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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20th Nov, 2012
Forgot to rate, def 5 stars!!!!
20th Nov, 2012
I am just starting out cooking and my husband was slightly scared when I told him what I was going to attempt... This recipe was absoloutely delicious and if you follow exactly as is states, you cant go wrong! The pork inside was lovely and tender and the crackling was so crispy and tasty on the outside! I made served with parmesan parsnip fries (another great bbc good food recipe) and suggested bay infused milk potatoes which neither myself or my husband were overly impressed with and I think next time would serve with dauphenoise or roast potatoes. There was so much pork left, the remainder I kept for pork and cranberry sandwiches and pork chinese stir fry.
missflops's picture
3rd Nov, 2012
FAB U LUSS !!!! Gorgeous flavour, soft tender meat, crispy crackling .... hog heaven!! Served it with sticky spiced red cabbage and mash. Will be cooking this again for sure.
2nd Nov, 2012
This is a fantastic dish! I can't fault anything about it! 10/10
stelaholder's picture
14th Oct, 2012
Fantastic dish. I normally struggle to get nice crackling but this was perfect. Half way through cooking I added potatoes, carrots, garlic cloves and shallots to the pan and they were scrummy (kept it covered with tin foil until last 30 mins). Can highly recommend it.
22nd Sep, 2012
Please tell my family they cannot have this every day!!!! Its fab and easy to make with new pots or roast and any veg you like
7th Sep, 2012
Delicious! This is a really easy dish and a real dinner party pleaser. I cooked it last night for friends and they were all asking for the recipe. I added more salt to the skin for extra crispy crackling. Served with greens and the new potatoes cooked in bay infused milk as per the serving suggestion (the consensus around the table was that these weren't amazing and boiled tats would have been just as nice).
19th Aug, 2012
I love this recipe, the tastyest pork ever! I didn't 't think I'd like the fennel, but glad I went with it and added it, it's delicious!
29th Apr, 2012
As many have said, absolutely gorgeous. My husband said its the best pork he has ever had.Halved and made it just for the two of us forgetting to adjust the cooking time and it was still great. Served with the red cabbage, leek gratin and new pots.
28th Apr, 2012
Absolutely gorgeous. I used lemon thyme for the marinade and this gave the pork and crackling a really lovely flavour! I cooked this for some friends and will definitely be cooking it again in the near future - YUMMY!!! I served with Italian herb roast potatoes and veg - perfect!


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