Perfect Crackling Roast Pork Belly



  • 750g free range pork belly, skin on
  • ¼ cup fennel seeds
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 3 bay leaves, broken/torn
  • ¼ cup sea salt flakes
  • ¼ cup verjuice

Apple Sauce

  • 2 granny smith apples, cored
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ½ cup (125ml) verjuice
  • ½ cup (125ml) water



  • Using a sharp knife, score skin of pork at 1cm intervals just through to the fat, taking care not to cut through to the meat
  • Place pork on a wire rack set over the sink and pour over about 1L of boiling water to open up skin. Pat dry well with paper towel
  • Gently pound fennel seeds, lemon zest and bay leaves in a mortar and pestle to break up slightly, then add sea salt flakes and mix until combined. Rub fennel seed mixture into pork skin and incisions. Place on a tray and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  • Remove pork loin from fridge, brush off fennel mixture, and set aside for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 250°C fan-forced or set to the highest temperature possible. Brush excess salt mixture from pork, then pat dry with paper towel.
  • Transfer pork to a baking dish, then place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 220°C and cook pork for a further 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 62°C. Pour verjuice over sides and bottom of pork. After resting for 5-7 minutes the thermometer should reach 69°C.
  • Allow to rest for a further 10 minutes in a warm place.

Apple Sauce

  • Peel one apple and leave the other apple unpeeled, then cut into 1cm pieces and set aside.
  • Place a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and thyme, and cook until butter is fragrant and has turned nut brown. Add olive oil to prevent butter from burning. Add apples to pan and cook for 3 minutes, then add sugar, and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes until apples are lightly caramelised. Add verjuice to pan and cook for a further minute until thickened slightly. Add water and a pinch of salt, then reduce heat down to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples start breaking down. Remove from heat and roughly mash up apples with a fork. Season to taste


  • As you like it


  • Serve 6

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