But here’s the thing: pork belly is really easy to get right – it just needs long, slow cooking. Score the fat and season the meat generously with your spices of choice, then sit back and relax while it roasts in the oven or grills on the braai. (Yes, you really can cook that belly over the coals.) Affordable, versatile, packed with flavour – say hello to your next showstopping meal!
CRISPY PORK BELLY BUNS
Preheat the grill to 220°C. Score the skin of 1 kg unrolled pork belly. Generously rub with 2 t crushed juniper berries or Asian spice mix and sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and place on a rack in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Pour water into the roasting pan to just under the rack. Roast under the grill for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
Reduce the temperature to 180°C, turn off the grill and roast for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour, topping up the water when necessary. Remove the pork from the oven and rest for 30 minutes. To serve, turn the pork out onto a chopping board, crackling-side down, and cut into chunks.
Serve bahn mi-style in a toasted baguette or ciabatta with pickled onions, mint, fresh coriander, julienne carrots, cucumbers, chilli and spicy mayo.
STICKY BRAAIED PORK BELLY
Simmer ½ cup water, 100 g Demerara sugar and 3 cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and boil for 5 minutes until thickened. Add 6 quartered and stoned plums and 3 T soya sauce and simmer for a further 3–4 minutes until the fruit softens and the juices are rich purple. Add a squeeze of lime juice to taste. (Alternatively, use Woolworths’ plum sauce.)
Remove the skin from 1 x 1.3 kg deboned pork belly. Salt the skin generously and place in the oven under the grill until crisp and golden. Meanwhile, braai the pork belly for 40–45 minutes over medium to low coals, brushing the plum sauce onto the meat for the last 10 minutes of cooking time so it caramelises and doesn’t burn.
Serve the pork belly and crackling with charred pak choi, edamame beans and microgreens.
Discover more at sapork.co.za