Blackened Chinese Pork Belly

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust if sugar, Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect Crackling crust.

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust if sugar, Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect Crackling crus

My Chinese pork belly recipe takes my food influences to somewhere else new on my blog today, to be honest I have no idea if this is authentic but the sweet flavours combined with five spice and Szechuan pepper are close enough for me. Pork belly is my idea of heaven and I would order it in a any restaurant over any other dish.

Unfortunately we don’t see nearly enough of it over here despite pork being a core form of protein in the Hungarian diet, so when we saw a huge slab of it our local butchers I had to buy some.

You can expect a few pork belly recipes in the coming weeks because I bought a fair bit. After a little soul searching I plumped on this blackened Chinese pork belly recipe. I used to do something relatively similar with salmon when I lived in the UK although the flavours were pulled back a little and the marinade time cut to an hour at most.

The one thing that was an absolute must for me on this recipe was a crispy and crunchy pork crackling crust, as far as I am concerned the meat is nothing but the entrรฉe for the main event. As far as I am concerned Pork Crackling should be heard by your neighbours crunching whilst you are eating dinner. It should sound like fireworks going and be salted to perfection.

There should be no real secret to pork crackling, it is simple really the key trick is ensuring that the pork skin is as dry as the Sahara desert when it goes into a hot oven. 

As per the instructions for this blackened Chinese pork belly recipe, I always score my pork the night before I cook it and place it in a fridge uncovered. Then take it out of the fridge for an hour or so before cooking and just before it goes in the oven add your seasoning, naturally salt and then what ever takes your fancy. 

I went for some homemade Chinese five spice but you could easily, go salt and roasted ground fennel seeds or cumin & coriander or thyme and rosemary or…  Wow I could go on forever!

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust if sugar, Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect Crackling crus

I have purposely left the ‘serves’ option empty in the recipe field opposite as I have no idea what to say, typically a 600g piece of meat would happily be enough for 4 in my eyes as I like to serve lots of vegetables and sides with my food.

However there was only enough left over for half a pork sandwich by the time we finished, yes that’s how good it was, we munched the lot and could quite happily have gone back for more afterwards.  So play with the portion size if you are more than 2 and cook a piece of meat the size that you think is appropriate, and as for cooking the meat to perfection use a meat thermometer and  cook it until the thermometer reads 64ยฐc in the centre of the joint.

I will sign off this Chinese pork belly recipe by promising that I will try and take some brighter pictures on my next post, I have certainly fallen into a ‘dark phase’ at the moment, I blame those pesky Sticky Chicken Drumsticks for starting it all.

The next couple of recipes are also planned to be vegetarian, I do feel like I have eaten a lot of meat based dishes recently and the crops on the land are looking grand so more ‘vegetable plot’ based treats heading your way ๐Ÿ™‚

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust if sugar, Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect Crackling crus
Blackened Chinese Pork Belly

Blackened Chinese Pork Belly

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with a blackened crust if sugar, Chinese five spice and lashings of Szechuan Pepper all topped with a perfect Crackling crust.



  • 600 g Pork Belly: Skin on Boneless
  • 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce.
  • 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar.
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice: , See Recipe Below.
  • 2 Tsp Ground Ginger.
  • 1 Tsp Ground Garlic.
  • 2 Tbsp Szechuan Pepper:, Roasted and ground
  • 1 Tsp Salt.
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil.

To season the Crackling

  • 1/4 Tsp Salt.
  • 1/8 Tsp Chinese Five Spice.


  1. Begin by thoroughly drying and then scoring the pork skin, use a sharp craft knife and score the pork along the direction that you will carve your meat about 1 cm apart, be careful not to cut into the meat, you want to score 2-3 mm deep
  2. Then score at a 45 degree angle from your first score marks and then repeat the process at 45 degrees in the opposite direction
  3. Heat the Szechuan pepper corns over a medium heat taking care not to burn and toast for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and then grind
  4. Add the soy sauce, Sugar, Chinese five spice, ginger, garlic, salt & sesame oil to the ground szechuan pepper and mix into a paste. The resulting paste should be almost spreadable
  5. Then massage this paste into the meat of the pork belly ensuring that you do not get any on the pork skin and set aside uncovered in a fridge over night
  6. Remove the pork from the fridge about an hour before cooking to allow to bring to room temperature, ensuring the skin is still dry and preheat an oven to 220ยฐC & place a roasting try in the oven half filled with water and allow to come to temperature prior to placing the meat in the oven
  7. Just before cooking sprinkle some salt and Chinese five spice over the dried skin of the pork and place in the oven
  8. Cook at 220ยฐC for 35 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 200ยฐC and cook for a further hour, ensure you rest the meat for at least 15 minutes before carving


I make my own Chinese five spice as I find ground spices begin to loose their flavour very quickly, but feel free to use shop bought if you wish.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396 Total Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 132mg Sodium: 1358mg Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 5g Protein: 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

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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!

  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

  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!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

    • 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.

  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!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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.

    • I was reading somewhere that the cost of pork belly in Australia has rocketed due to popularity, is that true?

  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.

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

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

  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!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 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 62ยฐ-64ยฐC on the meat thermometer before removing and allowing to rest.

  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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!

    • 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.

    • 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!

  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!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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!!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!

  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!

    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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.

    • 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) ๐Ÿ˜‰

      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’.

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