This pork confit, or slow cooked pork belly, takes a roast dinner to another level, restaurant style.
If you ever wonder how they get melt in the mouth meat, without all the fat and the most amazing crackling, I have all the answers here, and all the cheats too!
Follow my easy step by step instructions, with plenty of ideas for side dishes, for the perfect meal.
Served with apple slices fried in butter, this slow roast belly pork absolutely melts in the mouth too.
If I go out for a meal I am often seduced by anything that says 'slow roasted' on a menu, because it's normally guaranteed to be fall apart tender and full of amazing flavours.
This is especially true of fattier cuts like lamb shoulder, pork belly and pork shoulder. The fat adds amazing flavour to the meat, keeps it moist while it cooks and simmers in it, but can ultimately be discarded before serving.
Although traditionally a confit is meat that is cooked in fat and then preserved in that fat, this recipe just uses the fat that naturally occurs in the meat. You can buy pure pork fat from a butcher to use or render fat down in the oven to use if you prefer.
The meat is then chilled in the fat until it is needed and then fried or roasted. Many restaurants chill the slow cooked pork belly overnight in the fat, with a weight on the meat to force out any remaining fat. The meat is then cut into portions without the skin, fried skin down and then roasted.
Of course, you can do this if you want, but the whole process is lengthy and not really practical for most people.
This recipe is designed to speed up the traditional proces,s so that you to cook restaurant style pork confit at home in the oven, without spending days in the kitchen.
After all, who can resist crispy pork belly?
Why you will love this dish
- No special skills required.
- No last minute carving.
- Simple ingredients
- Great for making in advance.
- Ultra crispy crackling.
- Fall apart, tender meat.
- Pork - piece of skin on pork belly, ideally already scored by the butcher.
- Apples - crisp apples such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala.
- Salt - flaked sea salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Oil - vegetable or sunflower oil.
- Butter - unsalted or salted butter.
- Thyme - few sprigs of fresh time.
- Wine - dry white wine for the gravy - optional.
- Stock - chicken pork stock.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Sharp knife
- Deep roasting dish
- Frying pan / skillet
- Carving fork
- Oven tray
Cooking pork belly couldn't be simpler in these easy steps.
Bring the meat to room temperature and dry off with a paper towel.
Make sure that the skin is scored lengthways end to end, ideally about 1 cm width.
If there are any rib bones left in the flesh cut them out and retain them.
💭 Top Tip
- For ease, I usually ask the butcher to score the skin.
- If you are doing it at home you will need a very sharp knife. A Stanley knife is good for this as you can control the depth of the blade.
- If you feel nervous using a sharp knife then a bread knife can also be used, but it takes more effort!
Rub the skin with oil and rub the pepper and a tablespoon of the salt into the skin.
Lay the pork and any bones in a roasting tin, on top of the thyme.
Cover the dish tightly with foil.
Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / 130 FAN / Gas 2 and roast the meat for 3 hours.
Use a sharp knife to remove the skin in one piece and set aside.
It will be really easy to remove, rather than doing it before the meat has been cooked.
Score the fat in a cross pattern and add a tablespoon of salt evenly over the top.
Replace the foil on the pork.
Cut the skin into 4 even pieces and place back in the oven tray.
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt.
💭 Top Tip
- Even though the skin is not crispy at this stage it can still be quite difficult to cut. Use kitchen scissors or poultry shears.
Put the pork and skin back into the oven for another hour or until the pork is extremely tender.
Remove the pork from the oven and increase the heat to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6.
Cut the pork into 4 portions and return to the pan.
Cook for 15 minutes until the skin is perfectly crispy.
Let the pork confit rest for 10 minutes before serving.
While the slow cooked belly pork is resting cook the apples and make the gravy.
Core the apples and cut into wedges.
Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the apples.
Cook for about 5-10 minutes until golden on both sides.
For the gravy, take the thyme from the pan and discard.
Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the pan and place over a medium heat.
Use the wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to loosen the bits stuck to the pan. Let it bubble for a few minutes then add the stock.
Serve the crispy pork belly with a pile of apples and crispy crackling on the side.
🥗 Side Dishes
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Celeriac Purée
- Chateau Potatoes
- French Peas
- Sarladaise Potatoes
- Potatoes Parisienne
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese
- Duchess Potatoes
- Pan Haggerty
- Apples - use peach or nectarine slices instead. They go beautifully with pork but will only need a couple of minutes each side.
- Spices - rub the pork and skin with a teaspoon of chilli powder or flakes, fennel seeds or 5 spice powder.
- Refrigerator - cool to room temperature and store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat - reheat in the oven until piping hot for about 20 minutes or slice and use in stir fries or other dishes.
If you are making this for entertaining then you can easily prepare the slow roast belly pork in advance.
After cooking the pork and skin for 4 hours allow to cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before cooking both at the higher heat for about 20 minutes.
Pork Confit - Slow Roast Belly Pork
- sharp knife
- deep roasting dish
- Frying pan / skillet
- Carving fork
- Oven tray
- 1 kg pork belly skin on
- 1 bunch thyme small
- 3 tablespoon sea salt flaked
- 1 teaspoon pepper ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 apples
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 50 ml dry white wine
- 400 ml stock pork or chicken
For the pork
- Bring the meat to room temperature and dry with a paper towel.
- Score the skin is scored lengthways end to end, about 1 cm width.
- Rub the skin with oil and rub the pepper and a tablespoon of the salt into the skin.
- Lay the pork and any bones in a roasting tin, on top of the thyme. Cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / 130 FAN / Gas 2 and roast the meat for 3 hours.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the skin in one piece and set aside.
- Score the fat in a cross pattern and add a tablespoon of salt evenly over the fat. Replace the foil on the pork.
- Cut the skin into 4 even pieces and place on an oven tray. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt.
- Put the pork and skin back into the oven for another hour, or until the pork is extremely tender.
- Remove the pork from the oven and increase the heat to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6.
- Cut the pork into 4 portions and return to the pan. Cook the pork and skin for 15 minutes until crispy.
- Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Core the apples and cut into wedges. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the apples for 5-10 minutes until golden..
For the gravy
- Take the thyme from the pan and discard. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the pan and place over a medium heat.
- Use the wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to loosen the bits stuck to the pan. Let it bubble for a few minutes then add the stock.
- Bring to the boil and serve with the pork. If you prefer a thicker gravy, allow the mixture to simmer and reduce, or combine a tablespoon of cornflour with a tablespoon of cold water, and stir into the mix.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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