Recipe: Chef Michael Olson’s Double Roasted Pork Belly
Hands down my favourite cut of pork is the belly; simply salted and roasted for hours, there is no better flavour that a crispy bite of crunchy roasted pork belly. While gastropubs and fine-dining restaurants are saucing it up or serving it sous-vide, I prefer a traditionally roasted salty piece of pork roast.
I had the pleasure of talking pork with Chef Michael Olson at Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. He told me he roasts his pork belly twice to get a good crunch to the meat, using a two-day prep method to rest and roast a simple and economical piece of meat that is easy to prepare – you just need some time. Perfect for a weekend when you’re hanging around the house – the smell of slow-cooking pork belly will fill your home with an incredible smell. You can’t rush good pork belly – sit back, relax and savour.
While I have a hard time getting the meat onto the plate (my sister and I actually start picking at the crackling while it is still hot in the roasting pan), Chef Olson has included a spicy salad wrap recipe to serve crunchy slices of this roasted pork belly.
Pork belly is a simple cut but is not always easily available at your local grocery store. I picked up a lovely cut of pork belly from Irving Farms at Mother’s Market – visit a butcher or local farmer’s market to find a quality-locally sourced piece of pork belly perfect for roasting.
Chef Olson’s Double Roast Pork Belly
- Choose your fresh pork belly from a small independent butcher as the supermarkets do not usually carry this cut. The portion size does not have to be as much as other meats due to the high calorie content of the belly.
- 2.5 lb (1.2 kg) fresh meaty pork belly
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) table salt
- 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
Using a sharp kitchen or Exacto knife, score the skin of the pork belly, just into the fat but not through to the meat.
2. Make the cuts every 1/4-inch across the surface of the skin side.
3. Blend together the salt and baking powder and rub into the scored skin of the belly. Place the meat into a baking dish and set in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. Leaving the belly exposed to the air will help dry out the skin.
1. Preheat oven to 325F and allow meat to sit on counter to lose its chill.
2. Roast the belly for 90 minutes then lower the temperature to 300F. Continue cooking for 45 minutes. You do not need to baste during cooking as the fat needs to come out of the skin in order to change the texture. When done, the meat will be fully cooked, the skin should be light gold in colour and there will be a lot of rendered fat in the cooking pan.
3. Remove the belly from the oven and allow to cool on the counter for 45 minutes or longer. While the meat is still warm, drain the fat off (you will get about 1/2 cup and if you dare, use it in biscuits or baked beans).
4. To reheat, turn the oven up to 450F or as hot as your oven will go. Return the roast to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the skin is deep gold in colour, slightly puffed and crunchy. (Try to avoid touching the skin as it will burn your fingers!)
5. Remove from oven, rest
1/2 cup (125 mL) Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup (60 mL) Sriracha sauce
1 cup (250 mL) fresh cilantro leaves, washed and picked
1 cup (250 mL) English cucumbers, sliced
2 limes, in wedges
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, whole leaves separated
Diners can dress their own lettuce wraps. Brush the pork belly with hoisin, add a little Sriracha, cilantro, cucumber and a squeeze of lime. In place of the lettuce wraps you could use tortillas or light buns. Enjoy!