Ultra-Crispy Roasted Pork Belly


You have probably seen this roasted pork belly together with roasted ducks hanging in many Chinese restaurant windows before. Every time we pass by, just the far sign of the golden crispy pork skin would surely set our mouths watering. We found those dishes at X.O. Taste exceptionally delicious. The problems are it is way too far from our place, and their pork belly is quite salty for the kids.

There are dozens of recipes for crispy roasted pork belly out there. I tried every recipe I could get my hand on – none could replicate the crunchy skin texture of those at X.O. Taste. I finally decided to stay with one recipe which yields the most aromatic flavor, played around with different tips to achieve the to-die-for pork skin crackling, and voila! It works!!!!

See the crispy skin?


I would recommend the bone-in pork belly if you cannot find a large boneless one. We could only find those 2″-wide strips of pork belly in supermarkets nearby. These don’t stay flat when baked, so the skin doesn’t crack evenly. Having a bone helps a lot.

Finally, if some parts of the skin crack faster, just cover with a piece of aluminium foil while other sections continue to crack.

This pork belly can be served with rice noodles, herbs, and dipping sauce. Or it can go with white rice and steamed vegetable. My hubby and my kids love to make a sandwich instead. Some thickly-sliced roasted pork, some herbs, plus a few drops of Sriracha, all served with a freshly baked baguette. That’s our special treat for Sunday brunch!


Ultra-Crispy Roasted Pork Belly

(adapted from Viet Spices)

1 piece bone-in pork belly (2-2.5 lbs)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp five-spice powder
1 tsp ground pepper
3 tsp sugar
5 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
Kosher salt
Lime juice

  1. Use a sharp knife to scrape the skin thoroughly to eliminate any dirt or odor. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Use a mortar to smash garlic cloves. Add salt, five-spice powder, pepper, sugar to make a paste.
  3. Rub the marinade mixture to all sides of the pork belly BUT NOT the skin.
  4. Flip the meat skin-side up. Use a fork to prick the skin as much as possible. Please make sure to prick through the skin only, don’t go too deep to the layer of fat below.
  5. Rub kosher salt on the skin. Leave it for about 15 minutes. Then use a paper towel to wipe out the salt, and pat dry completely.
  6. Rub lime juice all over the skin. Leave for about 15 minutes. Use a paper towel to pat dry.
  7. Place the meat WITHOUT any cover in the fridge over night. Any sort of covers will collect moisture and wet the skin.
  8. When ready, preheat the oven to 395 F.
  9. Place pork on a big piece of foil wrap and fold it up like a boat. This method is to keep the meat from being dried and burnt; it also holds off the layer of salt. Last but not least, it prevents the fat from splattering all over the oven.

  10. Pat the meat dry.

  11. Rub lime juice again all over the skin.

  12. Cover the skin with a thick layer of kosher salt. Don’t worry about the saltiness. We will scrape out all of these later. This method comes from ancient Chinese recipe to trap heat and moisture under an airtight crust, forcing seasoning to permeate the food rather than allowing them to escape.
  13. Place the pork on a baking tray and roast for 45-50 minutes.
  14. Remove the pork from the oven. Discard the salt layer.
  15. Put the meat on a lower rack. Broil under high heat for about 5 minutes. Watch constantly.
  16. Let it rest for 10 minutes before chopping.
  17. Serve at room temperature.