Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper
5 (1)

Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper<div class="yasr-vv-stars-title-container"><div class='yasr-stars-title yasr-rater-stars'
></div><span class='yasr-stars-title-average'>5 (1)</span></div>

There’s always a handful of dishes that you cannot help but order whenever you see them on a menu in a restaurant. For us, one of those is a classic Crispy Pork Belly. Succulent pieces of juicy Pork, cooked to perfection with an insanely Crispy Pork Skin / Crackling

Well, the good news is making it at home couldn’t be easier! There’s no need to head out to fancy restaurants to get a perfect Crispy Pork Belly. Our recipe adds a lovely flavor with the addition of some spicy Szechuan Peppercorns. Time to jump in!

The secret steps to guaranteeing unbelievably Crispy Pork Belly every time

Through extensive trial and error (basically, we’ve eaten a ton of Pork Belly over the years) we have perfected the steps to guarantee a perfectly crispy, crackling Pork Belly every time

There’s no need for blow torches, or a super-secret spice blend to put onto the skin. No, getting amazing Crispy Pork Belly Skin comes down to these three steps

  1. Score the Skin
  2. Salt the Skin
  3. Leave in the Refrigerator

1. Score the Skin with a Sharp Knife

Scoring the Skin will allow for more air and heat to get into the skin when it is roasted, thus ensuring an even cook throughout. We like to score the skin into diamond shapes, so that each diamond on the skin begins to char individually. If you do not score the skin what happens is the outside edges begin to char, however the heat cannot get to the center of the skin, so you’ll likely have a very uneven cook

Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper Scoring Skin
Score the Skin into a diamond pattern to guarantee a Crispy Pork Belly skin every time

2. Salt the Skin to extract all the Moisture

Salt naturally dries things out by extracting moisture. If you’ve ever placed Salt on an ingredient with high moisture you will know what I mean. Try adding Salt onto a slice of Eggplant or a Mushroom. Within minutes there will be liquid surfacing on those ingredients that you can pat away with a towel. The exact same process happens with Pork Skin

Once you’ve scored the skin, add a generous amount of Salt to it and leave it. The Salt will extract all that excess moisture from the skin. Without Moisture, leaves the skin with nothing else to do other than dry up and go all beautiful and crispy!

3. Leave the Pork in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 2 days

The last step, which in our opinion is the most critical, is often the most overlooked or underutilized step in guaranteeing a beautiful Crispy Pork Belly Skin. Nothing dries out the skin more than leaving it in the refrigerator after it’s been salted and scored

This step will guarantee the Skin goes beautiful and crispy once it is cooked. The step does require some planning and patience. So, we recommend doing all your seasoning, scoring, and salting prior to the refrigeration step

A fourth, and optional step is to add a liberal amount of Butter to the skin right before cooking. We’ve found that by adding the extra fat to the skin, it begins to crisp up sooner and gets a beautiful golden finish. It is an optional step; you’ll get lovely crispy skin with or without this step

Create an unbelievable tasting dry rub using Szechuan Peppercorns and other wonderful spices

Szechuan is a province in the southwest of China and has some ridiculously tasty food. One of their most famous ingredients is Szechuan Peppercorns. These amazing Peppercorns have a flavor that can only be described as ‘tingly’. That’s right! The Peppercorns leave this amazing tingly sensation on your tongue when you eat them. Not only that, but they also taste delicious

To complete this amazing dry rub are Cumin Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Onion Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper

So, if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous we highly recommend you try adding this delicious Szechuan Peppercorn Rub to the Pork. It’s really easy to do, simply Mix the ingredients together and then liberally rub it into the flesh side of the Pork Belly

Szechuan Peppercorns can be found in some supermarkets and at all Chinese grocery stores. Usually, they come in whole peppercorns so you can either grind them up using a spice grinder, or simply put them into your Pepper grinder and grind them that way

Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper slices
Follow this technique and you’ll get the some succulent, juicy, and Crispy Pork Belly imaginable

Cooking the Pork Belly requires a technique unique to this cut of meat

Roasting most meats requires a consistent temperature, usually around the 350 – 375-degree range. Or if you’re slow roasting, like our beautiful 10 hour Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, you’re setting the temperature quite low, around the 220-degree mark

For Pork Belly however, to get that Crispy Skin you need to initially roast the meat at a very high temperature. As high as your oven will go really. Anywhere around the 475 degree to 500-degree mark is what you want. Roasting at this temperature for the first 20 minutes of the cook will scorch and blister the skin, immediately turning it crispy

Now, if you continue to cook at this temperature you’ll ultimately burn the entire dish. So, the key is to drop the temperature down to 350 degrees after 20 minutes. At this temperature the fat will render beautifully, and the Pork meat will be cooked to perfection

If you were to only cook the Pork at 350 degrees from the start, you would have perfectly cooked meat however the skin will not be crispy. It’ll be pretty much inedible. So, high heat at the beginning, then drop the heat down for the remainder of the cooking

The Crispy Pork Belly is great to pair with these dishes

Pork Belly is quite a fatty, decadent dish. Which makes it perfect to pair with a light and refreshing salad. This is very commonly how Pork Belly is eaten all throughout Asia. Pairing some beautiful fresh Fruit and Vegetables not only lightens the overall dish, but the natural Acids you get from a salad contrast perfectly with the Pork, making for a delicious mouthful of food

Here are some of our favorite dishes to pair with this lovely Pork Belly recipe

Pair Pork Belly with a delicious Sauce to maximize your meal

There’s nothing better than dipping a beautiful piece of Crispy Pork Belly into a lovely sauce. There are plenty of simple sauces which simply go great with Pork Belly. A popular sauce being Hoisin Sauce, a sweet sauce whose origins are from Cantonese Cuisine. Made from fermented Soybean Paste, Hoisin Sauce is naturally quite sweet and is often paired with rich meats such as Duck and Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper pieces
This dish pairs great with so many dishes. Sauces and Salad are Pork Belly’s best friend!

Another pairing that we’ve found works really well but is less common is a lovely Red Wine Reduction. A beautiful, velvety sauce which consists of reduced Red Wine and Stock (typically Veal, Beef, or Chicken) which is finished off with Butter. It’s a French Classic and the sweetness pairs exceptionally well with Pork. Try our amazing Red Wine Reduction Sauce and you’ll see what we’re talking about!

For a more classic combination, you can’t go past Apple Sauce. The sweet and sour flavors of a well-made Apple Sauce are Pork’s best friend. Check out our amazing Apple Sauce recipe for one of the best you can make. Guaranteed to taste delicious with this Crispy Pork Belly recipe

Recipe Details


4 people

Prep time

2 days

Cooking time

1 hour, 20 minutes

Total time

2 days

Crispy Pork Belly Recipe


  • 2 lbs. Pork Belly
  • 1 tbsp. Szechuan Peppercorns, ground
  • 1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Salt

  1. Prepare the Pork Belly by first scoring the skin with a sharp knife to create a diamond pattern. Cut through the skin, but do not cut into the Meat underneath it
  2. In a small bowl combine the Szechuan Peppercorns and 2 tbsp. of Salt. Flip over the Pork and rub the Peppercorn mixture liberally all over the flesh of the Pork
  3. Turn the Pork back over and season the skin liberally with Salt (approximately 2 tbsp.) then place onto a large plate, uncovered, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 days (maximum of 4 days)
  4. Remove the Pork from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Pat down the skin with a paper towel to remove excess moisture
  5. Rub the Butter all over the skin, then season with an additional 1 tbsp. of Salt
  6. Place Pork in an oven proof sheet pan and place in the middle rack of the Oven which has been pre-heated to 500 degrees
  7. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the Skin has blistered all over and has turned a golden-brown color. Drop the heat to 350 degrees and roast for another hour, until the internal temperature of the Pork reaches 140 degrees
  8. Remove Pork from the Oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. While resting the internal temperature will increase by 5 – 10 degrees
  9. Cut Pork into individual chunks or slices along the already scored skin lines and serve with a delicious Salad and Sauce

We hope you enjoyed this Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper recipe. We’ve got plenty more amazing Pork Recipes here so why not check a few of them out and cook some up today!

Happy Cooking!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *