Chinese Roasted Pork Belly with Crackling

This was my very first time making this Chinese Style Roasted Pork Belly with Crackling known in Khmer as Sach Jrook Kwai សាច់ជ្រូកខ្វៃ. I spent a bit of time studying the steps, variations and recipes available online and then finally adapt it to my liking. Finding the ingredients and making it was not hard at all but I was really anxious and nervous about the outcome. Will it turn out good or will it be a nightmare? While making I thought to myself, if the results are positive then this is what I plan to contribute for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday feast. :)

As you can see from the picture it was a major S-U-C-C-E-S-S (IMHO – In my humble opinion)! 😀 The pork was juicy, nice and tender inside while the skin above was so crispy and crunchy. It was scrumptious! I wonder, why do they charge so much at the Chinese deli when it so easy to make? Maybe to cover the cost of electricity bill? LOL I don’t think I will ever purchase roasted pork at the deli again.

You might be concern about the fat content in this meat. I was too, however as good as it was I did not devour the entire 2½ lbs of meat alone nor during one sitting. A couple of slices is good enough for me along with steamed rice. The left over will be used to make other dishes like stir-fry, noodle soups, or lettuce wraps. The key in moderation right? 😛 I say this but sometime it’s so tempting. LOL

2½ lbs pork belly (or pork belly side)
½ tablespoon sea salt (coarse salt)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon table salt
½ tablespoon sugar
2 pieces red bean curd
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Clean pork belly and pat dry with a kitchen or paper towel.

Score the bottom (meaty) side with a sharp knife and make an X about ½ inch apart. This is so that the marinade gets through and in between the meat. It also helps the pork belly from curling when it is roasting.

Make the marinade and rub it on the bottom (meaty side) making sure to get in between the slits that was previous scored.

Flip it to the other side and rub the skin (part only) with sea salt. Allow to marinade (uncover) for at least 1 hour but best overnight. The air in the fridge will help keep the skin dry.

Bring meat to room temperature prior to roasting. Preheat your oven to 400-450F. Set the pork on a rack/roast pan and roast with the skin side up. Make sure you have a drip pan to catch the fat when it drips. Cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove meat from the oven carefully. Use a paper towel to blot off any visible oil that rise to the top of the skin. Then use a fork or sharp rod to prick the skin. The more holes you make the better. This will help release the fat making it dry and crispy with crackling.

Use a brush and apply rice vinegar to the skin. Return it back to the oven and continue to cook on broil setting (the top heat) for another 20 minutes or so. The skin will start to make these crackling noise and then it will turn black (charred). This is a sign that the pork has released it’s fat and there little liquid left inside.

Turn the oven off and remove your pork belly carefully. If it’s too hot to handle you can allow it to rest in the oven for awhile (while the heat is turned off) until it is safe to remove with gloves.

Allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes. Then with a steak knife scrape off the blacken part. You should have a delicious roasted pork belly that is juicy on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

There’s so many things you can do with this roasted pork belly. Serve it with steamed rice, make fried rice, noodle soup, or add it to stir fry dishes. Enjoy!

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