Blackened Crispy Roast Chinese Pork Belly

This Chinese pork belly recipe features soft and juicy pork with a blackened Szechuan pepper crust and a crispy crackling topping!

Portrait image of sliced roast Chinese Pork belly with pickled cucumbers on a chopping board

Crispy Pork Belly!

I adore pork belly, if I ever get to that mythical last meal choice then it is likely what I would choose!

It is a piece of meat that has a wonderful flavour, the perfect amount of fat and that skin makes for the best crispy crackling crust.

I cook with it a lot in dishes as diverse as this traditional British roast pork to my pressed pork belly with cherries.

This recipe combines it with another of my favourite ingredients Szechuan pepper.

The ingredient that gives dishes like kung pao chicken and dan dan noodles their distinctive flavour.

Throw in a little soy, Chinese five spice, garlic and ginger and off you go.

Portrait overhead image of sliced Chinese pork belly served with rice and pickled cucumbers served on a white plate

The Perfect Crackling.

There is much written about cooking the perfect pork crackling.

It is often said that the skin should be as dry as the Sahara desert when it goes into the oven.

It is a method that works and the one I use here, however I cook a pork knuckle recipe that has beer poured over it before it goes into the oven. Click through and watch the video, crispy skin again, just like this one!

Others say the oven needs to be hot before the pork goes in, others say the oven should be hot at the end.

Again both work. The only time I have ever struggled to get good crackling is when I have used fat or oil on the skin.

In short, there is no such thing as one way to do anything in the kitchen!

Portrait close up image of sliced crispy roast Chinese pork belly served with rice and pickled cucumbers served on a white plate

Scaling Instructions and Serving Suggestions.

This recipe serves two greedy people or will push to 3 people if needed.

You can increase the size of the pork up to 650g which can serve 4 people with no real changes in the timing. That is providing that the pork does not get thicker than around 5cm.

You will also have enough of the marinade for a larger piece of pork.

As you can see from the images the pork belly for this recipe needs to be bone-free and skin on.

The richness of pork belly works exceptionally well with pickles.

I serve this with some quick pickled cucumber, but pickled daikon would work equally well.

Roast Chinese Pork Belly Recipe

Roast Chinese Pork Belly Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 45 minutes

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust of Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect crisp crackling crust.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g Pork Belly
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Chinese Five Spice

For the Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp Szechuan Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce.
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Ground Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil

Instructions

  1. Toast off the Szechuan peppercorns in a wok and grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  2. Add the Szechuan pepper to a bowl along with the remaining ingredients for the marinade.
  3. Mix to form a thick paste.
  4. Dry the pork skin with a kitchen towel.
  5. Score the pork skin to a depth of 2-3mm diagonally across the meat at a distance of 1cm apart.
  6. Spin the meat around and score to the same depth, 1cm apart perpendicular to the first cuts to create a crosshatch pattern.
  7. Flip over the pork and pour the marinade over the flesh side and massage in.
  8. Place the pork on a plate and clean off any marinade from the skin.
  9. Transfer to the fridge for at least 8 hours and leave uncovered.
  10. An hour before you are ready to cook remove the pork from the fridge.
  11. Rub the salt and remaining Chinese five spice into the skin.
  12. Place on a grid "balanced" above a roasting tin and pour hot water into the tin.
  13. Cook in an oven at 220°C or 450°F for 30 minutes.
  14. After 30 minutes reduce the temperature to 170°C or 340°F and cook for a further hour.
  15. Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 1358mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 40g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

52 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I love crispy crackling crust and unfortunately here is France I struggle to find the pork with the skin. I love this recipe and will try next time I am in Italy to buy proper pork with skin. Forget about 600 gr, knowing my boys they will easily finish 1 kg

    Reply
    • Thanks Laura… Odd how markets vary across Europe, pig skin is ubiquitous here and easy to buy separately as well as bundled up on meat 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’m with you! I want crispy crackling crust!! These Chinese pork bellies look so incredibly delicious! I love pork bellies and can’t wait to try your recipe!

    Reply
  3. My oven is not fan assisted so usually turn up additional 20 degrees to compensate. Are the instructions for fan assisted or not. Thank you

    Reply
  4. Gorgeous work, as usual, Brian. Loved reading the post on how to make this amazing meal. We love pork. I will definitely need to make this for the hubby. He will love it!

    Reply
    • Thanks Diane, pork is my favourite too although it was rare to find pork belly for me as it usually gets used in sausages, there was no question as to what I was going to make with it though, I love this dish and the crackling is out of this world 😀

      Reply
    • Thanks Linda, pork belly here typically gets stripped of its skin and turned into sausages as its fat content is perfect for them, so I was delighted to find some in our local butchers. A nice piece of loin with skin on would work well, you will just need to ensure you don’t overcook it as the lack of fat means it can dry out really quickly.

      Reply
  5. OH MY! Crispy crunchy pork crust is the best part for me, when it comes to tearing it down. You can’t beat it ! This looks like it would hit the spot!

    Reply
    • Yup the crackling is definitely always the star of the show no matter how good the meat is… I have been known to just buy ‘pig’ skin and turn it into crackling 😀

      Reply
  6. I saw this picture on Pinterest the other day and I just cannot stop staring at it and drooling all over! I never challenge cooking this at home, but I will totally trust your recipe! This is perfect 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Maggie, it was wonderful… Glad I got loads of pork belly, tempted to do it again but have lots of new ideas, nice problem to have 😀

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    • You’ve got me stumped on that question! Pork belly has everything a cut of meat should have to my mind and it is so under rated 🙂

      Reply
  7. Pork belly is big in Australia, and like you, if I see it on a menu I have order it! You pork crackling looks shatteringly perfect and I love the sound of the flavour you have achieved with the pork.

    Reply
  8. That sugary crust looks AMAZING! I made pork belly once and it didn’t come out that well, but you’ve inspired me to try again.

    Reply
  9. Look at that crackling! I’ve been trying to make roasted pork belly but could never get the perfect crackling..

    Reply
    • There is no secret really, all you need is bone dry skin before placing in the oven and then enough resting time after.

      Reply
  10. Phenomenal job on this! I am not even a huge fan of pork, but reading through your list of ingredients and seeing that a crispy and crunchy crust has me sold!

    Reply
    • Thanks Shashi, glad to have made you consider pork… I think it is a really under rated meat probably from many years of overcooking and under seasoning. But give it a little love and I think it stands toe to toe with everything else 🙂

      Reply
    • Thanks Tina, you gotta keep just the slightest tint of pink like you say… Just keeps it on the lovely side of moist, I usually aim for 62°-64°C on the meat thermometer before removing and allowing to rest.

      Reply
  11. Brian, this looks absolutely delicious! If I were to make this, could I substitute the Chinese five spice for something else? That flavour combination does not agree with my taste buds at all! 🙂

    Reply
    • Most definitely, pork is such a versatile meat and goes with many flavours, one I am particularly fond of is apple and fennel… So you could change the paste for an apple and sugar paste made heady with thyme and fennel seeds and then toast of some fennel seeds to flavour the crackling on top. It even works well with just a honey glaze and bucket loads of ground pepper 🙂

      Reply
  12. It’s been a while since I’ve made some pork belly for my family… looks like I’ll have to make this for 4th of July weekend! This looks delicious!

    Reply
    • That’s exciting, thanks for the kind words… I think that despite being a relatively humble cut of meat that pork belly is perfect as a celebratory centre point of any meal.

      Reply
    • Super, please let me know how you get on, I love pork so cook it all of the time… It is also because finding beef and lamb here in Hungary is really tough!

      Reply
  13. Brian this looks just fabulous – but then you already know that from my pinterest comments. I completely agree with you about crackling, some good rock salt and be sure to score it well and dry it and you’ll have amazing crackling.

    Your pictures are great, really make me want to tuck in!

    Reply
    • Thank you very much Angela… No mater how good the pork is the crackling is always the diamond in the ‘gold ring’ for me, there is just something so satisfying about the oh so audible crunch 🙂

      Reply
  14. How did you know that roast pork with crackling is down on the ‘Last Meal Menu’? You have totally nailed it and I think 600g would feed the two of us in my house!!

    Reply
    • I’d be with you on roast pork as a last meal, but they can1t get rid of me until the crackling is perfect or I would send it back 😉 We would rarely eat 600g of meat between us typically but we had to go back for more, I wanted to keep a little aside for a lunch time treat but failed miserably!

      Reply
  15. The Hungry Dad’s very fav – he is a pork belly fan from waaaaay back and this spice hit is an added bonus. ps – Yummly’d this!

    Reply
    • I think that is the way for all of us who have a fondness for pork belly, it is ingrained in our DNA from a young age… Childhood memories certainly tend to stay with us 🙂

      Reply
  16. This looks like such a great idea. I really should go to the butcher and try to make something like this with pork belly. There are so many more uses for it other than bacon.

    Reply
    • Pork belly is definitely so much more than bacon, not that there is anything wrong with bacon (just have to get that out there so I am not misunderstood) 😉

      It is in many places a really cheap cut of meat and offers so much flavour, that also means you can be much bolder with your flavourings without losing the delicious ‘porkiness’.

      Reply

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