Three-hour pork belly on a chopping board

Three-hour pork belly

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(77 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…


  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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Bigspottedcat's picture
18th Jul, 2013
Hooray! EXCELLENT! What a crowd pleaser!!!!
5th May, 2013
Absolutely delicious. Easy to cook.
30th Apr, 2013
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!
18th Feb, 2013
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.
23rd Jan, 2013
13th Jan, 2013
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!
25th Dec, 2012
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!
16th Dec, 2012
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.
28th Nov, 2012
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.
22nd Nov, 2012
I have done this countless amounts of times.. LOVELY!


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