Best ever crispy roast pork belly
This is a secret recipe given to me by a Chinese guy called Danny, who owns some restaurants in Darwin. (Sorry Danny, it’s not a secret anymore!) This recipe works so well. You can use it as a starting point for myriad other pork dishes, or serve it with other sauces that will make it taste even better. I like to serve the pork belly as a finger food on a large platter, garnished with a sprinkling of chilli and coriander.
2 kg pork belly — ‘medium fatty’ is fine, but lean is not! (It’s best in one portion for ease of pricking and cooking but 2 x 1 kg pieces work well enough)
3 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
coriander, to garnish
Place your pork belly on a chopping board, skin side up. Using a skin pricker or a meat needle, puncture the skin repeatedly for about 5 minutes.
(Don’t be scared to use a bit of force — get angry!) Once you are satisfied with your acupuncture work, rub the skin of the belly well with the bicarbonate of soda.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour, so that the bicarbonate of soda can soak up the moisture from the skin.
Meanwhile, prepare your barbecue for indirect cooking over a low to medium heat (about 150°C maximum if you have a thermometer).
After 1 hour, use a wet cloth to wipe all the bicarbonate of soda from the skin of the pork. Wipe the skin dry with a clean cloth.
Place the pork belly on a roasting rack in a roasting tin and fill the bottom with water.
Place on the barbecue. Cook for 2 hours with the hood down, until the pork is tender, adding water to the roasting tin if it starts to dry out.
Once you’re happy with the tenderness of the pork — the skin should still be soft at this point, not crackly — remove it from the barbecue.
Raise the temperature to high heat, about 250°C. Drain most of the water from the tin and place the pork back on the barbecue still in the roasting tin.
Keeping a close eye on proceedings, cook the pork until the skin puffs and crackles up. This is best done by observation as times will vary.
Cut the pork belly into cubes. Break up the crackling and arrange over the pork. Scatter with chilli and coriander and serve straight away.
Recipe from Ben O’Donoghue’s BBQ Bible ($39.95) courtesy of Hardie Grant.