I had a craving. Chinese Style Roast Pork. Crunchy skin. Layer of fat that melts in your mouth. Meat that is tender and moist. Not too salty. I still haven’t found a Chinese BBQ place in the Bay Area that satisfies all my criteria.
I decided this would be the perfect time to try my aunt’s roast pork recipe. I went to Drewes and ordered 3 lbs pork belly skin on! The butcher said someone would call when it was in. I got that call two days later.
The fresh pork belly was from Niman Ranch.
The butcher’s cut turned out to be over 3lbs. All good.
This is one big piece of meat.
The pork belly skin side up. It was folded over at one end so wasn’t the most even of cuts.
Pat dry skin with paper towel. Man, the shape of the skin looks really weird.
I pulled and tugged and finally got the pork belly looking more or less nice and uniform.
Next step “Using a fork with 10 close-set, sharp tines, or a similar metal piercing instrument, pierce the skin rind vigorously and repeatedly, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is entirely covered with fine holes”. Hmmm. I have many forks. Will one of these do? I should have shot video to illustrate but my fork didn’t make a dent in the skin. I tried to pierce it like I was trying to kill something. No dice.
Undaunted, I got serious and busted out a bigger fork. I will not be defeated.
This fork did the trick. I don’t know if the holes made count as “fine holes” as described in the instructions but it would have to do. I started developing calluses on my hand after about 10 minutes. I switched it up and found a pair of gloves.
I tried to evenly distribute the holes and cover the entire skin rind. The gloves were too slippery and uncomfortable. I stopped at the 15 minute mark.
Prepare the marinade. Mix salt, sugar, ground yellow bean sauce, hoisin sauce, thin soy sauce, and five-spice powder together in a small bowl.
All this time I was thinking about step #6 which said “Using 2 butcher’s meat hooks, hang the pork up in a windy place for about 8 hours, or overnight”. How am I going to hang this belly? Maybe we could use a coat hanger and hook the belly! On second thought, scratch that. How about a coat hanger that has those clips on them to hold up pants? Uh, don’t think so.
Anna had the best idea which was to poke a hole in the meat and then string the meat up to hang. I probably wouldn’t do this if presentation counted though. I took out the carving knife and started working.
Rub salt all over the skin.
Make horizontal cuts on the flesh side about 1″ apart and 1/2″ deep.
Smear marinade on the flesh side. Avoid smearing marinade along the sides of the pork. It’ll burn when roasted.
Where the heck am I going to hang this? Here’s the answer.
I think we need a wide angle shot of this.
Good night pork. See you in the morning.
Morning came a bit earlier than hoped.
I decided to roast this and have it for breakfast. I cut the string and let the pork belly down gently. It did look noticeably drier.
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place the pork, skin side up, on a rack in the top half of the oven over a pan of hot water to catch drippings. Roast for 15 minutes and then reduce oven to 375F for about 1 hour.
Once time is up remove pork from oven. At first it looked pretty good but then I noticed was that there was a pool of fat on top! I’m thinking I didn’t pierce the skin with enough fine holes?
I drained the fat off the skin and placed on cutting board.
I cut a piece off and ate it…all. I thought taste-wise it was excellent. Nothing like the saltiness you tend to get when going to a Chinese BBQ.
The meat was super moist.
The only disappointment was that the skin was not excellent crackling. There were certain sections of the roast pork that had it but unfortunately that was few and far between. I’m still thinking it was the lack of fine hole coverage?
I will definitely do this recipe again but will try to improve upon a few things to see if I can get that distinctive cracking!
I was going to include two other recipes in this blog post where I used the roast pork made here to create two additional dishes. However, I think I’ll cover them in a separate post if for no other reason I want to get this published!
The first recipe I actually made up and it is a stir-fry of sliced roast pork, spinach, and carrots which I thought was pretty good. The other was a steamed shrimp paste-based roast pork recipe that my mum gave me a long time ago. It’s excellent.