January 31, 2014

Granny's Roasted Pork Belly 婆婆的烧肉

I recalled vividly how I sat at the steps of my grandparents' kampong house in Tanjong Rhu, watching them grilled pork bellies using charcoal and a huge barrel. Grandpa had to stand on a stool and lift slabs of pork bellies hung on hooks into the barrel to grill them. Oh I miss him so so much … *held back tears* My grandpa retired and lived a good life for 20 years in Haikou until he passed away peacefully. His funeral wake was in red.

Many had commented how greasy and smoky can grilling a pork belly gets. I have been putting this off for the longest time until I saw this recipe which have many encouraging results. I thought the method of using vinegar to brush the skin was brilliant in helping to remove excess oil off the rind for a crispy skin. Back then, my grandparents grilled their pork belly vertically so the excess oil from the skin could dripped off during grilling.

I studied the recipes and found many similarities like poking the rind when it's half-cooked and airing the rind. For marination, my granny used to purchase spices from traditional chinese hall, and she could only recalled five spices powder and coriander powder.

I finally attempted my granny's roasted pork belly today.

2 kg of pork belly
3 tbsp salt for marinating rind
2 tbsp white vinegar for brushing rind
2 tbsp chinese wine for marinating meat

Seasoning for meat side
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp five spices powder


Marinating the pork belly
  1. Blanch the pork belly
  2. Pat dry with paper towel
  3. Poke the rind all over using a pork sticker
  4. Brush the meat side with chinese wine
  5. Rub the seasoning all over the meat side
  6. Turn the pork belly with skin side up and make sure it's as dry as possible
  7. Rub salt all over the rind
  8. Wrap with an aluminium foil leaving the skin exposed
  9. Chill overnight in fridge

Grilling the pork belly
  1. Remove the pork belly from fridge
  2. Let the pork belly come to room temperature by sitting on the baking rack for an hour
  3. Line your baking tray with aluminium foil to collect the oil
  4. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees
  5. Place your baking tray with aluminium foil at the lowest rack
  6. Grill the pork belly at middle rack with fan grilled mode for 20 mins
  7. Switch to top grill mode and adjust pork belly one rack higher
  8. Brush white vinegar on the rind
  9. Grill the pork belly with top grill mode for an hour or until skin bubbled
  10. Use a paper towel and tong, dabbed the liquid forming on top of the skin every 5 to 10 mins
  11. When the entire skin is dark brown, switch off oven
  12. Let pork belly cool completely
  13. Scrap off any burnt parts
  14. Chop into chunky slices

Pork sticker for poking the pork belly

After first 20 mins of grilling with fan grill mode

After 1 hour of grilling with top grill mode

My granny's roast pork belly

Granny's tip: Poke all over the meat side to allow the marination penetrate deeper into the meat side.
Buy from a trusted butcher and hope to get a piece of good quality meat with even layers of fats throughout.