Six months ago i wrote this post on rolled and roast pork belly but in the last couple of months i’ve been perfecting my rolling technique, crackling and serving method.
There are three components to the dish; the pork, the hot sauce and the cheesy rolls. The cheesy rolls are a Dan Lepard recipe which can be found here. I follow this recipe, leaving out the mustard and instead of shaping into torpedoes, shape into about 8 large rolls of 150g each.
For the pork:
- A nice chunk of pork belly, mine was 2.3kg
- Sea salt
- dried thyme and garlic powder to season
- 6 tomatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 2 red chillies
- Bunch of coriander
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
To prepare the pork, lay it skin side down and remove any loose bits of meat and fat, also cut away any of the meat which separates the rib bones; you want to get it as flat as possible. Flip the belly over and score the skin to a depth of 0.5 – 0.75cm, depending how thick the fat layer is under the skin – don’t cut through the fat into the meat. i like to do my scoring quite close together and in different directions, this seems to give best results in the final crackling.
Grind sea salt all over the skin and rub it in to all the cuts. Leave it skin side up on a tray for about an hour, drying the skin off every 10 minutes with some kitchen paper. After an hour your pork should be very supple and flexible, it’s now ready to roll.
Do a few test rolls to figure out which direction the roll should go, there always seems to be one way of rolling which is better than the others. When you’re happy with how you want to roll it, rub the flesh side with salt and pepper and the dried herbs.
Before you can roll and tie the meat, you need some string (preferably proper meat tying string), and you need a knot. I’ve never been able to grasp a butchers knot; i managed it once but forgot it almost right away. Instead i do a modified shoelace type knot; the first under and over part i do three times before tightening, then follow up with a single knot which tightens the first one brilliantly… It’s not easy to explain, but there’s a video here you can watch which explains it.
I start with one knot in the middle, then add the rest, allow about 2cm between each knot and this will become portion control in the finished roast. Tie all the knots as tight as you can and when done, cut off the first one as it will have become too loose, and re-do it with a tighter knot.
rub some more salt into the skin for good measure and place the joint on a rack in a roasting tray, this stops any part of the joint sitting in fat or juices while roasting.
Roast on 160 degrees with fan, for a total of three hours. After the first 90 minutes, you can start to turn the joint; rotate about 90 degrees every 20 minutes. By the end of the cooking time you will have a giant tube of pork filled crackling. When done, rest for a good 30 minutes with some tin foil to keep it warm.
To make the hot sauce: grill the peppers and chillies until the skins are charred and place in a sealed plastic bag for 10 minutes; this releases them from the skin. Meanwhile, roughly chop the rest of the ingredients and fry in hot oil. Chop the peppers and chillies and add to the rest of the ingredients, simmer with a lid on for 2o minutes. Blitz to a fine sauce consistency with a stick blender and pass through a sieve. Check the seasoning; at this point you could add some smoked paprika or more chilli if you like.
To serve: Remove the string from the pork and carve into nice big chunks, i’m pretty sure you can figure the rest out for yourself