Pork belly is a rich piece of meat that instantly becomes tender and savory after it has been cooked for a while. It has a complex flavor and unbeatable texture, making it the perfect meat to use for a hearty meal that’s bursting with flavor. In fact, consider it an upgraded version of bacon. If you’re new to the pork belly scene and unsure of what you should be looking for, Bon Appétit suggests using fresh, skin-on, center-cut pork belly that’s fairly lean. There’s no need to be intimidated by this easy-to-prepare and flavorful meat. Here are 7 mouthwatering recipes to get you started.
1. Pork Belly Roast
Jamie Oliver’s recipe keeps it simple, allowing for the pork belly’s wonderful flavors to be the highlight of the dish. The meat ends up with a crunchy, crackling texture that will melt in your mouth. The recipe yields 6 servings.
- 1.3 kilograms (about 2.8 pounds) pork belly
- 15 grams fennel seeds
- 5 grams sea salt
- ⅖ cup olive oil
- Garlic cloves, skin on
- Fresh thyme
- 1 bottle white wine
- 75 grams plain flour
Directions: Turn oven to the highest temperature you can get it to. Using a knife score the skin down to the meat, make the cuts very close together. Put the fennel seeds and the Maldon sea salt in a pestle and mortar and grind till the seeds are smashed and mixed well with the salt. Pour half the oil over the top of the skin of the pork belly, sprinkle over ½ of the fennel and salt mixture and rub in, pour over the remaining oil and then the seed and salt mixture; be sure to really rub this into the skin so that everything gets in between the skin and down onto the meat.
Wash the carrots and celery well, cut them into large 2-inch pieces, and throw these into the base of your roasting dish. Throw in the whole garlic bulbs, then peel and cut the onions into large wedges. Toss in the whole thyme leaves. Put the seasoned pork belly on top of the vegetables and then put into your very hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the skin of the belly starts to bubble and is golden brown. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit then roast for 1.5 hours. Carefully open the oven door and add into the tray ¾ of the white wine, continue cooking for 1 hour.
Remove the meat carefully from the oven and test to see if it pulls apart easily. If not, put back in the oven until the meat is ready then remove from the oven. Take the meat from the tray and place onto a wooden board and allow to rest while you make the gravy. Put the tray of roasted vegetables directly onto your stove top and on a medium heat add in the flour and stir till thick. Cook for 1 minute then add in the remaining wine. If you sauce is too thick add a little more white wine.
Using a potato masher, mash up the vegetables until you have a delicious thick looking sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. Taste, strain through a sieve keeping all the lovely sauce for pouring over the roasted belly. Remove the crackling from the top of the belly and break up into pieces, set aside, then pull the pork belly apart and enjoy with more vegetables and your homemade gravy.
2. Slow-Roast Pork Belly With Celeriac and Pear Mash
Prepare to enjoy a plateful of tender, yet crispy pork paired with a sweet and indulgent pear mash. BBC GoodFood’s recipe, which yields 4 servings, is an easy-to-make dinner dish that’s packed with sweet and savory flavors.
- About 3 pounds (1 ½ kilograms) pork belly, skin scored
- 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped
- 2 ⅖ teaspoons coarse sea salt crystals
- 10 black peppercorns
- Purple sprouting broccoli, steamed, to serve
- 750 grams celeriac, cubed
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 2 ripe pears, peeled and cubed
- 3 ⅗ tablespoons double cream
- Large knob of butter
Directions: Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the pork out of the fridge and pat the skin dry. Put the rosemary leaves, salt and pepper in a mini chopper and grind together. Rub the rosemary salt all over the pork, making sure it gets into the cuts in the skin. Sit the pork in a large roasting tin, ideally on a rack, and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast for 1 and ½ hours more.
Turn oven back up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for 20-30 minutes to crisp. Leave to rest on a board for 10 minutes before carving. When the pork is nearly ready to come out, put the celeriac and potato in a large pan of water, bring to the boil, and cook for 10 mins until just tender. Add the pears and cook for 2 minutes more. Drain well, then mash until smooth. Beat in a splash of cream and some butter, and serve with the pork.
3. Honey Pork Belly Recipe
Honey, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and garlic cloves create a perfectly seasoned pork belly dish. Just One Cookbook’s recipe, which yields 2 servings, only requires about 5 minutes of prep time, making it an easy meal for any night of the week.
- ¾ pound pork belly
- Blanched spinach (optional)
- Japanese mayonnaise (optional)
- Ichimi Togarashi (optional)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 garlic cloves
Directions: Slice pork belly into ¼-inch pieces. Grate garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large frying pan and start cooking pork belly on high heat when the frying pan is hot. The oil might splatter, so consider using a splatter screen to avoid a mess in your kitchen. When both side of the pork belly are nicely browned, turn off the heat. Wipe off the excess oil completely. Turn the heat back on to medium heat and add seasonings. Cook over medium heat until the meat start to have a nice glaze. Try not to burn the sauce. Enjoy the juicy flavorful meat with blanched spinach to balance out the palate, or drizzle Japanese mayonnaise with a sprinkle of Ichimi Togarashi on top.
4. Emeril’s New Orleans Asian-Style Braised Pork Belly
Pork belly, orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon and lime, garlic, ginger, and onion are just a few of the tasty ingredients that Emeril Lagasse’s recipe via Food Network calls for. This delicious dinner recipe yields 6 servings. Note: the marinade must be refrigerated overnight, so plan accordingly!
- 2 (2½ pounds each) slabs pork belly
- 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- ⅓ cup minced garlic
- ¼ cup minced ginger
- ¼ cup minced green onion bottoms (white part only)
- ¼ cup sambal oelek
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 12 ounces frisee lettuce, cleaned, rinsed and spun dry
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Place each portion of pork belly in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, light brown sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, ginger, green onions, and sambal and use a whisk to blend well. Divide the mixture between the 2 plastic bags and seal them. Place in a baking dish or roasting pan and refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Place the pork belly, skin sides down in a 9 x 13-inch glass oven proof baking dish or a small roasting pan and pour the marinade and 3 cups of the chicken stock over and around the pork belly. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Turn the pork belly over and roast for another 1 and ½ hours. Remove from the oven and place on a counter top or cooling rack to cool. Use a fork and long, sharp, thin-bladed knife to remove the skin from the pork. Allow the pork to cool in the cooking liquid and, once cooled, about 1 to 1 and ½ hours, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator and uncover. Carefully remove any congealed fat that rests on top of the cooking liquid. Using a sharp knife, score the fat layer of the pork in a cross hatch pattern. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the remaining cup of chicken stock to the pan and place in the oven. Cook the pork belly until slightly caramelized on top and warmed through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and divide into 6 even portions. Place the frisee in a large bowl and toss with the rice wine vinegar. Season lightly with salt and pepper. To serve, place a portion of the pork on a warmed entrée plate with 2 ounces of the frisée. Pour some of the sauce over the pork and serve immediately.
5. Mario Batali’s Braised Pork Belly
Not only is this The Chew recipe via ABC unbelievably tasty, but it is also really easy to prepare. Seasonings such as basil, mint, and crushed red pepper flakes create a palatable pork belly dish you won’t be able to get enough of.
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fennel (toasted and ground)
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds pork belly (skin removed)
- 2 carrots (peeled; cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 3 stalks celery (cut into ½-inch pieces)
- ½ red onion (sliced)
- 2 fennel stalks (cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 bottle beer
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small head napa cabbage (shredded)
- ½ red onion (sliced)
- 1 bulb fennel (thinly sliced on a mandolin)
- ¼ cup mint (chopped)
- ¼ cup basil leaves (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fennel honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds
- ⅓ cup honey
Directions: To prepare the rub, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the rub ingredients and very thoroughly mix. Using a sharp knife, score a 1-inch grid pattern into the fat of the pork belly. Rub the pork belly all over with the spice mixture. For the braise, heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sear the pork, fat side down, until brown and crispy. Flip pork and add the carrots, celery, red onion, fennel, fennel seeds, and beer, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, transfer to 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and cook, uncovered, for 1 and ½ to 2 hours.
To make the fennel honey, toast the fennel seeds in a small sauté pan. Once fragrant, add the honey, and cook over low heat for 2 minutes to allow flavors to come together. To make the fennel salad, combine the napa cabbage, red onion, fennel, mint, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of fennel honey, and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. Toss thoroughly to coat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Once pork belly has finished cooking, brush with the remaining fennel honey, and slice to serve. Serve the pork belly over the fennel salad.
6. Beer-Braised Pork Belly
Pork belly that’s been cooked in a rich and flavorful ale is simply irresistible. Saveur’s recipe, which yields 8 servings, creates a spicy salad that combines richly textured meat, arugula, and pears. Happy dining!
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless pork belly
- 1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 16 ounces Ommegang Hennepin beer (or ale of your choice)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 pickled Calabrian or hot cherry peppers, seeded
- 2 pears, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby arugula
Directions: Rub pork with chili flakes, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet; chill 2 hours. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat ¼ cup oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat. Pat pork dry with paper towels; cook until browned, 10-12 minutes. Add beer; cook until reduced by half, 4-5 minutes. Add stock; boil. Bake, covered, until pork is tender, 1-1 and ½ hours. Let pork cool; cut into 2-inch pieces.
Purée ½ cup pan drippings, plus vinegar, syrup, peppers, and salt in a blender. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pears until golden, 4-6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil and pork to skillet, and cook until brown and slightly crisp, 5-7 minutes. Add vinegar mixture; cook until sauce is thick, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pears and add arugula; toss to combine.
7. Pork Belly Sandwich
Whether you’re looking for a gourmet lunch or a hearty sandwich for dinner, Cooking Channel’s recipe, which yields 4 servings, is guaranteed to make for a mouthwatering meal. The sandwich recipe calls for brioche buns, but feel free to swap it out for the bun of your choice.
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 3½ pounds pork belly, skin off
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup nonpareil capers
- 4 cups arugula
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- 4 eggs
- 4 brioche buns
Directions: Mix the salt and sugar together in a small bowl and coat the pork belly evenly with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the pork belly in a baking pan, uncovered, until firm, 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes. Mix the mayonnaise and capers together in a food processor.
In a separate bowl, dress the arugula with the red wine vinegar. Slice the pork belly in half, lengthwise. Then slice it crosswise into ½-inch slices, which should resemble very thick and short slices of bacon. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 to 3 slices of belly per batch. Cook until crisp on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. In a separate nonstick pan, fry the eggs over-easy, so the yolks are still soft. Spread some caper mayo on each bottom bun, followed by some pork belly, an egg, and some arugula. Press the top buns down so the yolks pop, and serve.