This crispy roast pork belly dish is one of the easiest and simplest recipes ever. The method includes par boiling the meat, drying it out then cooking it in the air fryer. This way the cooking time is greatly reduced and the skin is crispy and delicious!
In the past I have tried making crispy roast pork belly many times with very little success. There was always something wrong with it. The most common issue I had was patches of skin where it is was just soft, wet and chewy. This really angered me since there is nothing worse than spending a small fortune on a nice piece of pork belly, only to stuff it up at the end.
So I have made it my mission to find the easiest way to make delicious crispy pork belly that works every time. I have looked at many recipes and have picked pieces here and there to make my very own.
In the end, my method is to boil the meat first then let it dry out in the fridge. I then use an air fryer to cook the meat since it is so much easier to use and clean than an oven. Now, every time I want crispy pork belly… I make it myself and it turns out great every time!
Today we are talking KNIVES, specifically big Chinese choppers. A decent knife has been on our wish list for sometime, and we are very excited to have been provided with this beautiful Shun Classic Chinese Chopper 18 cm from online kitchenware retailer Everten.
This knife is an absolute dream to work with. The first time we used it was to cut through a large chunk of partially frozen pork shoulder, and it cut through like butter. The beautiful Damascus pattern on the blade adds a bit of luxury to your cooking, and the whole experience will leave you feeling like a very powerful head chef in a top Chinese restaurant.
This knife is particularly good for cutting up crispy roast pork belly. There is enough weight in that you can easily build up the momentum needed to cut cleanly through the crispy skin without shattering it, leaving nice clean edges. This is the main advantage over using a standard chefs knife. The blade is also extremely sharp so it just glides through the meat without squeezing out all the juices.
Why I Boil the Meat First
There are two reasons I boil the meat first before putting it in the air fryer:
- It takes a lot less time to cook – This has many benefits, including being able to have crispy pork roast on a weeknight.
- The meat won’t dry out – Since you are cooking the meat for a lot less time in the air fryer, the meat will not burn or dry out.
- Punching holes into the skin is considerably easier – This is one of thing I hate doing. If you don’t have the correct tool this can be very hard and cumbersome. This is because raw skin is tough and doesn’t break easily. You have to apply a lot of force and use something sharp and sturdy like an ice pick. If you boil the meat first however, you can poke holes in the skin with a bamboo skewer. So much easier!
Lessons Learnt about Crackling
I have had many attempts with trying to get the crackling right, and here is what I have learnt:
- You have to dry the pork skin. There isn’t any way around this. I highly recommend putting the roast pork in the fridge overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- Do not punch holes that are too deep with the skewer. If you pierce through to the meat then the juices will come flowing up and soften the crispy skin.
- Rub salt into the skin before you let it dry out in the fridge. It just helps to pull the moisture out. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel once the moisture starts to collect.
- Make sure the air fryer is preheated before putting the pork roast in. I know that not all air fryers can do this but if yours can, then it does make a difference.
- Use the “roast” setting on your air fryer (if you have one), where the heat comes directly from the top without the fan.
- If your air fryer has multiple racks, then put the roast pork towards the upper racks.
What to Look for When Buying Pork Belly
Here are some tips I have found very useful in choosing a good piece of pork belly.
- A nice flat pork belly helps to even distribute heat onto the skin. This will increase your chances of getting a nice uniformly crispy skin.
- Choose a pork belly with more meat. There is always enough fat on this cut of meat, so ones with more juicy meat would be better.
My Other Tips for Perfectly Crispy Roast Pork Belly
- Boil the pork belly skin down first in a fry pan to prevent the pork belly from curling too much.
- Do not salt the sides and the bottom of the meat while drying. You want the meat to stay juicy and not dry.
- Cutting slits into the meat will allow the salt and spice powder to penetrate the meat better.
- Do not cut it straight out of the oven. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes so the skin wont shatter as you chop it with your knife.
What to Serve Crispy Roast Pork Belly with?
- Jasmine rice, sliced cucumber and soy sauce to dip – this is easily my favourite. It easy, quick and comforting.
- In sandwiches in banh mi style. I like to do this with leftover pork belly. Add some pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and soy sauce to a bun and you have yourself a fantastic sandwich.
- If you are to have it on its own, then try with normal mustard, hot English mustard or simply soy sauce.
Crispy Roast Pork Belly
- 0.8 – 1 kg pork belly
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
If there is any hair on the pork skin, scrape it off with a knife. Then wash the pork belly under a tap.
In a fry pan on medium high, add the water, salt and sugar.
Once boiling add the pork belly skin side down and cook for 8 minutes on each side.
Once done, remove the pork belly and let it cool on a rack. Pat dry with some paper towel when it is cool enough to do so.
Get a meat skewer and punch holes lots of holes into the skin of the pork belly – this usually takes me about 5 – 10 minutes. Do not punch holes so deep that it reaches the meat.
Brush the pork skin with vinegar and then sprinkle half the salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes and repeat the process.
Put the pork belly into the fridge uncovered and allow the skin to dry for a minimum of 12 hours. Check on it every few hours and wipe off any moisture that comes to the surface.
Take your pork belly out of the fridge and apply the meat rub on the sides and the bottom of the pork belly.
Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes then cook the pork belly for 40 minutes at 200 C (392 F).
Once done, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.