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GainPorkâ„¢ the minimalist crispy skin pork

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I've cooked this for a few occassions and generally people like it. So this is how it's done


Like a good gainclone amplifier, the ingredients are minimal:

- Pork belly, salt

- chinese wine (optional).


  • Buy 1kg pork belly from the local butcher, and do not ask him to score. Do not wash.
  • Score into squares so it's easier to cut later (and let the fat cook the skin). Not too deep, and should not touch the meat part.


  • Sprinkle salt (can be normal salt/sea salt) and cover with paper towel for 5 minutes. The salt will suck the moisture out of the skin, and the paper towel will suck even more. Do this twice to get extra-dry skin which is the prime requirements for "crackling"


  • Sprinkle salt throughout the prepared meat
  • Pre-heat oven to 225-230 °C and put the meat low enough to allow even distribution of heat. Use top heater only.


  • Cook for 10-15 minutes. It should come out like the picture above.
  • Optionally brush a bit of Chinese cooking wine on the skin part (not too wet!). Normally I use paper towel to do this and not a brush. Sprinkle bit more salt and back in the oven.


  • Continue to cook at 225-230 °C for another 10-15 minutes until the skin all crackles like above. Observe closely! as the transition between well-crackling and burnt black is very quick.
  • Once the skin is all blistered and you see a hint of burnt section, set the oven temperature down to 120 °C and continue cooking for 45-60 min. This is to allow the meat to cook.


  • Once done, put in a plate and leave alone for 20 minutes. Do not be tempted to cut before this time as it will be too juicy and ruins the dryness of crackling. Do not wrap in foil.

There you go... and eat in moderation (if you can)

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More closeup pics ...           .... earlier ...  

Emesbee, choose a pork belly with less fat, or a different cut (shoulder), or remove the fat after cooking : pork has different (4?) fat types from solid white to thin membrane: each will roast/render

For a variation, lightly dust Asian five-spice powder and poke several thin slivers of garlic into the meat to marinade overnight - steam for ~30-45 minutes until skin is soft.....remove and allow to cool for ~20 min uncovered - this helps the skin to dry.

Using a paddle with lots of fine nails hammered through, repeatedly tap the softened skin to create heaps of fine holes....rub salt in generously and bake as above (but less time).

The steam/bake technique will help keep the meat tender/moist with a finely textured crackle. Serve with fruity sauce: plum, apple, HP brown sauce....

Edited by xtrachewy
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Ahhh, the secret to good crackling huh? I had a delicious and crispy Pork Belly at Cutler & Co the other night. I'll be giving this a go. Thanks :)

The 1 kg steak (shared b/w two), cooked for 1 hr at Cutler & Co was tender in the middle with a proper dark crust.....much better than Rockpool.

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The crackling is one thing, which I found out not too difficult to get. But there are different grade of crackling. In this case I have sacrified lightness of crackling to success rate. Also there is a certain grade of dryness into the meat which should not be the case.

Regarding the additional spices, I found them make the food yummy but also lose its "porkiness". So it's a matter of taste like eating fries with sauce.

This little place at Elizabeth st. is currently my benchmark. The dish is called "Crispy skin pork with vegetable on rice". Repeat that a few times :). Do not go there during lunch time due to long queue.

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  • 3 weeks later...

  • 1 month later...

the MIL swears by leaving the pork belly uncovered in the fridge overnight after salting to maximise the drying out, so I will try the paper towel trick and see how it compares as 24hr notice is far too much forethought/planning for me :D thanks for the tip

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  • 1 month later...

Gave it a bash tonight.

Got some Trunkey Farm Pork from Orange and heaped on the Maldon salt.

Ate it with roast potatoes and veges and a very nice 2006 Main Ridge Half Acre Pinot Noir.

Yummo, the meat was so moist and tender and the crackling just the right crunchy consistency. (my arteries are having a stop work meeting as a type...)




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OMG, how did I manage to miss this thread? :) This has to be one of my favourite dishes. gainphile, I just know your recipe is going to be my undoing. Gotta give your method a try soon. :)


Alan R.

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I normally consume something like this once in 1 or 2 months. But this holiday season it had been pretty bad I admit, like twice a week.

One thing which I haven't figured out is how to make that yummy brownish sauce/juice as in the chinese place.

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This recipe works great with pork belly. Even better on a weber bbq.




Get some rose-scented Chinese wine and add a good dash to the marinade - it adds a complex aroma and makes all the difference (for example: http://rasamalaysia.com/bbq-pork-recipe-char-siu/)

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  • 10 months later...
Does anyone know how to make that brownish sauce?

You know the one at Chinese restaurant when ordering roast pork on rice???

You sir owe me a new keyboard, its saturated in saliva hahaha. All this talk of food..... Must resist leaving office desk for food....

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I'm curious to see what deep fried battered pork tastes like?

Possibly like sweet & sour pork without the sauce?

Though in my family, we dust the pork pieces in a flour blend (plain & rice) for a crisp (and less battery!) result....and I first subtly marinade the meat with a bit of rice & Stones ginger wine.

In general fine 'scoring' will produce a finer textured crackle but keeping the skin dry (or rubbing with salt, and sometimes oil and/or lemon juice) and high temperature help enormously to produce lovely crackle.... though I've had slow long cooked (lower temp) Italian porchetta with amazing crackle.

I've also had crackle where the skin is removed from the meat and 'crackled' separately sandwiched b/w two metal trays under high heat - this produces a flat crackle (good presentation).

And Grandma used to make a Asian hotpot with pork crackle - it would soften and become quite spongey (soaks up the gravy). Yum.

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  • 7 months later...

Cooking this again tonight after a successful tryout last week. Must remember to take a photo tonight... it looked fantastic last time.

What to have with it... beer or red?

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A beautiful job, mikizee.

I am inspired. Just need to get Mrs Mustud out of the way for a few hours.

Damn cholesterol police....

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Thanks Mustud - it was delicious. Really should ramp up my cardio workouts to burn it off.... but its so bloody cold. Maybe I'll just stay inside and watch TV.

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