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Roast Pork Belly Slices with a Cider Sauce

Crispy roast pork belly slices or strips are a dish from my childhood, they are simplicity personified, fennel seeds, salt, pepper & an oven!

I’ve bundled them here with a delicious sharp cider, Bramley apple and mustard sauce that cuts through the rich meat beautifully.

Cider and Bramley apple sauce being poured over cripsy roast pork belly slices.

Crispy Roast Belly Draft or Strips

I was involved in a Twitter conversation about pork a while ago trying to ascertain when this cut of meat went from belly pork to pork belly.

I was very confused as I grew up knowing it as belly draft. Apparently, this is a specific name from a very small geographic region. So if you are not from the British Midlands and you use this name please let me know in the comments!

This recipe uses pork belly strips, a rarity among cheaper cuts of meat in that it does not necessarily need long slow cooking to make it tender.

Of course, you can slow roast it in the oven as I do with my Chinese pork belly and very British crispy roast pork belly.

You can even cook it in a pressure cooker, like my pressed pork belly with cherries.

Here pork belly slices are roasted in a hot oven with some seasoning for around 30 minutes then they get a quick blast from the fan oven to crisp them up.

The fat content ensures that it stays really succulent inside with a crispy and almost chewy exterior.

I’ve served it with a really simple cider, Bramley apple and mustard sauce. It’s quite a sharp sauce and it cuts through the richness of the pork belly perfectly.

Overhead crispy roast pork belly slices with a cider sauce, mashed potato and veggies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this in advance?

The pork really needs to be cooked and eaten immediately, they will tighten up and go tough if they are not served immediately.

But the sauce can be made up a few days in advance if you wish.

Can I cook this in an air fryer?

Yes, but the amount of fat in pork belly slices means that your air fryer will get very mucky and it will smoke a lot!

If you absolutely must then cook them at 180°C or 350°F for 20 minutes. Flip them over halfway through the cooking time. Then turn the heat up to 200°C or 390°F for a final 2-3 minutes.

What sort of cider should I use?

I use a nice dry cider for this recipe, I use Aspall Premier Cru in this recipe. I would avoid medium or sweet ciders because they become too sweet when reduced.

If you are visiting from the US, please note that cider means alcohol, so you are looking for a hard cider.

What is Bramley apple sauce?

Bramley apples are a uniquely British apple. They are very “floury” and tart, they are terrible for eating but make the best apple sauce!

Most jarred apple sauces will contain Bramley apples, or you can make your own Bramley apple sauce.

Crispy roast pork belly slices with a cider sauce, mashed potato and veggies.

Serving Suggestions

Growing up my Mom would have served roast pork belly slices with mashed potatoes, peas and gravy. None of this fancy gravy stuff either, it would have been cheap own-brand Bisto!

I’ve kept the mash for my version and paired it with glazed Chantenay carrots, simply cooked Brussels sprouts, and of course that sharp cider, apple and mustard sauce.

You can go lighter, it would be wonderful with my puy lentils with fennel recipe or my braised cavolo nero recipe.

They would also be stunning alongside my roasted pear with blue cheese.

Another lighter option sticking with the pear theme would be this pear salad with a walnut dressing.

If you want something completely different, they are pictured below with a foxy Hungarian Lecsó. A pepper and tomato stew powered by salami and or bacon, yes that is as good as it sounds!

Portrait image of pork belly slices served on a Hungarian lecso served in a white bowl

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section of the recipe.

  • Oven.
  • Stovetop.
  • Baking tray, anything large enough to hold the pork strips is fine.
  • 15cm or 6″ saucepan.
  • Weighing scales and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Stirring spoons.
  • Small mixing bowl.
  • Pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
Crispy roast pork belly slices with a cider sauce, mashed potato, sprouts and carrots.
Yield: 2 Servings

Crispy Roast Pork Belly Slices Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Simply roast pork belly slices or belly draft as I knew it growing up would and been a wonderful frugal treat, I still adore it today and I have bundled it with a wonderfully simple cider, bramley apple and mustard sauce!


  • 4 x 125-150g (4oz) Slices of Pork Belly
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds

For the Cider Sauce:

  • 500ml (2 Cups) Dry Cider
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 175ml (¾ Cup) Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Smooth Bramley Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Cornflour (Corn starch)
  • 2 Tsp Water
  • Salt if Required


  1. Dry the pork well on kitchen paper and try to leave it out of the packaging in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin.
  2. Add the coarse sea salt, fennel seeds and black pepper to a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and crush to a fairly fine mix.
  3. Place the pork on a roasting tray and season on both sides with the salt and pepper mix, be sure to try and rub the mix all over the pork.
  4. Cook at 200°C or 400°F 30 minutes and then flip the oven over to fan mode for a final 5-7 minutes to crisp them up.
  5. Whilst the pork is cooking pour the cider into a 15cm or 6" saucepan and add the thyme, boil it over a very high heat until it has reduced by around a half to two-thirds.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the sauce back to a boil.
  7. Stir in the Bramley apple sauce and Dijon mustard, then stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low and then simmer until the pork is ready to be served. Now is a good time to have a taste and add salt as required.
  8. Just before you serve the dish mix together the cornflour and water in a small bowl and stir it into the sauce and cook until it thickens.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 865Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 2006mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 55g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Tuesday 6th of July 2021

In looking for information regarding what vegetables were usually served with belly draft decades ago, I came across this site and some very interesting comments. I’d love to know if someone can clarify further for me, please. I lived in Wolverhampton as a child. Belly draft was regularly on the menu. I know we had it with swede and potatoes, but I don’t remember if they were served separately or mashed together. I also don’t remember if we had any other vegetables or gravy with it. Very interested to know what would have been most commonly served with it. Also, I think ours was always fried. Does that sound right? As with others who’ve commented, I’ve never heard bell draft referred to by that name since childhood. Here in Australia, they are called pork rashers.

Michelle Paskin

Monday 29th of November 2021

@Jan, yes I lived in West Bromwich and we had it often as a cooked meal. And the mash and the swede were mashed together and we had it with cabbage and tinned processed peas and gravy . Absolutely loved it and I cooking it tonight . Michelle Enjoy xxxx And my mom cooked it in the oven

Brian Jones

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

Hey Jan...

I was born in the mid-early 70's and was raised in south Birmingham. My Mom and my Nan always served it with mash, peas, and cheap knock-off bisto gravy, sometimes it was swede and tattie mash but that was far less common.

When I was young I used to insist on tomato sauce, much to the horror of my Grandad lol!

Ours was also usually cooked in a frying pan too, typically it was cooked in a large spoon of lard from the chip pan rather than oil or butter too :D

Looking forward to hearing responses from others :)


Sunday 12th of July 2020

'Pork Strips' in my neck of the woods; London/ Herts border. Probably be my choice for a final meal. Served with mash, veg and fatty gravy. A rare treat these days!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

I remember moving to Surrey when I was in my late teens to go to Uni and asked for "belly draft" at the local butchers knowing it was cheap and easy to cook and they looked at me like I was mental! I'm with you on the last meal;l thing though, some form of pork belly would have to be there although I would need to get some mackerel in somehow, are we allowed starters? lol!

Paul Edwards

Monday 15th of June 2020

Splitting the Pork story asunder & adding yet more confusion we ate Pork Rashers in Southampton 🐷. Mums recipe was a roast. The rashers smeared with moistened sage & onion stuffing powder which crisped & soaked up pork juices. Peas for sure but roasters & apple sauce if dad was home.

Robert Groves

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

@Brian Jones, when we were kids,bellydraft was a regular for us.we always had it with swede and mashed potatoes,peas and carrots,covered in gravy.i am having it for my dinner tonight,but even here in wolverhampton no one calls it bellydraft any more.

Jane parker

Monday 26th of April 2021

@Brian Jones, It’s not brummie it’s Black Country that uses the draft word. Never mix up your brummie with a yam yam. You would be linched in Dudley for that. I only knew it as draft couldn’t work out why it was being called belly, thanks for telling me💕

paul edwards

Monday 15th of June 2020

@Brian Jones, Moo Sam Chan in Thai = Port 3 layers.

Brian Jones

Monday 15th of June 2020

Pork rashers, now that name makes perfect sense... I have genuinely no idea where the Brummie name of belly draft comes from, there are lots of ideas online but very little that is really firm. I love the idea of playing around with some "paxo" as a coating for stuff, I have a sage and onion chicken pasta recipe that does something very similar with a homemade sage and onion breadcrumb "thing" that I adore eating.

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