Recipe: Roast belly pork (best crackling EVER!)


People keep asking me for my belly pork recipe (well, it’s not so much a recipe as a method), so I’ve decided to let you in on the secrets :D

Belly pork is a really under used cut of meat, with most people avoiding it because it’s quite fatty. HOWEVER if you cook it right (low & slow) that fat renders right down and keeps your meat moist and delicious, giving you great juices to create the best gravy too! As an added bonus, because it’s an under used cut you’ll be able to find belly pork really cheap!

How to Roast Belly Pork

For this method it’s better to use a slab of belly pork rather than the slices that you generally get, although if you can’t get a slab these will also work fine (you’ll just find some of the steps a little tricksy). You can get belly pork cut to your liking at a local butchers.

If you’re scared of bones, the slices may be best for you, as generally the slabs come with their bones left in :O I actually prefer to cook meat on the bone, especially with something like this, as it helps keep the roast moist and gives the cut some support in the tray.

You need to do preparation the night before and leave the meat in the fridge over night, so make sure you leave time and have space on a shelf in there!

First things first, if your butchers says ‘d’ya want it scoring, love?‘ say yes. Otherwise, it’s time to whip your your stanley knife and criss-cross the skin with 1cm deep cuts. It’s good to work in a lattice, so you’re left with diamond shaped bits of skin. Here, have a sketch:

score belly pork

My butcher scored my pork, and didn’t do the criss-crossy thing like I’ve illustrated above, everything still worked out well, but I really think the crisscrossy-ness gives you better pieces of crackling in the long run.

raw pork belly

Righto, done that? Next step, this is a bit of a weird one, and a way that my mum told me to prepare pork for good crackling. Put the kettle on! You’re gunna scauld the hell out of it.

Put your pork on a wire rack (if you don’t have one, just put it in your roasting tray). Carefully pour the boiling water over the skin until you’ve used the kettle full. If you’ve used a roasting tray, quickly empty out the water before if starts cooking the meat! You’ll notice that the edges of the scoring will have contracted, pulling away from each other and widening the gaps – perfect stage for adding the seasoning. Transfer your belly pork into a suitably sized tray for roasting.

Using rock salt and black pepper, get that seasoning right into the gaps and all over the skin. Turn the meat over and repeat the seasoning on the underneath.

raw pork belly

It should look kinda like it does above now. Time to put it in the fridge over night, this lets the salt do it’s work of pulling any moisture from the skin and helping towards getting the best crackling!

Cooking time can vary, but I’d say put aside at least 2 hours (perhaps 3 if you can!) for roasting. Preheat the oven on it’s very highest setting. Put your pork in on the middle shelf, and wait until you see the skin & top layers of fat puff right up (thanks, Jamie Oliver!), as soon as the skin looks like it’s bubbled and puffed as much as it’s going to, whack the heat right down low to around gas mark 3 (160ºc).

roast belly pork

After about an hour, baste the pork with it’s juices. Your roast will be ready when the skin can pull away from the meat, and before anything starts burning ;) If you are in a rush, increase the temp to gas mark 4 and you should be ok.

Break up the crackling, serve with gravy made from the remaining juices & mash potato. Yum!


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  • Shame i'm veggie, that looks killer!

  • Gemma

    Fantastic! I did this over the weekend and it was beautiful thank u :)

    • kim

      That’s great Gemma! I’m glad it worked out well for you :)

  • Bridie

    So easy even I could do it and it was great

    • kim

      I’m glad you found it useful Bridie! It’s such a tastey roast :)

  • gonna try this now and place a chicken under it to catch all the drips

  • Steve

    Do you get the meat out of the fridge 50 mins or longer before putting in the oven to let it get to room temp? Or just straight from fridge?

    • kim

      I think I just put it straight from the fridge, Steve!

  • Laurence

    Thanks for this! It’s let me do killer crackling every time and show up all my friends and family!

  • Dave

    This looks brilliant… Will give this a go tonight first time ever cooking a roast and i’m 20 thats good going i think.

  • Sejal

    Going to try this tomorrow for my hubby. Its his favourite! I have read somewhere that its best to roast the meat on a wire rack with some water underneath (to keep moist). Anyone tried this and find it makes it better/worse?

  • Mich

    WHHOOOOW!!! I’m 53 years old – the FIRST time ever ever ever that my crackling came out so fab!! Thanks!

  • Sal

    Tried this method yesterday and yes it was without doubt the best crackling I’ve ever achieved, so thank you!

    • Sal

      Oh, and I’m 42 and have cooked a LOT of pork!

  • patricia

    Kim, just going to try sounds just what i want, will let you know how it is. thank you Patricia

  • Ron

    Hi, just found your site prepared it last night although I had two bottles of red!. However, before I look in the fridge can I ask if you need to add oil?

  • Malcolm

    Great am going to try it , thanks

  • julie

    I LOVE good crackling but its always been a bit of hit and miss if the crackling turns out well when ive tried the rubbing salt, leaving overnight and pouring boiling water over. a butcher recently gave me a fantastic tip that has worked every single time to get really good crackling. the night before score skin, rub salt in and put in the fridge. on the day of cooking take out a few hours before cooking to bring up to room temperature and brush milk over the skin then roast on high for 20 mins then reduce heat to gas 3. perfect crackling every time!! the milk thing works for me every time!!

  • Mark

    Superb Kim, cooked this three times now (love it) and the crackling has been perfectly crunchy and light every time; the boiling water is a stroke of genius! The wire rack trick works well too.

    Thanks heaps :)

  • Gillian

    Found this very helpful with a GREAT result. Have passed this on to friends as it is so good.
    Many thanks for the tips.

  • Andy S

    I stumbled upon your website the other day and tried this today. It was superb. I added a bit of garlic purée and some fresh Rosemary to the rub, and I had to blast the pork on a high heat at the end for 20 mins to get the fat really crisp, but it came out beautifully. The meat melted in the mouth!

  • Jenny

    Thankyou so much for sharing this. I’ve had pork done this way plenty of times at friends houses and love it but have never successfully managed to cook it myself at home. In fact my previous attempts have been that bad that I’ve avoided cooking pork altogether!
    I started yesterday by following your scalding technique and preparation and have just finished eating the most epically succulent roast pork with the most amazing crackling ever!
    If I can get results like this from following your instructions, anyone can and I would definately recommend they try it too.
    Thankyou so much.

  • Here I am over 60 and that is the first successful crackling I have done! Thanks

  • tried your recipe and it came out fantastic thank you so much