As you may have guessed already, we love pork at the Paleo Larder. And many will agree that pork belly is the crowning glory of all swine cuts (beats tenderloin, anytime).
The mix of fat and muscle that melts in your mouth is just way too enticing. Then, there is the crackling. A bit tricky to get right, but when you do, it beats winning the Olympic gold. ;)
Most recipes will ask you to cook the meat at a really high setting in the oven then turn it down. We tried the opposite method over the weekend and it turned out ok actually. Better, actually. We think it is because the initial cooking at a lower temperature cooks the meat without burning or crisping, while driving out water. So when the temperature is ramped up, the skin crisps up nicely.
All you need is the best pork belly you can find (free-range, flown first class, went to Eaton, massaged, and had a facial J), oil and salt.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan.
2. Score the skin of the pork and dry with paper towels. Rub with oil and season with salt all over.
3. Place in oven and cook for an hour, opening occasionally to let the steam out. If water gathers in the pan, tip it out carefully.
4. After the hour, ramp the temp up to 180C for 20 minutes, then to 200C for another 20 minutes. Again, occasionally letting out steam.
5. Brush the skin with a little oil and season again. Grill under setting 2, or just one notch above the lowest. At this stage, make sure that you keep an eye on it as it could burn. If the skin burns before it crisps up (forms little bubbles), turn the setting down. If it is taking ages, turn it up a bit.
6. Rest for 15 minutes or longer before carving.
7. Serve with lime, fish sauce and chilli dressing to cut through the richness.