Three-hour pork belly

Three-hour pork belly

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(39 ratings)

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

    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

    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 (43)

FabFive's picture

Fantastic. Great roast dinner for family, kids loved and not usually that keen on pork. Very soft and tender. Served with braised red cabbage and creamed pots.

ShivyDevon's picture

This is a lovely recipe but not ideal for a midweek supper if you work! Anyway I marinaded a decidedly smaller piece of belly pork (600g) for 2 days in the fridge I cooked for the initial 30mins at 200, then reduced to 140 for 1 hour then increased to 220 for 15mins and the the meat and crackling were perfect.
Tip - to do a gravy with the juices make sure you put water in the tray underneath the cooking pork and don't let it dry out, mix the juices with a tablespoon of plain flour, 1/4 litre of beef stock and cook down to the hob - tada

Tyranosauruswrecks's picture

This is such a great recipe and can withstand a few "user errors". I used 1.35 Kg of pork shoulder (from Aldi) and left out the garlic as my wife is allergic to it. I miss-read the marinade step and put the marinade on the skin too, which I then had to scrape off before putting it into the oven! I'd do that again though because the crackling was even more flavoursome compared with the crackling I usually obtain. I also forgot to add the lemon juice until half-way through roasting (you can imagine that I was expecting a disaster by the time this meat came out of the oven!). Like "Snigs" the meat was looking done enough and so I didn't crank up the temperature for the final half hour (but it was a smaller piece of meat than is used in the recipe). The result - brilliant. The crackling could have been crispier (but that was my mistake) but the flavour was great and the meat very tender. Like others, I also made the red cabbage and apple. That was great too - I only wish I'd bought a bigger joint of meat to use it all up - you'll need a massive deep frying pan and four adults with very hearty appetites to polish it all off. I'd would have liked to make a gravy from the juices but they were fairly carbonised by the time the meat had finished cooking.

debrawillison's picture

This was the best tasting pork belly I have cooked.
The crackling was perfect.

Mary G's picture

What a wonderful recipe. Wowed my guests on New Years Day. Gorgeous succulent meat and to die for crackling. Very forgiving as well as I omitted to ask the butcher to bone it and had to do it myself which meant that I was well below the weight for 6 people. No problem,there was plenty to go round. Definitely will do this again.

Snigs's picture

cooked this last night for a dinner party and came out very well. I think broadly its a very good recipe and the marination rub is excellent. The temp times will vary though according to each oven so would recommend people to use common sense. I roasted it at high temp as per recipe for first 30 min, reduced it to 150 for 2 hours after that (I have a fan oven). It looked pretty cooked and roasted already so did not do the 30 min of final blasting, instead finished it off under the grill to get the crispy crackling which I so wanted. Had to watch the grill the whole time with oven door open ofcourse as it burns pretty quickly. The pork came out looking very professional and was incredibly juicy and tender.

heather444's picture

We have also followed the suggested tip 'braised red cabbage with apple' and absolutely love that too!

heather444's picture

Cooked this now several times and we all absolutely love it and it's so easy too. Would really recommend it!

laxtitute's picture

I served this for a dinner party I threw and it went down brilliantly. I marinaded the pork overnight and the flavour was lovely. It was also the most tender and juicy pork ever. This is certainly a favourite recipe now.
Although, my crackling didn't crackle at all, so I cut it off and nuked it while the pork was resting. Any tips as to why it didn't crackle so beautifully with the pork like everyone else's?

dianejaquay's picture

I made this recipe yesterday. It was my first time ever making pork belly. I had searched the internet for recipes, and this one stood out as easy and doable. The results were AMAZING!!! The crackling was fabulous, and the pork itself was juicy and delicious, probably the best pork I've ever tasted. My guests were equally impressed with the results. I also made the red cabbage dish and everyone loved it. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who's apprehensive because it's "their" first time!

cookie-queen's picture

Really yummy! Definitely going to make this again. Next time I'm going to try it with the red cabbage.

Bigspottedcat's picture

What a crowd pleaser!!!!

viviennemcmanus's picture

Absolutely delicious. Easy to cook.

samt1985's picture

This is amazing!
I'm not a big fan of pork but this is so soft and juicy. I've made this twice in 2 weeks, the first time we had it with the suggested red cabbage and Bay potatoes then the second time I shredded it up and he had it with homemade coleslaw in tortilla wraps.
I have to admit that both times I have been guilty of eating the leftovers later in the day. I would really recommend this recipe even for people who are not usually keen on pork.

Oh and the crackling has been perfect both times!

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.


Questions (3)

Distracted's picture

Should the skin also be marinated or not?

Slow Cook's picture

How much would I need to knock off the cooking time if I was cooking 750g pork belly ?
Thanks for any help.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. We'd reduce the initial and final 30 minute slots to 20 minutes, and the middle cooking time to 1hr 30.

Tips (1)

jayjay500's picture

If you deglaze the roasting tin for the gravy use a sweetish cider, otherwise white wine with a little red currant jelly. This helps counter the bitterness of the lemons. Also, butternut squash roasted with big cloves of garlic tastes lovely with this as well.

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