With a luscious interior and perfectly crisp crackling, this is everything roasted meat should be.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 1 lb. (4-lb.) slab pork belly (1 3/4″ thick)
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. baking soda
- 5 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or sake
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. mashed red fermented bean curd
- 1 tbsp. fine sea salt
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. five-spice powder
- Place pork on a work surface, skin side up. Using a pork-skin pricking tool, an ice pick, or a carving fork, prick skin all over, making hundreds of small holes that just puncture the surface; set pork aside.
- Dissolve baking soda in 5 cups boiling water. Transfer water to a measuring cup with a spout. Grasp one corner of the pork belly with tongs. Holding pork belly over a bowl or the sink, slowly pour the baking soda mixture in a thin stream over pork skin to scald it.
- Transfer pork to a work surface, skin side down. Using a knife, score the meat, making 1″-deep parallel slits spaced 1 1⁄2″ apart.
- Combine 3 tbsp. rice wine, sugar, bean curd, salt, and five-spice powder in a small bowl and pour marinade over the meat.
- Rub marinade all over the meat, pushing it into the slits. Transfer pork skin side up to a baking dish. Wipe any moisture from skin with a paper towel. Refrigerate pork belly uncovered overnight to let marinate as the skin air-dries.
- Heat oven to 375°. Thread 3 metal skewers horizontally through the meat layer of the pork belly (to prevent the pork from curling as it cooks). Transfer pork skin side up to a rack set over a foil-lined roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Wipe skin again with a paper towel.
- Pour remaining rice wine over skin and brush to distribute. Pour hot water into pan to a depth of 1⁄4″. Cook pork on center oven rack until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 160°, about 1 hour. Raise heat to broil and cook until skin is blistered and browned, 5–10 minutes. Before serving, let pork rest 15 minutes. To serve, cut into 1″ slices.