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The Hirshon Roast Pork Belly with Crackling + Sides

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 4 lb. belly of pork – skin on and boneless, have the butcher score the rind every 1/2” or so
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt
  • ***
  • For salt/spice mix:
  • 2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tbsp. fennel seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tbsp. Ajwain seeds, freshly ground (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, freshly ground (optional but recommended)
  • ***
  • 5 tablespoons duck or goose fat (preferred), butter or vegetable oil
  • 6 sage leaves, cut into thin strips (optional)
  • 8 garlic cloves, slivered (optional)
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, whole
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 ounces of streaky bacon
  • 12 shallots, trimmed and peeled
  • 4 small apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices – TFD prefers 2 tart apples like Granny Smith and 2 sweet like Honeycrisp
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 14 ounces apple cider


  1. First, dry that meat off thoroughly with kitchen towels and then use a blow dryer – YES, a blow dryer! – and further dry the meat for about 10 minutes. It must be bone-dry!
  2. Rub 1 tbsp. salt thoroughly onto the skin and into the slits.
  3. Leave uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next day, pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
  5. Dry the pork with a kitchen towel and put the pork on a large plate. Insert the slivered sage leaves into the skin cuts.
  6. Heat the duck/goose fat, butter or oil to VERY hot and then pour it over the skin, then season the skin and meat with the salt/pepper/spice mix once its cooled down. Massage the salt mix into the meat and between the cuts on the skin.
  7. Line the bottom of a disposable baking tray (ideally just big enough for the pork) with the sage, garlic, bay leaves, bacon, peeled shallots and apples. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme. Pour the cider over the shallots and apples and then place the pork on top of the apples/shallots mixture, using it as a trivet.
  8. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 mins. After this time, pour vinegar over the skin (this is an old French trick to puff up the skin) and turn the heat down to 350 degrees.
  9. Roast for a further 2 hrs. Finally, turn the heat back up to 425 and give it a final heating for another 15 mins or so, to finish the crackling – watch it closely and give it a few more minutes if it needs it.
  10. Remove the pork from the roasting pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place before serving. While it rests, strain the juices from the pot and pour through a gravy separator to remove the fat from the liquid. Put the liquid into a saucepan, heat on high and reduce to a good consistency. Add some cornstarch mixed with cider if it needs thickening.
  11. Serve slices of the pork, with the garlic, apple and shallots over mashed potatoes. Drizzle the gravy and bacon over the top. You can also serve with steamed greens and applesauce in addition to the mashed potatoes if you’re so inclined.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Recipes