Enjoy this beautifully marinated pork belly with delicious flavours like honey, cinnamon, and chillies popping through.
Why cook with pork belly?
Pork belly is considered a far superior cut than bacon by chefs. The pork belly has juicy fat layers wrapped around the meat. Thus, even though there isn’t a lot of meat, once cooked, it becomes deliciously tender. Another great thing about this cut is that it is relatively cheap when compared to other cuts.
Crispy on the outside, tender in the middle
The trick to cooking pork belly to perfection is to combine gentle heat to tenderise the mean and then short, high-temperature blasts for that crispy skin. And in order to get that desired crisp on the skin, it is important to remember to pat the meat dry before cooking.
We know that this doesn’t seem to make sense, especially after marinating the meat for so many hours. But this is when you trust the process. When the meat is dry on the outside, it will trap all the moisture inside. If any moisture is left on the outside, the surface will not be able to get crispy. The same patting method is also used whenever a recipe calls you to “braise” the meat.
After the pork has been patted dried, rub the skin with ground salt. The salt will react with the fat and this caused the crackling to puff up and become crisp.
- 1 kg pork belly
- 2 cm piece of ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 to 2 red chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 5 ml fine cinnamon
- 5 ml cajun spice
- 125 ml honey
- 125 ml soy sauce
- 30 ml brown sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- Mix all the marinade ingredients. Place the pork belly in a dish and pour over the marinade. Set aside in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Cooking in convection oven:
- When you are ready to cook, remove the pork belly from the marinade, pat dry with a paper towel then rub the fat side with freshly ground salt. Crackling is all about skin and fat. The meat underneath is a question of taste. Pork belly is the safest choice, as the meat is marbled with fat and is harder to overcook.
- Place the pork on the wire rack in the convection oven. Try to get the pork as close to the heating cells of the oven as possible. Turn the oven to 220 degrees C to get the crackling going. When you are satisfied with the crackling, turn down the oven to 180 degrees C and leave for 1 hour.
- Remove from the convection oven, cut in slices and place it back to the rack in the convectional oven if you like it more grilled. (Optional)
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