Making this Easy Roast Pork with Perfect Crackling has been on my to-do list for the longest time. Ever since I set my eyes on the recipe, I’ve been dying to try it out. Notice the word “Easy” incorporated in the title, I’ll explain why in a bit.
Traditionally, making roast pork involves marinating the meat and poking lots of tiny holes in the skin with metal skewer. Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to go through the whole process, which is weird as I’ve subjected myself to making more elaborated dishes before. This unconventional way of roasting pork in milk (apparently it brings out the natural sweetness of the meat) and wine with zero poking involved was something I’ve not come across. Truth be told, I was super skeptical yet intrigued to see the end result.
This was my tiny piece of pork belly I bought (last month) to experiment with and 2 hours later, I was beaming from ear to ear.
Upon examination, I zoomed straight into the skin. It has a deep golden brown hue and the surface was puffed up evenly. The texture felt superbly crispy. Next, I examined the meat and it was glistening with bits of char and juiciness. Yay!
To date, I’ve made 3 batches of roast pork using this recipe and I’m happy to report my taste-testers gave double thumbs-up for every batch. When I told them how easy it was, everyone agreed in unison they should try to make some too.
A couple points to note: 1) the primary seasoning used to flavor the pork is sea salt. Notice I did not put any specific measurement for the salt as it depends on the size of your pork. Simply sprinkle and rub the sea salt on the skin until you see a visible layer. The salt will simply melt into the skin and meat giving it the necessary flavor.
2) The appropriate cut of meat to use is definitely pork belly. In order to ensure even crispiness on the skin, look for one with an even amount of fat.
During the roasting process, most of the fats would melt and disintegrate into meat, leaving you with a juicy, succulent piece of meaty goodness.
1 slab pork belly (mine is about 300 g)
1 whole garlic – slice ¼ off the top
½ cup (120 ml) white wine (I’m using a blend of sauvignon blanc + chardonnay)
½ cup milk
Five spice powder
Serves 2 – 3
Recipe source: The Hungry Excavator
Dab the pork belly as dry as you can with kitchen paper towels and refrigerate (uncovered) for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
When you are ready to roast the pork belly, take it out from the fridge.
Pre-heat oven to 130°C/270°F.
Dab the skin again with paper towel one last time. Score the skin with a sharp knife (not too deep), about 1 cm apart. This will make the cutting job easier but totally optional.
Rub salt all over the skin (based on the size of my meat, I used about 2 tsp) until you see a visible layer. If you are using the optional ingredients – sprinkle with fennel seeds on the skin or rub the five spice powder all over the bottom of the pork belly.
Place the garlic in a roasting dish and pour in the milk and wine.
Set the pork on top of the garlic, making sure the skin does not come in contact with the liquid. The belly flesh, however, would be immersed / in contact with the liquid at this point.
Put in the pre-heated oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil, making sure it does not touch the skin (this is accomplished by using a deep roasting pan that is higher than the meat) and cook for 2 hours.
When it is done, remove the foil cover.
Crank up the oven temperature to 240°C and bake for a further 15 mins or until the skin develops a nice crackling and nicely brown.
Let the meat rest for at least 15 mins before cutting.
You could roast the meat a few hours ahead of time and cut it before serving. It’ll still stay crisp and juicy.