Crackling roast pork is the love of many. Do you know that this is possible to be done at home? Yes, your very own roasted pork may taste better than the commercial ones.
I know there are many ways of preparing roast pork but so far, out the the many roast pork dishes from different cultures, being Thai style, German style etc, the Chinese crackling roast pork definitely deserves your attention.
If you enjoy roasted pork especially its crackling skin, it is the biggest regret should you never try to attempt roast pork the Chinese way.
Why do I say that?
Well… I don’t know how to begin with but the Chinese are so fond of eating pork that they have thousands of ways to prepare it. Just like science experiments, the more you do the closer you are to the answer, I suppose.
So if you too share the sentiments of preparing roast pork to perfection, please give this recipe a try. Even if you have your very own secret recipe, you will still find some of the tips that I share here will inspire you to perfect your dish, especially in the way to achieve the crackling effect.
The Chinese crackling roast pork is juicy the first second you sink your teeth into the meat, but of course you will first heard the crackling sound of the skin when bite. Imagine the experience of savoury meat juice meets the burst of flavours from crackling skin, you can only make it better should you have a glass of ice beer or cola to go with it.
Once you do it the right way as suggested by following the recipe and tips that I shared, you are on the highway of no return. So here comes the recipe:
- Pork belly 1pce (approx. 12inch length x 3-1/2inch width)
- Chinese cooking wine (preferably Shao Xing) 1 tblsp
- Salt to taste (enough to be applied to meat surface except the skin)
- White pepper 1/4 tsp
- Five spice powder 1/2 tsp
- Red fermented beancurd 1/2 pce (optional)
- Coarse salt (for baking use)
- Clean pork belly, remove tiny hairs on the skin.
- In a big mixing bowl, place the pork belly with skin facing down.
- Rub salt all over the pork except the skin. If you enjoy saltier taste, rub more salt or vice-versa.
- Repeat step 3 with Chinese cooking wine.
- Apply white pepper and five spice powder to the top of the pork belly only (skin is facing down still). Avoid sides too.
- Massage well before you turned over the pork belly with skin facing up.
- Use a paper towel, pat dry any moisture on the skin. Prick the skin for first round.
- Wrap the pork belly with cling film with skin exposing.
- Store in fridge overnight.
How to treat the skin?
On next day…
- Bring the pork belly out, prick the skin for second round.
- Pat dry using paper towel.
- Repeat this step a few more times if you enjoy the luxury of time.
It’s time to bake
- Bring pork belly out from the fridge, let it return to room temperature before sending into oven.
- Preheat oven to 200°C for at least 15min.
- Wrap the pork belly with aluminium foil.
- Apply a layer of coarse salt on top of the skin.
- Bake for 40-50min.
- Bring out pork belly, remove the salt on top.
- Bake again with whole piece of pork belly exposed.
- It takes about 30-45min for the crackling skin to form.
- Bring out the roast pork once the crackling skin is golden brown and the meat is fully cooked.
Now that your masterpiece is ready, you have the honour of cutting it in front of your diners. Following is a short clip to demonstrate how I cut the crackling roast pork.
If you use cut like I did, you will end up having the delicious trio, namely sar lei dok (I trust this is Hakka but I don’t know how to translate it to English, it is the darker meat you see on top left of the image), flavourful meat juice from roasting and finally, deng deng deng deng… the roasted belly that is perfect in every bite!
self check…how do you know that you make it to perfection?
In summary, we want to achieve the following:
- Whole piece of meat is fully cooked. In case you are unsure but very particular about this, you may insert a thermometer into the center of the meat at the thickest part, which is typically the coolest and the last to cook. Observe the temperature during baking reaches at least 63°C (145°F).
- Skin has loosely expanded during baking, it turns golden brown and crackling. Please note that it is not just crispiness that we want to achieve here.
- Meat is still tender and juicy.
- Meat is well marinated and tasty but not overly salty.
Now, you are good to go, be the best roast pork master in your clan, your guests will sure ask for more after their tried your cooking…