After many years of trying different recipes, using different oven temperatures, all failing to produce the crackling that I crave for, crispy and crunchy I have finally found a method that makes the perfect crackling. Each bite of the crackling is amazing, I love the sound it makes. And the meat, super moist, super tender, perfect.
I am sharing with you today the only way I will ever bake pork belly for the rest of my life, because it works.
I didn't add any herbs this time, as I forgot, but that is the only thing I would play with in the future. I may add some sage leaves or thyme next time, but it is not crucial to the recipe.
If you want to roast potatoes with the pork belly do it in a separate baking dish, as I found the potatoes burnt too much when I placed them under the grill with the pork. When you take the pork out of the oven to rest, increase the oven temperature if the potatoes aren't quite ready and need more cooking.
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled, leave the skins on
12 sage leaves or 2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1.5kg pork belly, on the bone
Salt and pepper
Get your butcher to score the skin of the pork belly if it isn't already as they have far sharper knives than we do and do it with ease.
Take the pork out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before baking, leave it uncovered on the kitchen bench so the skin dries out a bit, pat dry with a paper towel if there is any moisture on the skin.
Preheat your oven to 180C.
Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the base of your baking dish.
The onions and garlic are used to provide a base for your pork to sit on. So arrange the onion discs and garlic in the centre of your baking dish, so it is the size of your pork belly. Place the sage or thyme down around the onion and garlic, if using.
Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Place the pork belly skin side up on top of the onion and garlic. Drizzle 1 tablespoons of oil on top of the pork skin, rub it in all over the skin.
Turn your oven off, and put it on the grill setting now. This step needs to be watched carefully as if you don't watch it carefully it can go from crispy skin to burnt skin in no time. Grill for about 10-15 minutes or until the skin is blistering and perfectly cooked.
Take the meat out of the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
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