RECIPE: Crispy Roast Pork Belly 燒肉

Roast pork is something I increasingly like to make. If you know the correct technique, it’s very easy to make; you need only a few common ingredients. When it’s ready to serve, family and friends go crazy over it. I like to keep extra meat in the freezer, and pop it into the oven whenever I feel like some homemade siu yuk (though it won’t be as good as fresh ones).

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What is a good roast pork?
A good roast pork is one with crispy skin; it should crunch when you bite but not too tough. The meat should be tender and juicy, and fats should melt in your mouth.

How to make sure skin is crispy, and meat tender?
To achieve crispy skin, you need to 1) Let the skin dry in the refrigerator while marinating, 2) poke holes on it and 3) broil the skin.

For tender and juicy meat, there should be enough fats to flesh ratio, and not overcooked. Pork is medium at 71°C and well done at 77°C . It’s good if you have a thermometer and able to reach between these temperature.

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But if you don’t, check the meat early. Slice the meat, and see if the juices is clear or with a faint pink tint. I can see this being problematic; we are told that pork should always be cooked thoroughly and hence have the tendency to overcook it. But recently, USDA agreed that pork is safe at the same internal temperature as other meat like beef  63°C. So don’t worry if the pork is slightly pink; just make sure you let is rest for 3 minutes (source: USDA)

For melt-in-the mouth instead of rubbery fats, roast at low temperature to render the solid fats into more liquid-gel-like texture.

How to choose meat?
For something that is not made without a lot of seasonings, the quality and freshness of the meat is very important. Somehow, I feel that quality of pork in most supermarket is mediocre. I prefer going to the wet market, or getting it from a pork speciality shop such as An Xin Meat Shop.

Tell your butcher that you want to make roast pork, and ask them to pick one with enough fats to flesh ratio, and the right thickness.

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This piece of meat can do with more fats

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 hours 45 minutes
Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

Pork belly x 600 g
Shaoxing wine x 2 tsp
Salt x 1 tsp 
Sugar x 1 tsp
Five spice powder x 2 pinches
White pepper x 6 dashes
Coarse salt
Rice vinegar

TOOLS
Oven
Roasting tray
Knife + chopping board
Aluminium foil
Bowl

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INSTRUCTIONS

TO MARINATE:

  1. Gather ingredients and tools.
  2. Season. Place pork flesh-side up on a chopping board. Pour and rub 2 tsp of shaoxing wine all over pork. Scatter 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 pinches of five spice powder and 6 dashes of white pepper and rub all over.
  3. Marinate. Turn over with skin facing up. Place in tray/ bowl,  and let it rest in fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

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TO ROAST:

  1. Preheat oven. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Poke skin. Using the end of a knife, prick tiny holes into the pork skin. Cover as much surface as possible. Do not go into the fat layer.roast pork 4
  3. Cover with aluminium foil. Using aluminium foil, make a container to place pork. Place skin side up.
  4. Top with vinegar and coarse sea salt. Brush vinegar over pork skin and cover with a layer of coarse sea salt.roast pork 5
  5. Bake. Bake for 1.5 hours at 1o0°C.
  6. Broil. Remove pork and place on a metal rack. Put in back into the oven to broil for 5 to 15 minutes, or until skin is crackling.
  7. Rest and slice. Let it rest for at least 3 minutes. Then slice into bite-size pieces.

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COOKING NOTES

  • When broiling, make sure that the meat is even. Otherwise, you might want to prop it up to avoid a certain parts being burned.
  • If you want it fast, you can roast the meat at 180°C for about 45 minutes.
  • If you want it to be less salty, reduce salt to 1/2 tsp (I normally do that)

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Enjoy!

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