I’ve got a love hate relationship with pork crackling. My husband loves it, it’s one of his favourite things.
When I was young and carefree, I used to just throw a pork roast in the oven at temperature, until it seemed cooked, with no thought whatsoever as to correct technique or cooking temperatures. And it turned out wonderful. Every. Single. Time.
And then I got smart, I learned all about oiling and salting the skin. I read about the importance of drying the skin. I watched cooking shows where they taught me to cook it fast and hot and then turn it down…and I could not for the life of me get that wonderful crispy, bubbly crackling back again.
Ignorance was pork crackling bliss.
I got increasingly desperate and started trying all kinds of weird things. I saw a chef steam his pork belly before crisping it and I thought, hmmm. I tried it and it aaalmost worked perfectly.
A famous local cookbook author cooks hers upside down and swears by it, so I tried it too. Again, it was almost there.
So, I hit on the idea of steaming it and then cooking it flipped and voila! Perfect, bubbly, crunchy pork crackling with soft and tender belly.
I know that it seems like a bit of messing around, but it’s not really. And compared to the gut wrenching disappointment of pulling yet another pork roast with chewy tough skin out of the oven? It’s worth every second.
Nutritional values (per serving, about 140 g/ 5 oz cooked)
|of which Saturated||29.7||grams|
|Magnesium||24||mg (6% RDA)|
|Potassium||686||mg (34% EMR)|
Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (1%), protein (11%), fat (88%)
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
Note: Nutrition facts are estimated (about half of the fat in the pork will be lost during cooking which is considered in the table above). Due to its high-calorie value, this meal is suitable for intermittent fasting. You can find more keto recipes suitable for IF here. This meal can be stretched to 6 servings (about 4 oz/ 113 g of cooked meat per serving).
- Bring a large pot of water to a gentle simmer. Make regular slices in the skin of the pork belly, being sure not to cut down into the flesh.
- Place belly, skin side down in a steamer pot and steam gently for 15 minutes. This opens the skin up and allows the fats to start to soften (I have been told that you can also pour boiling water over it to achieve the same result, but I’ve not tried that. Let me know if you do).
- Pre-heat oven to 190 C/ 375 F. Remove the belly from the steamer and place, skin side up, on a tray.
- Pat dry with paper towels. If you want to get the skin dry, use your hairdryer on low, cool air setting and open out the skin as much as possible.
- Rub the oil of choice (I used duck fat) into the skin, getting right into the slits.
- Sprinkle with Himalayan salt flakes and massage them in well also.
- Place pork belly skin side down onto your roasting tray. Roast for 1 hour.
- Increase oven temperature to 220 C/ 430 F. Take belly out of roasting dish and sit to one side.
- Slice onion into four thick rounds and sit in the bottom of the roasting tray, along with the fresh sage leaves. Turn pork belly over, skin side up, and place on top of the onions. Roast for 30 minutes or until the skin is bubbly and crisp.
Note: if you want to give it a little boost at the end, very carefully put it under the grill for a few minutes.
Serve with a big bowl of green salad, keto cauli-mash or Keto Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad. Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 4 days.
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