|Crispy Roast Pork Belly
one 4-lb. slab pork belly (1 3/4" thick)
1 1/2 TBS baking soda
5 TBS Chinese rice wine or sake
3 TBS sugar
2 TBS mashed red fermented bean curd
1 TBS fine sea salt
1 1/4 tsp. five spice powder
Place pork on a work surface, skin side up. Using a pork-skin pricking tool, an ice pick, or a carving fork, prick skin all over, making hundreds of small holes that just puncture the surface; set pork aside.
Dissolve baking soda in 5 cups boiling water. Transfer water to a measuring cup with a spout. Grasp one corner of the pork belly with tongs. Holding pork belly over a bowl or the sink, slowly pour the baking soda mixture in a thin stream over pork skin to scald it.
Transfer pork to a work surface, skin side down. Using a knife, score the meat, making 1"-deep parallel slits spaced 1 1/2" apart.
Combine 3 tbsp. rice wine, sugar, bean curd, salt, and five spice powder in a small bowl and pour marinade over the meat.
Rub marinade all over the meat, pushing it into the slits. Transfer pork skin side up to a baking dish. Wipe any moisture from skin with a paper towel. Refrigerate pork belly uncovered overnight to let marinate as the skin air-dries.
Heat oven to 375°. Thread 3 metal skewers horizontally through the meat layer of the pork belly (to prevent the pork from curling as it cooks). Transfer pork skin side up to a rack set over a foil-lined roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Wipe skin again with a paper towel.
Pour remaining rice wine over skin and brush to distribute. Pour hot water into pan to a depth of 1/4". Cook pork on center oven rack until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 160°, about 1 hour. Raise heat to broil and cook until skin is blistered and browned, 5–10 minutes. Before serving, let pork rest 15 minutes. To serve, cut into 1" slices.
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #134