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Crispy Five-spice Meat Belly

Servings: 6
Cooking Time: 60-75 Minutes

Ingredients:

1½ pounds meat belly with skin
3 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese cooking rice ), dry sherry, or white grape juice
1½ teaspoons Granulated white sugar
¾ teaspoon Five-spice powder (see the headnote)
1¼ cups Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F .

2. Set the meat belly skin side up on a cutting board. Use a meat fork to make dozens and dozens of tiny
holes all across the surface of the skin. You can hardly make too many holes. These will allow the skin to
bubble up and keep it from becoming hard as it roasts.

3. Turn the pork belly over so that one of its longer sides faces you. Make four evenly spaced vertical slits in the meat. The slits should go about halfway into the meat toward the fat.

4. Mix the Shaoxing or its substitute, sugar, and five-spice powder in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Massage this mixture across the meat and into the cuts.

5. Turn the meat belly over again. Blot dry any moisture on the skin. Make a double-thickness aluminum foil tray by setting two 10-inch-long pieces of foil on top of another. Set the meat belly skin side up in the
center of this tray. Fold the sides of the tray up toward the meat, crimping the foil as you work to make a
high-sided case all around the meat belly. Seal the foil to the meat on all sides so that only the skin is
exposed.

6. Pour the salt onto the skin and pat it down and in place to create a crust. Pick up the foil tray with the meat in it and set it in the basket.

7. Air-fry undisturbed for 35 minutes for a small batch, 45 minutes for a medium batch, or 50 minutes for a large batch.

8. Remove the foil tray with the pork belly still in it. Warning: The foil tray is full of scalding-hot fat.
Discard the fat in the tray (not down the drain!), as well as the tray itself. Transfer the pork belly to a
cutting board.

9. Raise the air fryer temperature to 375°F (or 380°F or 390°F, if one of these is the closest setting). Brush the salt crust off the pork, removing any visible salt from the sides of the meat, too.

10. When the machine is at temperature, return the pork belly skin side up to the basket. Air-fry undisturbed for 25 minutes, or until crisp and very well browned. If the machine is at 390°F, you may be able to shave 5 minutes off the cooking time so that the skin doesn’t blacken.

11. Use a nonstick-safe spatula, and perhaps a silicone baking mitt, to transfer the pork belly to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes before serving

12. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F .

13. Set the pork belly skin side up on a cutting board. Use a meat fork to make dozens and dozens of tiny
holes all across the surface of the skin. You can hardly make too many holes. These will allow the skin to
bubble up and keep it from becoming hard as it roasts.

14. Turn the pork belly over so that one of its longer sides faces you. Make four evenly spaced vertical slits in the meat. The slits should go about halfway into the meat toward the fat.

15. Mix the Shaoxing or its substitute, sugar, and five-spice powder in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Massage this mixture across the meat and into the cuts.

16. Turn the pork belly over again. Blot dry any moisture on the skin. Make a double-thickness aluminum foil tray by setting two 10-inch-long pieces of foil on top of another. Set the pork belly skin side up in the center of this tray. Fold the sides of the tray up toward the pork, crimping the foil as you work to make a high-sided case all around the pork belly. Seal the foil to the meat on all sides so that only the skin is exposed.

17. Pour the salt onto the skin and pat it down and in place to create a crust. Pick up the foil tray with the meat in it and set it in the basket.

18. Air-fry undisturbed for 35 minutes for a small batch, 45 minutes for a medium batch, or 50 minutes for a large batch.

19. Remove the foil tray with the meat belly still in it. Warning: The foil tray is full of scalding-hot fat.
Discard the fat in the tray (not down the drain!), as well as the tray itself. Transfer the meat belly to a
cutting board.

20. Raise the air fryer temperature to 375°F (or 380°F or 390°F, if one of these is the closest setting). Brush the salt crust off the pork, removing any visible salt from the sides of the meat, too.

21. When the machine is at temperature, return the meat belly skin side up to the basket. Air-fry undisturbed for 25 minutes, or until crisp and very well browned. If the machine is at 390°F, you may be able to shave 5 minutes off the cooking time so that the skin doesn’t blacken.

22. Use a nonstick-safe spatula, and perhaps a silicone baking mitt, to transfer the meat belly to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes before serving

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