As a meat lover, fried pork belly is one of my go-to weekly meat dinners. I love this show-stopper dish because it's juicy, tender, and super easy to prepare.
After trying out different fried pork recipes, I finally found one that yields the crispiest and most flavorful fried pork belly.
Today, I'll share my favorite deep-fried pork belly recipe and give you different side dishes to pair and enjoy with this delicious crunchy crackling.
Let's get started.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1hr
- Number of Servings: 3
- 500g pork belly
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Spring onions
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp kosher salt for the meat
- Prick as many holes as possible on the pig skin with a metal skewer but don't pierce through the meat.
- Using a sharp knife, score the skin into 1-inch strips.
- Add water, salt, spring onions, ginger, and black pepper in a large pot. Then place the pork belly meat and bring it to a boil on medium heat for at least 40-60 minutes.
- Once all the water has evaporated, transfer pork meat to a paper towel-lined surface to air dry. Then chop it into bite-size strips.
- Add oil to a heated pan and fry your pork belly with soy sauce for a couple of minutes on each side until they crisp up to your liking.
- Here you can add other spices you like or go in Chinese cooking wine for a distinct taste.
- Garnish your crispy fried pork belly with fresh cilantro, and serve immediately with your favorite side dish.
- Score the pork skin to allow the flavor of your spice mix to seep into the fat and meat beneath to crisp up.
- If your pork belly slices aren't as crisp as you'd want, broil them skin side up for a few minutes to cook them to your liking.
- The pork belly's skin must be dry to bubble and crisp up. I liberally sprinkled the pig's skin with black pepper and salt before frying on high heat. Additionally, salt also helps the skin to become crisp and golden brown.
- Remember to start the deep frying on high heat as well for a crispy skin finish.
- Calories: 297 kcal
- Protein: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Fat: 30g
- Saturated Fat: 10g
- Cholesterol: 40mg
- Sodium: 600mg
- Calcium: 4mg
- Vitamin C: 0.2mg
- Iron: 0.4mg
Choosing The Best Pork Belly Meat
Choosing the ideal pork belly is one of the key steps to making the perfect crispy pork belly at home. Here's how to do so.
1. Check The Color
If you have prior experience picking the right pork belly cut for crackling, you can go right ahead and select a pork belly slice on your own.
Choose a pork skin cut that has a healthy pink shade, and if you notice any dark or gray-colored pork belly, it would be best to avoid those.
Always pick a tight, firm pork belly with a white covering of fat.
2. Check The Fat Content
You want a good fat-to-flesh mix (about 50:50 is ideal) and an equal concentration of both, with even coatings of intramuscular fat between the muscles.
This guarantees that when it comes time to slice your pork belly, there will be no sections with very little flesh and an uneven spread of drained fat. The fat also yields a crispy surface during the frying process.
3. Talk To Your Butcher
Your knowledgeable butcher will be able to provide you with the most precise guidance on how to determine the size of pork belly roast to purchase to feed the number of guests you're hosting.
Your butcher will also be able to provide expert guidance on the optimal roasting time needed to make delightful crackling for your family and visitors, depending on the weight/size of the pork belly cut you choose.
4. Inquire About Cooking Techniques
The best-fried pork belly results will come from talking with your butcher about preparing the dish, especially if it's your first time.
They will advise on the most effective way to make your fried pork belly, depending on your selected cut; either deep fry or pan-fried.
Not only would the butcher know which pork cut is perfect, but they might also share certain unique and practical techniques for scoring and frying the pig cut to produce a delectable fried pork belly dish.
5. Read The Label
This is important if you're buying packed belly pork from a supermarket. Reading the label lets you see the sell-by date so that you don't blindly buy expired pork meat.
If you plan to try this recipe much later, it's important to buy meat with a longer shelf life that you'll refrigerate until you're ready to cook it.
Side Dishes for Pan-Fried Pork Belly
To help you savor and enjoy your filling pan-fried pork belly dish, I've curated a list of the best side dishes to pair it with.
1. Roasted Potatoes
Roasted red potatoes are a fantastic side dish to serve alongside your crunchy pan-fried pork belly. They are generally flavorful and have a thin skin that crisps up nicely when baked in an air fryer or roasted on medium-high heat.
I recommend red potatoes because they have a neutral flavor that matches nicely with various foods, including deep-fried cracklings.
The tenderness of the potatoes complements the softness of the pan-fried pork belly on the inside and the crispiness of the outside peel. If you love gourmet foods, season your roast potatoes with the famous Chinese five-spice powder.
Whatever entrée you serve, it always pairs beautifully with a nutritious and refreshing salad platter. That is what I appreciate about this side dish.
The crispness of the veggies contrasts with the softness of the pork belly. It also has a mild taste, so it won't compete with the star of your dish. Plus, it's super versatile, and you may make it with whatever dish you like.
You may also top your salad with pork belly. A salad with deep-fried pork belly, pineapple, and caramelized walnuts is the ideal balance of sweet, crispy, and salty flavors.
However, I recommend a lighter dressing, such as a balsamic glaze, as the taste will not overshadow the pork belly this way.
3. Garlic Sauce Broccoli
This dish is popular in Chinese restaurants and has a distinct taste. When preparing this dish, the garlic stir-fry sauce generally plays a large part, owing to its excellent flavor.
Crafting a homemade copy of this dish is relatively simple, and the good news is that it only requires a few ingredients.
Because broccoli florets are often large, stirring while cooking will ensure that it cooks evenly. Avoid overcooking them, as they will lose their crunchy texture.
The more garlic you use, the better the taste, and you get a thick paste as well. This is a delectable side dish for your crispy pork belly, and its ease of preparation makes it a go-to meal on my busy weeknight menu.
4. Pickled Vegetables Burger
This burger is precisely the thing for a weekend treat. This meal is adaptable and may be made in various ways while maintaining the same taste and aroma.
I recommend slow cooking the meat until soft and tender before frying it to golden and crisp skin for best results. The layering of the burger is entirely up to you since you may use whatever condiments suit your tastes.
You can top this burger with pickled veggies, jalapenos, and chili. You can also easily make a gluten-free version by substituting different ingredients and using gluten-free ones.
“The acidity of pickled vegetables cut out the rich umami burger notes resulting in a more appealing taste.”
- Delia Smith, Executive Chef
5. Baked Sprouts
Brussels sprouts aren't the most famous vegetables because they tend to have an awful odor and bitter flavor when wrongly cooked.
The trick to delicious Brussels sprouts is not to overcook them. First, coat them with hot oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast them to perfection!
When done correctly, they're actually sweet and nutty; you'll devour them right off the baking sheet.
Is Deep Fry Pork Belly Healthier Than Bacon?
Yes, deep fry pork belly is better than bacon because it has fewer nutrition calories and additives, and it's not cured meat.
How Long Do You Cook Crispy Pork Belly For?
You cook crispy pork belly for at least 90 minutes for the best results. However, the cooking time will differ depending on the size of the meat cut and your cooking technique.
The Ultimate Pork Belly Recipe
Crispy pork belly is a rich, delicious meal ideal for entertaining guests at home. It has a delicate and crunchy texture which many people adore.
Even though this dish can instantly satisfy hungry bellies, you must first get your hands on the best-grade pork belly meat sourced from reputable companies like ButcherBox.
I've been using ButcherBox for two years now, and I can attest that this company is a total game changer for your health and table. They offer meat sourced from humanely raised animals that are hormone and antibiotics-free.