Chasing the Pork Belly Holy Grail

  • I’ve had several attempts at pork belly and they’ve all been pretty good but not perfect. I’m looking for the perfect combination of crackling with succulent, perfectly rendered fat underneath.


    High temps give me the crackling, but underneath it’s just roast pork and the fat is a bit flubbity (a made up word, but you know what I mean).


    Lower temps give me juicy, quivering meat and fat, but with leathery skin.


    I’ve tried ramping up and ramping down to get the best of both worlds, but I haven’t nailed it yet.


    Any tips or links would be most welcome. I’m getting tired of saying “……yeah, but the flavour is good……”

  • My best work is always on the Weber kettle cooking indirect with basket either side all vent’s wide open.

    The nature of the Weber is starts with high heat and the dies down a little through the cook.

    If crackle isn’t set I just cook it skin side down direct over one of the baskets until it’s done.

    weber performer, weber compact with gas conversion, napoleon rodeo, pro q 20", PBC, ziggy portable, ozpig with rotisserie, pro smoke offset, pit boss mini kamado, asmoke portable, master built 560.

  • How do you treat the skin in the leadup? For me some salt and in the fridge overnight uncovered. Moisture is the enemy of crackling. The salt will draw moisture out, and a conventional fridge will take moisture away.



    Traeger - Weber Family Q - Ziggy Twin Burner - Charcoal Grill - Akorn Kamado - Hark Tri Fire - Jumbuck Pizza Oven - Go Anywhere - Asmoke Pellet Grill - Hibachi Grill - Anova Sous Vide x 2

  • Lots of people swear that the best way is to use an air fryer.


    External Content www.youtube.com
    Content embedded from external sources will not be displayed without your consent.
    Through the activation of external content, you agree that personal data may be transferred to third party platforms. We have provided more information on this in our privacy policy.

  • Pork is a two day event for great crackling.


    Or there's THIS.

    Jumbuck 7 burner with hood. Baby Weber kettle. 52" Kettle. Weber Go Anywhere. 5' SS Spit rotisserie. Offset smoker. Akorn Kamado. :) ASMOKE AS500N. Hibachi.:bbq:

  • Pork is a two day event for great crackling.…

    I think that’s at the heart of my problem. For my latest effort, SWMBO informed me in the afternoon that I was cooking pork belly for dinner. Said belly hadn’t yet been purchased. No amount of blasting with a heat gun was ever going to get it dry enough.


    Thanks for the replies. I’ll try the salt/fridge method next time.

  • It's not the only method out there! but this method will give good crackle and soft rendered pork.


    External Content www.youtube.com
    Content embedded from external sources will not be displayed without your consent.
    Through the activation of external content, you agree that personal data may be transferred to third party platforms. We have provided more information on this in our privacy policy.

  • I think that’s at the heart of my problem. For my latest effort, SWMBO informed me in the afternoon that I was cooking pork belly for dinner. Said belly hadn’t yet been purchased. No amount of blasting with a heat gun was ever going to get it dry enough.


    Thanks for the replies. I’ll try the salt/fridge method next time.


    Some extra tips

    1. The dryer the better. If it is from a vac pack, I do 48 hours if I can. Prep Friday, cook Sunday.
    2. The skin should get dry enough that it is stiff and making the whole belly less bendy
    3. From a butcher, it is already fairly dry so if you need to buy same day, that'll help.
    4. If it is a big piece, don't let the fat pool on top during the cook. Put half an apple under the belly.
    5. If you score deeply, or it is pre-scored, salt will collect in there. You can't get it all off/out and then when you re-salt before cooking it may end up too salty. So be careful with that.
    6. Those sharp poky things (I bought one from UrbanGriller) do a great job as a scoring alternative, and you won't have to worry about the score lines collecting too much salt.
    7. I think 200C is better than 220C. Maybe that is just because I kamado and the crackle needs a little more time. Most videos like saying to do it at 220C though.
    8. If you use a kamado, close the bottom vent to a bee's dick, allowing the top vent to be open wider than usual. This helps dry out the interior a little.
    9. If the meat is cooked (I like 93C), finish the crackle off in the oven/air fryer or whatever. It shouldn't need it by that point, but if it does, better that than drying out the meat while you wait for the crackle.
  • Also, my 2 cents. I don't salt. I salt only when going into the cooker.

    Jumbuck 7 burner with hood. Baby Weber kettle. 52" Kettle. Weber Go Anywhere. 5' SS Spit rotisserie. Offset smoker. Akorn Kamado. :) ASMOKE AS500N. Hibachi.:bbq:

  • A Jaccard is a good investment and can be easier than scoring the skin. I've also had success with this method - https://www.recipetineats.com/chinese-crispy-pork-belly/


    Also, on days where I've been caught out and not got the best crackling (largely due to not drying out the skin enough)... I cheat a bit and use my charcoal starter to finish it off.


    This is the one I use - https://www.bunnings.com.au/oz…charcoal-starter_p0014130

    Just don't hold it in one place too long or you risk burning it a bit.

  • A "Jaccard" - so that's what they're called (as opposed to "pokey thing". )

    Jaccard is a brand that people recognise. Technically it is a "Meat Tenderiser" or Docker


    I find the large rectangular shape of the Jaccard hard to get into weird corners and the like, I prefer a smaller round one

  • Just bought a cheap version of one of these round ones on Amazon for $5.60. Let's see if the cheap version works.


    I'll be interested to hear! I've looked at these a couple times online, and invariable there is a review comment saying "not sharp enough for pork rind", so I chicken out.

    Weber Q3200, Weber Original Premium Kettle

  • Something I’ve not seen much around here is trussing the belly with butchers twine, into a sort of roll.

    This allows the fat to run off and you can also place some aromatics, garlic, etc in the centre.

    I did one like this on the Weber a few weeks ago and it came out perfect!

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!