Chinese crispy roast pork belly is a classic celebration dish that is a show stopper when done correctly. I’ve tried making this many times in the past and this is the method I use to get the perfect crispy skin every time. No need to boil or poke holes in the skin, all you need is to dry it out 1 day in advance.
How to prepare pork belly
You will want to use a 4 lbs piece of pork belly which I cut in half to make 2 separate portions. I find that when I cut them in half, they cooked more even. I season only the meat side with five spice, garlic powder, salt, and brown sugar. Let this sit in the fridge, skin side up uncovered overnight to dry out the skin. You can also do this 2 days in advance which will end up even better.
Why the air fryer is best for crispy roast pork
From my experience, I have found that using the air fryer to crisp up the skin is better than any other conventional oven. The reason being, an air fryer circulates heat much better than a regular oven which leads to a more evenly cooked outcome. Many times, I have tried to bake in a conventional oven and only half of my pork belly skin will crisp up and the other half will stay hard. If you do not have an air fryer, I would use a convection oven at the highest temperature.
Why cook crispy roast pork salt?
By cooking the pork with a layer of salt, it dries out the skin even more during the initial cooking phase. This initial phase is meant to cook the meat and not make the skin crispy yet. After this, you remove all the salt and blast it in an air fryer to achieve that perfect crispy crackling.
Chinese Crispy Roast Pork
- 4 lbs pork belly (skin on)
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- ½ cup kosher salt (for topping)
- Cut your pork belly in half, you want it about a 8×6 inch slab.4 lbs pork belly
- Season ONLY the meat side with five spice, brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt.1 tsp five spice powder, 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt
- Let it sit in the fridge over a wire rack with the skin side up overnight. This will allow the skin to dry up.
- Next day, create a tin foil boat that tightly wraps around the meat side of the pork belly.
- Brush the skin with vinegar, and add enough salt to fully cover the skin. You want to use koshers salt or something more coarse so that it doesn't actually penetrate the skin. Sea salt is too fine.3 tbsp white vinegar, ½ cup kosher salt
- Place in an oven at 325F for 1.5 hours. The meat will cook and shrink, causing it to get taller. The reason I use the oven and not the air fryer in this step is because the air fryer fan is very intense and will blow away all the salt.
- Remove all the salt from the skin. Brush with another layer of vinegar.
- Place into an air fryer at 450F for 30 minutes checking every 10 minutes until the skin is crispy and light. If you do not have an air fryer, place it into your oven at the highest setting.
- Cut into it and serve with hoisin sauce.
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