Perfect, crispy pork belly is easier to make than you think. Here’s how to get incredibly moist pork topped with golden crunchy crackling.
Do you love bacon? Then you’re gonna love pork belly, because they’re actually the same thing! Well, technically bacon has been cured and smoked, but the part of the pig you use to make it IS pork belly. And no matter whether you call it crackling, pork rinds, chicharrones or cracklins, crunchy pork skin is an amazing taste and texture sensation.
Now, imagine combining the two into crispy pork belly! I know, my mind was blown the first time I had it, too. In fact, it may just be the ultimate porcine pleasure. One thing that has always eluded me, is why anyone would bother cooking a pork belly without the skin. Or without rendering the fat. It’s always terribly disappointing to order pork belly from a menu and get a wet, fatty chunk without the textural crunch of a wafer of golden, salty skin.
Good news folks, this method ensures a bubbly, honeycomb-esque layer of crispy goodness every single time. See, the trick to perfect skin is keeping moisture at bay. Some people turn the skin upside down on a tea towel overnight to press out the moisture. Others use baking soda as a drying agent. Others still swear by poking lots of tiny holes in the skin’s surface (ok, this one may actually have some merit, and I may play round with it in future). My method uses salt – a natural moisture extractor.
When you spread the salt over the surface and bake it, a magical alchemy occurs that joins the crystals into one solid crust, all while encouraging a Saharan-like surface on your meat. You’ll marvel at the way all those little granules join forces to create a giant salt shield. Most importantly, after testing this method multiple times to make sure it wasn’t just a lucky fluke, I can assure you it really works.
And you’d better believe the results are freakin’ delicious. The only thing you need to be ready for is to start cooking the day before you want to serve it, because the meat should marinate overnight.
Recipe after the pics: