Ollie Dabbous’ Ibaïama pork belly

The pork belly would be lovely braised on a low heat in a light dashi or simply with some water and vegetables. If doing so, given it is a large piece of meat, it will benefit from salting first: season well with rock salt and leave for 2 hrs, before washing off in cold running water. It will realistically need a good 3-4hrs gentle simmering to yield melting results.

The recipe below is for a Chinese-style roast pork belly that gives a very light crackling. There are a few steps involved, but they each take very little time and the end result is well worth it - much lighter and delicate than the norm.


1 piece  Ibaïama pork belly, boneless, skin on 

100g Apple or white wine vinegar

100g Coarse rock salt 


-       Score pork skin all over using a sharp knife, criss-cross shape and very close so it looks like a mesh.

-       Place in boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam) and refresh in ice; pat dry very well.

-       Place skin side down in enough vinegar to cover only the skin and place a weight on top if needed to keep it flat (Vinegar should not touch the meat; just the skin).

-       Sit in fridge for 12hrs or overnight, then wash well and pat dry very well. Score again as much as possible.  Air dry uncovered in fridge for at least a further 12hrs.

-       Season the pork belly (flesh not skin) all over with fine salt and place on tin foil.

-       Crimp up the foil around the belly to cover all sides tightly and come up 1cm above the level of the pork.

-       Skewer the meat lengthways with 2 metal skewers (this is to stop the meat buckling) and place rock salt all over the skin

-       Cook with salt on top for 75mins at 180C.

-       Remove from oven and brush away all of the salt to remove and rest for 10 mins.

-       In this time, raise the oven temp to 220C and return the pork to the oven for 15 mins or until the skin is crispy, puffed and golden.

-       Remove foil and skewers and rest for a minimum of 20 mins before carving.



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