Crisp cider-braised pork belly

Crisp cider-braised pork belly

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins Plus pressing overnight

More effort

Serves 4
Barney Desmazery's prepare-ahead recipe for the perfect pork belly will be a sure-fire hit at your next dinner party

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal915
  • fat67g
  • saturates24g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre2g
  • protein66g
  • salt1.22g
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  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • few celery sticks, roughly chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sprig fresh thyme


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

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml good-quality cider



    Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Apple orchards were…

  • small splash cider vinegar, plus extra to season
  • 1l fresh chicken stock
  • 1.2kg piece unscored boneless pork belly
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • apple mash and Mustard cabbage, to serve (see tip)



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…


  1. Day 1: Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Place all the ingredients except the pork and sunflower oil in a flameproof pan that will fit the pork snugly – a casserole dish is ideal. Season, bring everything to the boil then turn down the heat and slide the pork into the pan. The pork should be totally submerged – if it isn’t, top up with water. Cover the dish with a lid or tight tent of foil and place it in the oven for 3 hrs undisturbed.

  2. When the pork is cooked, leave it to cool slightly in the stock. Line a flat baking tray with cling film. Carefully lift the pork into the tray and make sure you get rid of any bits of vegetables or herbs as they will end up pressed into the pork. Cover the pork with another sheet of cling film and cover with a flat tray or dish – the tray must be completely flat as any indentations will be pressed into the pork. Weigh the pork down with another dish or some cans and leave to cool in the fridge overnight. Strain the juices into a jug or small saucepan, cover and chill.

  3. Day 2: Unwrap the pork and place on a board. Trim the uneven edges so that you have a neat sheet of meat. Cut the meat into 4 equal pieces and set aside until ready to cook. Lift off any bits of fat from the braising juices and tip what will now be jelly into a saucepan, then bubble down by about two-thirds until starting to become slightly syrupy. Add a few more drops of vinegar, to taste.

  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan until hot, then turn the heat down. Add the pork to the pan, skin-side down – be careful as it has a tendency to spit. Sizzle the pork as you would bacon for 5 mins until the skin is crisp. Flip it over and cook for 3-4 mins until browned. Place a small pile of cabbage on the side of each plate and sit a piece of pork on top. Place a spoonful of mash on the other side of the plate, drizzle over the sauce and serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Vonny Nguyen's picture
Vonny Nguyen
12th Aug, 2018
I have made this recipe several times. It is amazing. The fat from the pork belly just melts in your mouth and it is a wonderful feeling. You can taste a hint of the cider and it really brightens up the flavor. I am hooked. I thought it was very easy and straightforward. I did use cider vinegar instead of cider cause that is all I had but it came out just as good. I am making it again today.
31st Aug, 2015
Not had any luck with this or any belly pork recipe with poaching in the first stage - I end up with flabby burnt skin even following the recipe to the letter. I can make crackling fine the normal way, does anyone know what I'm doing wrong?
2nd Oct, 2015
Check the pork belly regularly to make sure it is always entirely submerged. If the liquid reduces below the skin, it will begin to roast and eventually burn. Patting the skin dry before refrigerating may help it dry slightly then when frying the pork remove it from the fridge and generously salt the skin this will help draw moisture out, allow the pork to come to room temperature. Put it skin side down in a cold frying pan then bring the heat up to a light sizzle as chefdom recommended, it may take 20-30 minutes but this way you will get lovely crackling without the risk of quickly over cooking and burning the skin.
17th Oct, 2015
Thanks, I'll give that a go
30th Aug, 2015
Cannot get this or any belly pork where you poach it in the first stage to work! I always end up with rubbery, burnt pork skin. I can cook crispy crackling perfectly the usual way though. Any suggestions on what's going wrong?
17th Jan, 2015
Amazing!! Made this for a dinner party and all the guests loved it. I served it with plain mash and apple sauce separately and added petit pois to the cabbage which worked well. Will definitely do it again.
14th Dec, 2014
First tine for cooking belly pork and loved it. Perfect for dinner parties as so much prep is done the day before. Can't wait to cook it again
23rd Mar, 2014
Mmm. I was in a hurry, so cooked strips of belly like this 2 hours. Seemed a waste to chuck veg stock away so pureed it, very soupy. Finished off pork in pan until crisp and served with crunchy roast potatoes, peas and puree of stock. Sorry barney have done a few of yours with great success but this didnt do it. Love your chick pea chorizo and pork thing though
18th Jan, 2014
The sauce was FANTASTIC!!! And pressing the meat makes a very pretty presentation. Will do this it this way with other pork belly recipes.
kathryndonna's picture
28th Oct, 2013
I too could only get pork with a scored rind but I think this helped the final crisping up process. I took ChefDom's advice and finished the pork off starting in a cold pan (thank you!) Eventually the skin crisped up but took about 30 minutes. Loads of fat melted out which I spooned off during the process and even so the end result was still quite fatty under the crackling. The meat was beautifully tender and looked very professional. I would use this method again as I think with a little practice I might just get the perfect crackling I have been looking for.


Cleo Austin's picture
Cleo Austin
18th Feb, 2020
Hi I am planning on making this for a dinner party It's for 6 people if I get a bigger joint do I need to cook it longer? Also what's the recipe for the cabbage it looks really good Thanks
CassieBest's picture
19th Feb, 2020
Hi Cleo, You may find it hard to buy a larger piece of pork, you could buy 2 1.2kg pieces - you'll have some leftovers which you could shred and eat warm in baps the next day. The recipe for the cabbage can be found in the Tips box below the recipe. Cassie (Senior Food Editor, BBC Good Food)
22nd Sep, 2016
Can I freeze this recipe after the pork is pressed?... Planning on part cooking and the slicing it into portions before freezing... Will thaw in the fridge for a day before step 3.
9th Sep, 2013
I want to cook this for two people. How long should I cook the pork for if I halve the recipe?
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