I always thought there was great mystery to cooking pork belly, slow enough to be tender but not too long as to dry it out. Turns out the slow cooker does all the hard work and all you have to master is the crackling at the end!
Mix the following in a medium jug:
~ 2 tbsp brown sugar
~ 1/2 – 3/4 cup chinese cooking wine (from asian grocer)
~ 2 star anise (whole)
~ 1 cinnamon stick
Place your pork belly in the slow cooker (mine was about 1.8 – 2 kgs)
Pour over the above mixture
Slow cook on medium for 5-6 hours
TIP: During the cooking, check that the cooking wine doesn’t evaporate entirely, but the belly shouldn’t be immersed in it either
About half an hour before you are ready to serve, heat your oven to 240C
Take the pork belly out of the slow cooker and place on a flat baking tray
Score the fat with a super sharp knife, either vertically or on an angle – be careful as the fat will be hot so it may spray out when pierced!
TIP: You could score the fat before the slow cooking, but it may mean the belly falls apart entirely during the cooking, so I left mine in tact until crackling stage
Grind sea salt generously over the scored fat
When your oven is piping hot, place the tray with the belly in the middle rack for 15 mins
TIP: Check after 10 to make sure it isn’t burning – all you want is for the top to crackle and then it is ready
I served this with a red cabbage/carrot/coriander salad and some blanched broccoli.