May 19

Cheap Meat If You Have The Patience: 3hr Pork Belly

Reading Time: 2 minutes
3hr Pork Belly w coleslaw and Smash! Photo: Sarah Lockett

3hr Pork Belly w coleslaw and Smash! Photo: Sarah Lockett

This is delicious. A real man’s meal – they like meat, don’t they? Sorry to sound like a terrible sexist, making sweeping generalisations, but you know what I mean. I also love it, incidentally, and the kids lap it up too. So, an all round family winner.

Pork belly is a relatively cheap cut (£5.99/kg) because it is marbled through with quite a lot of fat, and does need long cooking. I tend to buy about 1kg, or whichever size Waitrose/Ocado sends me, and it feeds 6 people.

Recipe: 3hr Pork Belly  

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1kg (approx) pork belly
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp thyme leaves (stripped off the stem)
  • 2 lemons (or 1 lemon and 1 lime)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3hr Pork Belly, Photo: Sarah Lockett

3hr Pork Belly, Photo: Sarah Lockett


  1. Crush the fennel seeds, salt and thyme in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Unwrap the pork and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Score the skin with a Stanley knife, just a few millimetres through the surface.
  4. Place on a deep-lipped baking tray and rub all over with the spice mixture.
  5. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 24hrs, or a few hours, if you are pressed for time.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slosh over 1/2 tbsp olive oil, rub it in.
  7. Roast for 30 minutes (skin side up – this is meant to crisp up the crackling but I am admitting defeat on this).
  8. Turn the heat down to 160 degrees and pour over the lemon/lime juice.
  9. Roast for a further 2 1/2 hrs. (If my crackling hasn’t crisped, I sometimes turn the joint over for the last half hour).
  10. Lift the meat out of the oil (it renders quite a lot) and slice into hefty chunks on a board.
  11. Scrape out the sweet-sour blackened lemony bits.

Serving: Serve with a sweetish sauce (fruit-based, apple puree? redcurrant jelly?) and some sides: perhaps coleslaw, baked potatoes or other salads.


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