer, and the meat should be fork tender.

Step 4: Crisp the skin

Increase oven temperature to 425°. Roast the pork belly for another 10-15 minutes until the skin on top becomes very crispy.

Step 5: Serve

Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice it into pieces and serve while warm.

Tips for Making Crispy Pork Belly

Does the skin have to be on when cooking?

While the pork belly can be prepared without the skin, the benefit of leaving the skin on is that it becomes very crispy and tasty after roasting—the crackling. The roasted skin also gives the meat lots of savory flavor that you just can’t get in a pork belly roasted without it.

The skin can also be removed, sliced and roasted separately to make the crispy treat known as chicharrones.

What if I don’t have Chinese cooking wine?

Look for bottles of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine in Asian markets or the international section of grocery stores. If Shaoxing isn’t available, you can substitute Japanese rice wine or dry sherry. Mirin is also a good substitute; it’s sweeter than Shaoxing but still delicious in the marinade.

How do I get good crackling on my pork belly?

As the pork belly roasts the fat renders out and allows the skin to turn into crispy crackling. The oil in the marinade helps achieve this and you can even brush a little extra oil on the surface before roasting. Evenly scoring the skin helps too by making it easier for heat to reach and melt the fat layer. Finally, make sure the surface of the pork belly is as level as possible on the rack so that the skin roasts consistently.

How do I reheat pork belly to keep it crispy?

Place the pork belly in a baking dish with a little bit of liquid and cover the dish with foil. Warm it through in a 400° oven; after about 15 minutes, remove the foil and switch the oven to broil. Let the top of the pork belly broil for just a minute or two until it’s crisped up. (Be careful not to burn it.)

The post How to Make Crispy Pork Belly appeared first on Taste of Home.

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