Three-hour pork belly on a chopping board

Three-hour pork belly

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(70 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

    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 2 tbsp fennel seeds and 1 tsp black 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 leaves from 1 small bunch of thyme and 3 garlic cloves to make a paste.

  2. Mix with 2 tbsp olive oil and rub all over the flesh of a 1½ - 2kg piece of boneless pork belly. Cover and chill, leaving to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

  3. 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.

  4. After this time, squeeze 2 lemons over the skin and turn the heat down to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Roast for a further 2 hrs.

  5. 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.

  6. 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').

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Comments, questions and tips

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9th Sep, 2016
WOW!, I was reading the many great comments below and noticed that a few people had changed things up a little to make it better and wondered why?. I have never cooked Pork Belly before tonight and have always been a little afraid of trying to be honest. Tonight i decided to cook the Pork Belly exactly to the recipe above and i have to say... this has got to be the best pork belly i have ever had, better than anything i have had in a restaurant. The meat was tender, the marinade made the pork so so tasty and the crackling was out of this world. thank you for such a great recipe.
29th Aug, 2016
Delicious. I didn't marinade it for long at all (only an hour) but it was still delicious. The fennel and pepper gave it a lovely flavour. It was the first time I have ever - in twenty-plus years of serious cooking - had really successful crackling! I made a gravy from the juices under the pork - I added some white wine, sage and half a teaspoon of honey, which brought out the flavours of the pork well. I roasted potatoes which was fine, but I would actually recommend mash. Home grown vegs were great with this including Savoy cabbage, carrots and French beans.
29th Jun, 2016
This is absolutely delicious. I have made it several times for all sorts of people and everyone has LOVED it. Highly recommended. I reduced the oven temp to 160 for the middle period and then turned it up again at the end, but my oven runs a bit hot so I would say keep checking it. Also I kept tapping the crackling to check ti was crisping up - if not, turn the oven up higher. YUM!!
2nd Jun, 2016
Made this tonight, started at 3:30 and was ready by 6:30. Followed the recipe pretty much exactly except i reduced the 2 hour cook time temp to 160c and cranked the end cook time up to 230c. The meat was gorgeous, it literally fell apart and become almost creamy when squished between fingers. Crackling was perfect and so damn crisp. This was my first time eating pork belly and i was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't over fatty as most people claim (maybe i got a leaner cut). One thing to note is the residual oil in the baking tray can smoke a little toward the end so warn those who like to whinge about that kind of thing and take care to let the smoke/steam etc escape first when opening the door before poking your head in. Saving this recipe for sure.
17th Jan, 2016
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.
21st Jul, 2015
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
7th May, 2017
Are those temps for a fan oven? Thanks.
11th Feb, 2015
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.
21st Jan, 2015
This was the best tasting pork belly I have cooked. The crackling was perfect.
Mary G
10th Jan, 2015
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.


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