Blog vacation is over…the vacation wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened. That’s life for you. We just got back from Nashville where our kid Jordan goes to school. We walked the campus, met his roommates’ families, went to the football game (they won!), attended a couple of lectures and spent time with Wes’s classmate from medical school. After residency, Russ was smitten by a southerner, Julia (the bomb) and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. It has been years since we have seen each other. As fate would have it, his son is now a freshmen at Vanderbilt. It was great catching up! We also found time to take in the sites, if you like country music and southern food, you should definitely visit Nashville. Like any good southern town, there’s a lot of down home comfort food, hot fried chicken, great biscuits, pulled pork, barbecued pork ribs, yum. When we got back from Nashville I had pork on the brain. I didn’t find a recipe with southern roots but I did find one for Chinese Roast Pork also known as Siu Yuk. The pork is roasted to perfection, the meat is juicy, slightly salty and succulent. The skin is the showstopper. Roasting turns the skin into a golden brown crispy crust. Not southern but delish! I have always purchased roast pork from my favorite Chinese deli never giving a thought to making it at home. As I read through the recipe I thought, okay, not quite as daunting as I imagined. Unlike a Chinese deli, I didn’t have to start with an entire pig, just a nice slab of pork belly. It didn’t require a whole lot of prep or exotic ingredients and your oven does most of the work.
I can handle that.
The first part of the recipe calls for seasoning the pork and letting it air dry to insure a crispy skin. After drying, the skin is poked to help release the fat while it is roasting. The pork is wrapped in foil and covered with salt. I used coarse kosher salt. I was surprised at how simple it was to make.
- Adapted from The Woks of life
- 3 lb slab of pork belly
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic cut into slivers
- 1/2 cup coarse Kosher salt
- Rinse the pork belly, and then pat it dry.
- Place it skin-side down on a small tray (you’ll be putting it in the refrigerator for some time, so make sure you have space)
- 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. Make incisions in the pork and push slivers of garlic into the slits.
- Flip the meat over so it’s skin-side up and place it on a small tray.
- Let it dry out in the fridge uncovered, for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Poke holes ALL over the skin, which will help the skin crisp up, rather than stay smooth and leathery. The more holes there are, the better, really. You want lots of small, delicate holes. I used a multi-pronged ice pick. You could use turkey skewers.
- Using heavy duty aluminum foil, wrap the pork like the bottom of the box. The top (skin) will remain exposed. Try to wrap the pork snugly so the edge of the foil meets the top edge of the pork sides. See pic above.
- Rub the skin of the pork with the vinegar. Sprinkle with salt to create an even layer over the skin. Try not to the salt fall down the sides in-between the foil.
- Bake in oven for 1 hour and a half.
- Remove from oven. Take the pork out of the foil pouch, remove salt crust and place pork on a foiled lined pan fitted with a rack. Turn oven onto broil, low setting. Oven rack should be set in the lower portion of the oven. Place pork in oven and broil for 10-15 minutes until skin puffs and becomes crispy. There should be tiny bubbles formed on the skin, if not the skin will be tough.
- Keep an eye on the pork while broiling!
- Remove from oven and let rest approximately 10-15 minutes. Cut into bite size pieces making sure each piece as a crispy little hat of cracklin! Serve with Chinese mustard or hoisin or sugar and oyster sauce.