Three-hour pork belly

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus marinating


Serves 6
Still a relatively cheap cut, pork belly yields beautiful soft flesh and crisp crackling when slow-roasted

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal585
  • fat44g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs2g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein45g
  • salt0.83g
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  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch thyme, leaves only


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1½ -2kg/3lb 5oz-4lb 8oz piece boneless pork belly, skin scored
  • 2 lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…


  1. Toast the fennel seeds and peppercorns in a dry frying pan for a couple of mins. Pound them together in a pestle and mortar with some flaked sea salt, the thyme and garlic to make a paste. Mix with 2 tbsp olive oil and rub all over the flesh of the pork. Cover and chill, leaving to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

  2. When ready to cook, rub the skin of the joint with plenty of salt and 1 tbsp more olive oil. Sit on a wire rack in a roasting tin and roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 30 mins. After this time, squeeze the lemons over the skin and turn the heat down to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Roast for a further 2 hrs. Finally, turn the heat back up to 220C/ 200C fan/gas 7 and give it a final blast for another 30 mins or so, to finish the crackling. Allow to rest somewhere warm for 20 mins. Carve up into chunks or slices and serve with the braised cabbage (below) and bay-infused potatoes (see 'Goes well with', right).

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Comments (49)

clairemc28's picture

This recipe makes the most delicious belly pork you will ever taste, absolutely outstanding. I marinated the pork overnight. The meat was so flavoursome and juicy despite having been cooked for three hours and the crackling perfect. I also made the braised red cabbage with apple and served it with leek and potato mash, green beans and gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I can't wait to cook it again mm mm mm.

aggy-pants's picture

I'd never cooked pork belly before and was dubious about cooking it, however, after using this recipe I'm a convert. It was easy to make, totally delicious, moist, crispy mmmmm, I'm making my mouth water just thinking about it. I'll definitely be doing pork belly again using this recipe, gorgeous!

neilcmr's picture

Made this for Christmas dinner in South Korea. Luckily we have a Costco here where I can get this cut of meat. I couldn't find fresh thyme so I used rosemary and marinaded over night. I saved the second lemon and basted the roast a second time after 2.5 hours. I had a big roast so I cooked it an extra 45 min. Refer to the Jamie Oliver recipe on how to make gravy. This recipe was awesome! So juicy! Everyone was blown away. This is the first time I've ever cooked a roast. Thank you Matt for making me a hero at Christmas!

jonwalsh's picture

The pork and red cabbage are both simple and delicious. So little effort - such great results.

I bought a piece with ribs attached but wanted to portion the finished pork into long strips so needed to debone. Found a short and excellent instructional video. Search for Pork A: Middle Belly: Spare ribs.

Bonus: now there's a rack of ribs in the freezer.

Li-May's picture

cooked for a party of 4 and everyone really enjoyed the meal. The Braised red cabbage with apple is fantastic and will definitely be making this again.

danirace's picture

I have done this countless amounts of times.. LOVELY!

Drydoni's picture

Forgot to rate, def 5 stars!!!!

Drydoni's picture

I am just starting out cooking and my husband was slightly scared when I told him what I was going to attempt...
This recipe was absoloutely delicious and if you follow exactly as is states, you cant go wrong! The pork inside was lovely and tender and the crackling was so crispy and tasty on the outside!
I made served with
parmesan parsnip fries (another great bbc good food recipe)
suggested bay infused milk potatoes which neither myself or my husband were overly impressed with and I think next time would serve with dauphenoise or roast potatoes.
There was so much pork left, the remainder I kept for
pork and cranberry sandwiches
and pork chinese stir fry.

missflops's picture

FAB U LUSS !!!! Gorgeous flavour, soft tender meat, crispy crackling .... hog heaven!! Served it with sticky spiced red cabbage and mash. Will be cooking this again for sure.

danirace's picture

This is a fantastic dish! I can't fault anything about it! 10/10

stelaholder's picture

Fantastic dish. I normally struggle to get nice crackling but this was perfect. Half way through cooking I added potatoes, carrots, garlic cloves and shallots to the pan and they were scrummy (kept it covered with tin foil until last 30 mins).
Can highly recommend it.

Shannobank9's picture

Please tell my family they cannot have this every day!!!! Its fab and easy to make with new pots or roast and any veg you like

alecialondon's picture

Delicious! This is a really easy dish and a real dinner party pleaser. I cooked it last night for friends and they were all asking for the recipe. I added more salt to the skin for extra crispy crackling. Served with greens and the new potatoes cooked in bay infused milk as per the serving suggestion (the consensus around the table was that these weren't amazing and boiled tats would have been just as nice).

heatherkeen's picture

I love this recipe, the tastyest pork ever! I didn't 't think I'd like the fennel, but glad I went with it and added it, it's delicious!

sarahjbayley's picture

As many have said, absolutely gorgeous. My husband said its the best pork he has ever had.Halved and made it just for the two of us forgetting to adjust the cooking time and it was still great. Served with the red cabbage, leek gratin and new pots.

parksportslade's picture

Absolutely gorgeous. I used lemon thyme for the marinade and this gave the pork and crackling a really lovely flavour! I cooked this for some friends and will definitely be cooking it again in the near future - YUMMY!!! I served with Italian herb roast potatoes and veg - perfect!

lizziew25's picture

I have cooked this three times and it is fabulous. Easy to cook and impressive for a dinner party. Yum!

jooooly's picture

This turned out so gorgeous. Easy and fun to make and the results were well worth the wait. I also made the red cabbage and that went down well too.

pennyclark's picture

Wow. That was the first time I ever cooked pork belly and it was brilliant. Will make again.


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