MAKES: 8 servings
PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes + marinating
Salting is the best way to create perfectly crispy pork belly, because it draws moisture from the skin and helps it become crisp. (Just don’t use fine salt, or the result will be too salty.) Serve warm with Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce and cooked greens.
2.65 pounds (1.2 kg) boneless pork belly
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing)
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut aminos
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or coconut vinegar
1 cup (250 g/8.8 oz) coarse sea salt, or enough to cover the skin
Rinse and pat dry the pork belly. Using a skewer, prick the skin, creating many tiny holes all over it, or you can use a meat tenderizer specifically for this purpose. The more tiny holes you create, the puffier the skin will get. Do not pierce the skin all the way to the fat or meat layer. If you skip this step, the skin will still be crispy but it won’t be puffy.
Mix the Chinese five spice, salt, and pepper. Rub it into the flesh—but not the skin. Place the garlic, rice wine, and coconut aminos in a container that will fit in the fridge. Place the pork belly in the container, skin-side up. Rub the marinade on the sides—but not the skin. Place in the fridge and marinate uncovered for 8 to 24 hours.
Remove the marinated pork belly from the fridge and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4). Discard the marinade. Place the pork belly skin-side up on a large piece of foil and fold all four sides up around the pork belly until it is snug, creating a tight rim around it. Brush the skin with the vinegar and spread the coarse salt on top—not the sides. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes (if the cut is thick or bone is attached).
Remove the tray from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and switch to broil at 440°F (225°C). Remove the salt crust and brush any excess salt off the top of the pork. Discard the foil and juices, and place the pork belly on a rack inside a baking tray. Move the oven rack to the lowest position and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is puffy and golden brown. When done, remove the tray from the oven and let the pork rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with mustard or BBQ sauce and crispy greens or flavored cauli-rice. Crisped-up pork belly is best served fresh. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, but it will lose its crispiness.
NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:
Total carbs: 1 g / Fiber: 0.1 g / Net carbs: 0.9 g / Protein: 14 g / Fat: 45 g / Energy: 447 kcal
Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (1%), protein (12%), fat (87%)