Deana’s Crackling Roast (Siu yuk 燒肉) Pork Belly
Updated: May 6
"Siu yuk" literally translates to roast meat or any type of roast meat in Cantonese cuisine.
There's nothing better than a balance of flavors and textures in food! My husband, children and I cannot resist this delightful crackling roast pork belly. I mean who can say not to pork belly or bacon essentially?
Growing up my family would order a whole pig on special occasions such as a newborn's one month birthday, graduations, new years offerings and weddings. The skin is the first to disappear and then the sweet and salty meat was served in a Vietnamese dry noodle bowl with fresh herbs and lettuce dressed in dipping sauce. Since we don't have too many big celebrations anymore due to everyone's busy schedule, we can at least make a two pound slab of pork belly to satisfy our cravings!
Roast Pork Belly
Siu yuk literally translates to roast meat or any type of roast meat in Cantonese cuisine. However, roasted pork belly is enjoyed in many Asian countries and there are variety of methods to prepare it. The meat is generally based in salt and vinegar and roasted in extreme high heat creating the crackling texture that gives the skin it’s crunch! To make this crackling roast pork belly, you’ll need to plan ahead a day in advance. Or start early in the morning.
Preparing The Skin
The key to success in creating this flaky crunchy crispy skin is in the preparation. The goal is to draw out as much moisture as possible before the cooking process and creating vents in the top skin layer. Think of it as a spa day for the pork belly where you cleanse the skin and apply a procedure such as micro-needling to regenerate the skin's texture. By using a sharp paring knife's tip or anything with a sharp pointy tip, create tiny holes in the pork skin. But never so deep that it goes through the fatty layer. Just focus top layer of the skin. This process will create vents that bubbles up adding to the crispiness of the final product.
Deana’s Crackling Roast (Siu yuk 燒肉) Pork Belly Recipe & Method Instructions
2 lbs slab of pork belly
½ tsp salt
½ tsp five spice seasoning
¼ tsp white pepper
apple cider vinegar
1 cup sea salt
Method (Prep 30-minutes / Cook Time 1-Hour)
Rinse the pork belly in cold water. Then pat dry with paper towels.
Mix salt, five spice and white pepper together.
Flip pork belly over and rub meat underside and all sides with apple cider vinegar and then the spice mix. DO NOT PUT ANYTHING ON THE SKIN.
Flip skin side up again. ***This is an important step that creates the “crackle” on the skin! I use a sharp paring knife’s tip to poke tiny little holes in the skin without cutting into the fatty part under the skin. You don’t want cuts; just tiny needle pricks in the skin. Just like that skin fad where people were micro-needling their faces! This will take approximately 15-20 minutes.***
Leave pork belly uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This process will help dry the skin out.
Next Day. When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350° on bake or air-fryer at 320°.
Take pork belly out of the fridge and rub skin with apple cider vinegar.
Use foil to wrap up the pork belly leaving the foil about ¼ inch higher than the pork belly. Make sure the foil has a snug fit against the pork belly. Add sea salt to the top to create a salt crust. This process will dry out the skin more to aid in crackling. Salt crust will not make meat salty.
Bake in a conventional oven at 350° for 45-minutes on the middle rack. Or in the air-fryer on air-fry at 320° for 30-minutes. Remove pork belly and discard salt crust.
Apply another layer of apple cider vinegar.
Return pork belly to the oven and place on a bit closer to the top and broil on low for additional 15-minutes to puff up the skin. If using airfryer, change airfry to 335° and roast pork belly for 20-minutes until skin bubbles up.
Let rest. Cut using a serrated knife using a sawing motion; but be careful. The skin is so crunchy, it's sharp! Bon Appétit!