Siu Yuk or crispy pork belly can usually be found in the windows of most China Town restaurants. Usually accompanied by Char Siu, Roast Duck and Soy Chicken, usually served as a starter or chopped on a bed of boiled rice or soft noodle.
It's a misconception that making great crispy pork belly with perfect crackling is quite a labour intensive with many recipes calling for drying the joint in the fridge for 12hrs or pouring boiling water over the skin to open the pores. Although these techniques may be beneficial to some extent I believe a simpler approach produces perfect results without any unnecessary messing.
This works brilliantly as a starter as pork belly is naturally fairly fatty with the crackling providing a rich crispy contrast to the soft fatty meat. Give it a go and you won't be disappointed.
- Pork Belly
- Salt 150g
- White pepper 1 Tablespoon
- Shaoxing rice wine 3 Tablespoons
- Five spice 1 Tablespoons
The first step is to season the pork with the salt, pepper, five spice and rice wine vinegar. Brush the rice wine on the meat side of the joint then add the seasoning. Do not add anything to the skin at this point.
Next is the most vital step in the process to ensure the skin gets extra crispy. Get something pointy like a toothpick or metal skewers and stab the skin creating little holes over the surface. This is quite time-consuming and tedious but if neglected the skin won't puff up and therefore remain quite leathery and hard to chew. The small holes will provide avenues for the fat to render leaving extra crispy crackling. Try and ensure the skin surface is completely covered in small holes, the more the better.
Once the meat has been seasoned and the skin has been pricked place the joint in a roasting tin on top of some tin foil. Pat the skin dry with kitchen paper then cover with coarse sea or pink salt. You need the salt to be large enough so it can be easily removed after cooking. The salt will draw water from the skin which will encourage the skin to crisp when grilling at the next stage. Fold the tin foil around the edges of the joint to create a snug fit. By doing this the pork will cook in its own juices that are released when cooking.
Place in a pre-heated oven at 160c for two hours. After two hours the pork should resemble the picture below on the left. Shake off as much salt as possible and turn on the grill function of your cooker. Set on a medium to high setting and place the pork on a rack below.
Controlling the temperature of the grill is quite important to get great crackling. Too hot and the skin will burn and too low and it won't puff. You should hear the skin start to hiss and crackle which is a good indicator the temp is good. Grill for a further 15 minutes until the crackling is perfectly crisp. You can see the difference the grilling makes to the skin in the comparison pictures above,
Remove the joint from the grill once the surface has fully blistered and the skin is extra crispy. Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Chop the pork into small squares and serve with some plum sauce, pak choi and basmati rice.