Two raw pork belly joints

How to buy pork belly

You don’t need to be an expert to know how to buy good pork belly. You can either buy it as a whole piece (pictured below left) or pre-sliced from a butcher or a supermarket.

Be sure to pick out a cut that has a rich, pink colour. Covered by a firm, creamy layer of fat, this will produce the best crackling.  These points normally indicate quality meat, so avoid buying pork belly with a brown or greyish hue to it. Pork belly can come with or without bones, and while boneless is easier, when cooked, the bones are easily removable.

How to store pork belly

Knowing how to store pork belly will give you the best results when it comes to cooking. Uncooked pork belly should be wrapped as tightly as possible in freezer bags or wraps, or store in an air-tight container towards the bottom of the fridge.

Store at 5°c or below in the fridge (check your fridge is cold enough by using a fridge thermometer) for up to 2 days and 4-6 months in the freezer at -18°C.

The same applies to leftovers, but there won’t be much left over after you’ve tried it!


How to prepare pork belly

The aim of the game here is to get super succulent meat as well as deliciously crispy crackling. Preparation is key, so to do this:

  • Pierce the fat in multiple places with a fork and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, or herb mix of your choosing and oil. Any combination works great with pork belly so get creative!
  • To get the most out of your pork belly, you should look to do this 24 hours before cooking, then store in the fridge for the meat to absorb the seasoning
Pork and noodle salad on a white plate

How to cook pork belly

The best way to get maximum results with pork belly is to go low and slow. The meat needs time to break down slowly while the fat renders. For the best results:

  • Rub the skin with plenty of salt and oil
  • Transfer to a roasting rack in a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven for 2 hours at 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark  4, then a further 30 mins or so at 200°C, 180°C fan, Gas Mark 6
  • The internal temperature should be 74°C. Check this with a temperature thermometer or probe.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and loosely cover with foil, allowing it to rest at least 10 minutes before carving, to ensure tenderness and succulence.

The key to cracking crackling

Want to know how to make perfect crackling? Then discover our how to make crackling guide.