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Smoked Crispy Pork Belly

This is an American South Chinese fusion recipe. The pork belly is prepared like a traditional Cantonese roast pork (siu yuk) recipe but before the skin is crisped in the oven I slowly smoke the pork in apple wood. I would leave it to the smoker but you need the direct heat to get the crispy golden skin.

The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the skin light and bubbly enough to be classified as pork candy (mmmmmm). You'll need a pork tenderizer which you can find in a Chinese market. There is no alternative! I've tried forks, knives, even corn picks. You need as many tiny holes as possible to create the bubbles and there's no substitute for really getting some muscle into this work.

I use a Char-Broil Big Easy to smoke my pork. This gives it the great smoky flavor but even on a low heat takes only one hour to cook.

Time
Prep time: 24 hrs
Cook time: 1 hr 45 min
Total time: 1 hr

Servings
Yield: 

Ingredients

  • 3 lb Slab of pork belly
  • 2 Tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp five spice powder
  • 1/4 Tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse the pork belly and pat dry. Using the pork meat tenderizer prick the enter surface with hundreds of holes. When you roast the pork the holes will ensure an even small bubble. Not enough holes and you'll get large, rand bubbles and spots where the skin doesn't crisp at all.
  2. Place it skin-side down on a tray, and rub the Shaoxing wine into the meat (not the skin). Mix together the salt, sugar, five spice powder and white pepper. Thoroughly rub this spice mixture into the meat as well. Flip the meat over so it’s skin-side up. Generously sprinkle the skin with sea salt.
    Pork belly and pork tenderizer

  3. Let it dry out in the fridge uncovered, for 12-24 hours.
  4. Place the pork in the basket (I like to add a rack to elevate the meat about 8" off the bottom) skin side up. Add apple wood chips to the smoker bin and turn heat to low. Smoke for about 1 hour or 140°. 
  5. Place a large piece of aluminum foil onto a baking tray and add a rack over the foil (alternative you can use the oven rack with the foil tray underneath). Turn on the broiler to low, and position the oven rack in the lowest position. Brush rice wine vinegar on the pork skin, place the pork belly onto the rack and let the skin crisp - 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure the skin doesn't burn.
  6. When the skin has puffed up and become crispy, remove from the oven. Let it rest for about 15 minutes and then slice.