Who doesn’t love Chinese roast pork with skin so crispy, you can hear it when you bite into it? I had to try making this myself to see how challenging it was, and it turned out amazing on my first try. The meat was moist and flavourful, while the skin was crispy. The most challenging part is poking the holes into the skin. I used pork belly for the cut of meat.
I will show you how to make the roast pork (or Chinese roasted pork belly) in 9 steps and some helpful tips I have learned along the way. If I can do it, so can you!
A 3 pound pork belly with the skin on (mine was without bone)
3-4 tsp of white vinegar
Sea Salt/Kosher salt- enough to cover the skin
3 1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of white pepper
2 tsp of Chinese 5-spice
4 tsp of Chinese cooking wine
1: Clean the pork belly. Using the back of a knife, I scraped the skin side of the pork to get rid of the residue on it. I washed the pork under cold water, and pat the meat dry. Flip the pork belly over and make a few shallow cuts for the marinade to absorb into the meat.
2. Prepare the marinade. Combine the dry ingredients in the marinade. Add in the cooking wine and create a paste, and rub all over the base of the pork belly.
3. Poke holes in the skin. This is the toughest part of preparing the pork. Find the sharpest object you can find that will make small holes and poke the skin ALL over, without piercing the fat. The holes will help with the crackling. I tried using a knife, metal and bamboo skewers, and they all did not work well. I ended up using a tool I had from my jewelry making kit.
4. Leave in the fridge to marinade. Leaving the pork skin side up on a plate, leave the pork uncovered in the fridge for about 12 hours. I left mine for about 16 hours.
5. Prepare the pork belly for the oven. Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F. Remove the pork belly from the fridge and place on a large piece of tin foil and create a border around the meat. Feel free to poke more holes in the skin at this stage. Place the pork belly on top of a roasting pan. Spread the vinegar on the skin, followed by a layer of salt on the skin, enough for it to cover the skin.
6. Bake the pork belly at 395 degrees F for 45 mins to an hour. Using a meat thermometer, remove the pork when it registers 145 °F (62.8 °C). The pork belly took 1 hour.
7. Remove the salt crust. Remove the pork from the oven and the salt crust. Remove the pork belly from the tin foil and place on top of a wired rack on top of the roasting pan. I placed the tin foil in the pan for the fat drippings.
8. Broil the pork belly. Broil the pork belly on high for about 10-15 minutes watching it so the skin does not burn.
9. Let the meat rest. Remove the meat from the oven and let the meat rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it.
The meat was juicy, full of flavour but not salty, as I would have thought. The pork tasted best with hoisin sauce for some added sweetness.
Couple of things I have learned, which will create better results next time:
- Try to find a piece of pork belly that has even height across the entire piece, for the meat and skin to cook evenly.
- Look for the right tool to poke the holes in the skin. My friend recommended a painters comb, which I will try next time.
- I will try another marinade next time which has more sweetness. Do not omit the sugar in the marinade.
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