Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Siu Yuk)
Crispy Roast Pork Belly 脆皮燒肉
Home-made crispy roast pork belly (Siu Yok/Shao Rou) may sound daunting, but it is actually quite easy, thanks to the oven doing the bulk of the work. Most of the preparation time is a no-work zone – chilling the marinated meat in the fridge, or slow-roasting it in the oven. Home-made crispy roast pork is superior to store-bought ones because of the super crispy and crackling skin. It is so crispy that you can hear the nosiy, firecracker music as you are slicing the meat and eating it. Feel free to increase the quantity of meat in this recipe (adjust the marinade ingredients accordingly) so long as they occupy one layer in the oven during roasting. If you have leftover roast pork, you can use them in your stir-fries and fried rice.
- 750g pork belly (uncut slab)
- 2 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1/2 tbsp five-spice powder
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- kitchen paper towels
- bamboo skewer (satay stick)
- oven-safe ramekin and roasting tray
1. Use kitchen tweezers to pull out stray hair on the pork belly skin, if any. Use a knife to scrap the skin for a few minutes to remove impurities. Rinse pork belly stab and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Holding a small knife in a stabbing action, make short diagonal slits with the tip of the knife on the surface of the skin (but not cutting into the meat) at random. I asked the market butcher to help me with this step when I bought the meat.
3. Combine 1 tsp salt, 5-spice powder and white pepper in a small bowl. Rub the marinade all over the meat portion only. If any marinade gets on the skin, rub it off with a paper towel.
4. Rub the remaining 1 tsp salt on the skin. Place pork belly on a plate, uncovered, skin side up and let it marinade for a few hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator. The purpose is to dry the skin thoroughly and also to allow the marinade to seep into the meat.
5. When ready to roast, first place a ramekin in the center of a semi-deep roasting tray (I am using a bread tin). Fill the tray with some water and place the pork belly on the ramekin. Be careful not to let the skin get wet, if that happens, pat dry with paper towel.
6. Bake the pork belly at preheated oven of 220°C for 30 minutes to get the blistering on the skin started.
7. By this time, the skin will be softened and you can see some blistering on the skin. Using a bamboo skewer, poke as many holes as you can on the portion of the skin which is still soft.
8. Return pork belly and roast at 200°C for another 90 minutes, or until the skin is roasted to crispy perfection. At every 30 minutes interval, top up the water in the tray and poke holes with a bamboo skewer on the portion of the skin which is still soft.
9. Place the cooked pork on a wire rack and allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting.
10. Scrap off charred areas from the skin, if any, with a knife. Place the meat on a chopping board, skin side down. Slice a strip of pork, and further cut the strip to smaller, bite-sized pieces.
1. Tips for getting perfect crispy skin:
- The skin has to be very dry and hence it is recommended to dry it in the refrigerator for a few hours, preferably overnight.
- The slits and holes made on the skin (not so deep that it cut into the meat) helps it to crackle, so make as many as you can but do not cut into the meat.
- Roast the pork on a higher rack closer to the heating coil.
2. The water helps the meat to be tender and moist, while allowing the oil to drip directly onto it for easy cleaning.
3. Before the meat has been cooked, the skin is very tough and it is difficult to make cuts on it. Some recipes suggest blanching the meat first but I find that after blanching, the meat will not absorb the marinade well. Hence I use my method of first making slits on the raw skin with the tip of the knife by holding the knife in a stabbing action (I saw my butcher doing so). After the meat has been roasted for 30 minutes, the skin will be soft and it will now be very easy to poke holes on the skin using bamboo skewers.