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Roasted Pork Belly 

May 22, 2009 | posted by AKW Jay

Our second recipe is one I love and never tire of making, roasted pork belly crispy skin style. Cooking a pork belly is easy, forgiving and satisfying. Just about everyone loves bacon, but most don’t realize it comes from the belly. Many recipes for pork belly also call the cut fresh bacon, for its more approachable associations. Whatever you decide to call it, one thing is guaranteed, it delicious anyway you make it. The belly’s high fat content keeps it moist and tender during the cooking process, making it hard to overcook. You can roast, braise and steam this almost perfect cut and almost never screw it up.

pork1Roasted Pork Belly

1 Pork Belly – 2-2.5lbs
Salt – Kosher
Black Pepper – Fresh ground

Prepare the pork belly: Preheat your oven to 425°. Dry the belly throughly with paper towel, this will help crisp the skin. Score the belly with a sharp knife in a diagonal pattern about 1/2″ apart. Scoring the belly allows seasoning to penetrate the meat and helps to keep the skin flat when roasting. Season the bellies aggressively, to taste, with salt and pepper. Rub the salt and pepper into the scores, making sure no areas are missed.

Roasting: Roast the belly on a wire rack over a sheet tray, so it doesn’t sit in it’s own fat when roasting. Make sure to place the belly fat side up, so its fully exposed to the heat of the oven. You can also place the belly on a bed of cut vegetables, like onions, celery and carrots when roasting to keep the pork off the bottom of the pan. Start the pork at 425° for 45 minutes uncovered, then reduce the oven to 350° and roast for 2 hours. Starting at a high temperature will give a jump start to the crisping process, lowering the oven assures the pork won’t over brown.

Note: Some bellies are fattier than others. To keep a smoke free kitchen, check the belly after 30-40 minutes and pour off the excess fat from the pan. Feel free to do this as many times as needed.

pork2Out of the oven: Remove the pork from the oven once crispy and tender. Most importantly, let the beautifully goldened brown pork belly rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Once rested slice thickly and enjoy!

Chili Garlic Rub
Here’s a quick and easy rub to put on the pork belly before roasting to add even more flavor.

5-6 Dried Cascabel Chiles – A mild, slightly sweet dried chile
5-6 Fresh Garlic Cloves – Peeled
1tsb Black Pepper – Fresh ground
2tsp Salt – Kosher
Zest of 1 Lemon

Make the Rub: Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Pulse the ingredients until a thick paste is formed. Rub the paste on the raw pork belly before roasting.

Roasting: Follow instructions as posted above.

tacosOaxacan Style Roasted Pork Belly Tacos
A great taco made from a few simple ingredients and fresh roasted pork belly.

Roasted Pork Belly – Sliced or pulled
1 Wedge of Orange – Any type
Radish – Thinly sliced
Red Onion – Finely diced
Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Corn Tortillas

Warm the tortilla: Wrap a stack of corn tortillas (15-20) in foil and bake at 300° for 5-6 minutes, just until warm.

Make the tacos: Place a few strips of pork belly in a tortilla and garnish with a bit of radish, red onion, cilantro and a twist of orange.

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5 Responses to “Roasted Pork Belly”

  1. Dawn Needham says:

    What’s a local source for pork belly?

    • admin says:

      Sparrow Market in Kerrytown is a great place to start. He can get Michigan Berkshire pork bellies at a great price and will cut you a piece however large you like. Enjoy the recipe!

  2. sarah says:

    I picked up a pork belly at the farmers market (I’m in Atlanta), cut a small piece of it to make a trial run tonight before cooking the rest. Point one: it really smoked up the house, just like when I make roast duck. Point two: I DON’T CARE!! I ended up overcooking it because it was a smaller piece and it didn’t matter…ate it with my fingers and wished I had done the whole thing (which would probably NOT have been good for me…but I DON’T CARE!!). Seasoned with just salt and pepper, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this…but…it was better than bacon!!!
    THANKS for the recipe/instructions!!!

    • AKW Jay says:

      Hi Sarah!

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for the feedback!

      A quick note on the smoke. If you find you have particularity fatty bellies that are releasing a lot of fat during the roasting process, you can drain the fat from the pan to alleviate smokey kitchen syndrome.

      Thanks again!


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