Maggie Cooper's roast pork belly.
Maggie Cooper's roast pork belly. 123rf

Have a crack at creating perfect roast pork belly

Of all the roast-meat meals I've churned out in my lifetime as a cook, pork - topped with crunchy, puffy golden crackling - would have to be my favourite.

I've recently perfected the art of cooking pork belly, that succulent cut that features a layer of fat that carries a big flavour punch.

Years ago we were all persuaded to eat lean pork and what a dry and tasteless experience that was. Now, I eat the good stuff, just not often.

Today's roasted pork belly recipe will deliver tender meat that can be carved with a spoon, and golden crunchy skin.

There's no fancy prep for this to achieve a crispy skin; I reverse the usual order and slow-cook the pork for several hours, then bump up the temperature to finish off the crackle.

You won't get the same result from pork that has been frozen, by the way. I don't know why, but it's definitely a "thing”.


Serves 4


1kg pork belly (choose a piece with a good amount of meat under the fat layer)

Your choice of condiment, to serve (try apple sauce or kecap manis - Indonesian sweet soy)

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 130C. Take meat from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and dry well with paper towels. You can score the skin with a very sharp blade (I use a dedicated Stanley knife with replaceable blade for this purpose) if you prefer.

Sit pork in a roasting dish and cook for two hours at 130C, rotating dish several times to ensure even cooking. Drain fat off regularly as it renders.

Increase temperature to 220C and roast for a further 45 minutes to an hour, until skin is crisp and bubbled.

Remove from oven and carve into thick slices.

Season to taste and serve immediately with your choice of condiment.

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