Three-hour pork belly on a chopping board

Three-hour pork belly

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(80 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


  • 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…


  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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31st May, 2020
Cooking time and temp way out was burnt followed it to the letter thought an hour before it was cooked turned out to be dry and overcooked completely, total waste of time and money
David Coffey's picture
David Coffey
3rd May, 2020
I marinated the pork belly overnight, roasted for the first 20 mins at 160, then 10 mins at 180, then followed the instructions. Towards the end I basted occasionally, to avoid burning. Turned out really well.
Gill W
28th Apr, 2020
Made this a few times - awesome!
Philippa Peters
20th Apr, 2020
Chickpeas were a delightful addition to this meal. Put them in the bottom of the roasting tray and they absorb all of the lovely fennel and lemon flavour getting slightly crispy on the outside. Obviously the chickpeas are not suitable to serve to vegetarians but still a great way to fill up on healthy protein and eat a little less meat.
25th Aug, 2019
Made the mistake of thinking that as my joint was smaller a reduced cooking time was needed.... lovely flavours but a little chewy
Jim Barnard's picture
Jim Barnard
14th Jul, 2019
Pork belly was spot on (it's pretty hard to go wrong with unless you are very fussy about fatty meat). The recommended red cabbage was ok but very sweet if you then paired it with the bay/ milk potatoes which tasted too much of bay and a bit rich. Stick with proper roasties!
13th Dec, 2018
Absolutely delicious, including the red cabbage. Crackling was top nothc. Made this a couple of times now. No problems with burning. A definite keeper!
17th May, 2018
Burnt! Far too long in oven. Waste of time and money. And the fan temps are the wrong way round. Even like that 3 hrs is way too long
2nd Jan, 2018
I think you have your fan/gas temps back to front. 180° fan would be way hotter than 160° gas.
Karolina Charalambides's picture
Karolina Charal...
27th Aug, 2018
Actually the recipe states180C/160 fan/gas 6 and this means 180C conventional oven (without fan) or 160C if using a fan oven.


24th Jun, 2015
Should the skin also be marinated or not?
goodfoodteam's picture
23rd Jan, 2017
Hi there, thanks for your question. No you don't need to rub the marinade on the skin.
21st Jan, 2017
No, just the flesh.
Slow Cook
21st Mar, 2014
Hi, 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
31st Mar, 2014
Hi there. We'd reduce the initial and final 30 minute slots to 20 minutes, and the middle cooking time to 1hr 30.
25th May, 2014
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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