I can’t believe it, but it’s been one and a half years since I last made roast pork belly! Been wanting to make it but my oven has been down for a while now. Recently we got a new oven so I decided that making some roast pork belly would be a good opening ceremony for my oven!
As I mentioned in a recent post, Aw’s Market reached out to me to ask me to sample their products. They are an online platform connecting Singapore’s fresh markets to customers. They deliver groceries with the highest quality from local wet markets and even offer customisation services! That means you could request them to do the menial work for you – think deboning, fat trimming and even scaling and gutting of your fish. For more info, check them out here. They do free deliveries for orders above $50!
I’ve had a few encounters where the pork belly I got from supermarkets still had countless hairs on the skin, and in the end I waste a lot of time trying to remove the hairs one by one. More often that not, I will still miss out on some hairs, and it’s really unappetizing to see hair in my cooked pork. Since Aw’s Market offers customization services, I requested for them to remove all hairs from the pork belly and also to give me a more even slab of meat which will help the pork belly cook more evenly. And when the pork belly arrived, I was happy to find the pork belly completely hairless and even enough for my liking!
These are the key ingredients you need: pork belly, five-spice powder, pepper, light soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.
If possible, try to use pork belly with more fats! Not all pork belly are the same, some come with quite little fat actually. So try to use the fattier cuts so that your roast pork will turn out juicier and more tender.
Combine all the ingredients together and place the marinade into a container big enough to contain the pork belly. Add the pork belly, skin side up, then keep in the chiller overnight (for at least 12 hours). This step adds more flavour to the meat, and helps to dry out the skin.
If possible, try to use a container (mine is slightly too big) that almost the same size as your pork belly so that the marinade can cover the meat portion.
The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a roasting pan with aluminium foil, and add some water into the roasting pan. Place a wire rack onto the pan, and the pork belly onto the wire rack. Dab dry the skin of the pork belly with a paper towel and prick holes in the skin using any sharp metal object like a fork or metal skewer. Then spread a layer of salt over the skin. You can use coarse salt instead of fine salt if you prefer the skin to be less salty.
Roast the pork belly in the oven for around 60 minutes. The longer you roast, the more tender the roast pork will be.
Remove pork belly from the oven. At this point, the layer of salt should have turned into a hard crust. Remove the salt crust and any excess salt then place pork belly back into the oven. Switch oven to broiler mode and cook pork until the skin bubbles and becomes golden brown and crispy. This should take around 15-25 minutes, but also depends on your oven! Monitor the roast pork to make sure the skin doesn’t get burnt.
Look at that golden brown skin and juicy interior! I personally wish that the pork belly had even more fats though, because I’m a big big fan of fatty meat.
Crispy golden brown crackling and juicy interior are two key features any good roast pork should have. Roast pork is usually paired with mustard sauce, but I’m not a fan of mustard so I left it out. In fact, the pork belly is good enough to eat on its own!
[NOTE] Before you attempt this recipe, I want to point out a few important things:
I only used 500g of pork belly for this recipe, but I strongly recommend you to use at least 1kg! The roasting time will actually stay the same so you might as well make more to justify your efforts.
Slow roasting is the key to tender roast pork. Roast pork will never be as tender as braised pork since the latter is cooked in liquid for at least 1-2 hours. If you have time to spare, and you want even more tender roast pork, roast the pork belly for 1.5-2 hours (instead of 1 hour) before broiling it.
For best results, use pork belly with more fats! Fatty pork belly = juicy and tender roast pork. Also, try to use an even slab of pork belly so that the skin will brown more evenly.
Cantonese Roast Pork Belly
- 500 g pork belly
- 4 tbsp light soya sauce
- 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- salt or coarse salt if you have
- Combine all ingredients (except salt) and pour marinade into a container big enough to contain the pork belly. Place pork belly into container skin side up, and leave pork belly to marinate in fridge overnight (at least 12 hours). This step adds more flavour to the meat, and helps to dry out the skin.
- The next day, preheat oven to 180°C. Remove pork belly from fridge and pat skin dry. Prick holes in the skin using any sharp metal object like a fork or metal skewer, then spread a layer of salt over the skin. The purpose of the salt is to prevent the skin from burning while roasting and also to absorb excess moisture on the skin.
- Line a roasting pan with aluminium foil. Place pork belly on a wire rack and then place wire rack onto the roasting pan. Add some water into the roasting pan as well, so that the drippings from the pork belly will cause too much smoke. Roast the pork belly for about 60 minutes, or longer if you can afford. The longer you roast, the more tender the meat.
- Remove pork belly from oven after 60 minutes, and remove salt crust that has formed on the surface as well as any excess salt. Switch oven to broiler mode. Then, return pork belly to oven and broil until the skin is golden brown and cripsy. This should take 15-25 minutes, depending on your oven as well. Do monitor the roast pork to make sure the skin doesn’t get burnt.
- Remove roast pork from oven and cut into squares. Serve with mustard or any preferred sauce.