I’ve had good pork belly with perfect crispy skin in restaurants, and I’ve also had not so good ones. I’ve tried to cook it myself unsuccessfully too, until now. You see, the crispy skin is an absolute must making this dish a fantastic one. If I have pork belly with a disappointing skin, I feel cheated. In the past, the prep of the pork has required scoring and spice rubbing of the skin, and then still ending up with either half cooked or too cooked skin that’s thick and tough. No more of this problem, since after my extensive research I decided to try salt crust baked method. It worked beautifully, and gave me the best pork belly I’ve ever cooked!
900g – 1kg piece of pork belly
1 clove garlic
2-3 stalk of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1-2 dl table salt, depending on the size of the meat
1. Dry the piece of meat on all sides with a kitchen tissue. Mix the marinade ingredients together, and rub on the meat side only. Put in a container, skin side up. dry the skin again, cover and leave in a fridge for 2 hours (or longer).
2. In a roasting tin, add about 1cm (half an inch) of water at the bottom. Place the pork on a rack. Pat dry the skin once more, and pour the salt on the skin. The salt will become a hard crust during cooking, and will be easy to remove later on. There is no need to score / slit the skin.
3. Cook at 170°C / 340°F for 40 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, and turn the heat up to 240°C / 465°F. Remove the salt crust. If any salt has fallen onto the meat on the sides, scrape off. Cook in the hot oven for further 30 minutes. You should end up with a perfectly crispy, golden colour skin and juicy meat.
5. Rest the meat for about 5-10 minutes, covered with foil.