My air fryer pork belly recipe is not only super tender and juicy, but the crackling is also amazingly crunchy and bursting with flavour. And it’s easy to make!
Hey guys! I’m back to share my latest roast pork recipe that I’m absolutely certain you will love.
Pork belly has a reputation for being a difficult recipe to cook because the meat tends to cook faster than you can get the allusive crackle.
But it doesn’t need to be difficult with the proper preparation. And that is what I’m going to be teaching you in this recipe.
What I love most about air fryer pork belly is how easy it is to perfect every time.
Forget what you’ve read or seen on social media. In this recipe, we will NOT be parboiling our pork belly or rubbing oil into the skin.
Salt is all you’ll need.
I promise you that your crackle will turn out perfect without the extra steps saving you effort and time.
Ingredients you’ll need to make air fryer pork belly
Pork Belly: When deciding what pork belly to buy from your butcher or local supermarket, there are a couple of things to consider.
- Choose a cut of pork belly that will fit your air fryer.
- The pork belly needs to sit as flat as possible. Trim off any excess meat underneath if required.
- I don’t recommend purchasing vacuum sealed pork belly. Although you can still get really good crackling, fresh from your butcher is always best.
- Choose the freshest of cuts. The meat needs to be pink in colour with a thick layer of fat and pork rind.
Note: In point 2, I mention why the pork belly needs to be as flat as possible. When pork cooks, the liquid rises to the surface and pools in areas of the skin. By having a flat surface, the liquid will runoff, and the entire surface of the rind will crackle.
Seasoning: I love using a combination of Chinese 5 spice, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder and white pepper to flavour the meat side of the pork. But you can certainly roast your pork belly unflavoured if you wish.
And lastly, don’t forget the salt.
No oil is required: When roasting, air fryer pork belly oil isn’t needed. This is due to the way the air fryer cooks.
To achieve perfect crackling, the rind needs to be as dry as possible. And the oil is simply keeping the rind wet.
Salt is your friend in this recipe, guys!
How to prepare pork belly for the air fryer?
The first step is to make sure your pork belly will fit in your air fryer. Trim off any excess if required.
Pat the rind with a paper towel to soak up any moisture. This will assist the process of crackling.
Power Tip: For vacuum sealed pork belly, pat the skin down with a paper towel, and sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoon of salt over the rind. Then place in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin.
Next, flip the pork belly over and cut the meat vertically, about 1 inch apart.
In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon white pepper. Then mix the spices together.
My pork belly weighs roughly 1kg (2.2lbs) for this recipe. If yours is larger in size, simply double the seasoning.
Generously sprinkle the seasoning over the meat, ensuring you get it between the slits. Simply wipe away the seasoning if it gets onto the rind.
Cut a large sheet of aluminium foil that’s twice the size of the pork belly.
Note: The aluminium foil acts as an insulator cooking the meat slowly. And allows us to hit it with more intense heat during the crackling process without overcooking.
Place the pork onto the centre of the foil skin side up and carefully fold the edges around the sides.
When folding the aluminium foil, make sure you only cover the meat and not the rind and the foil snug around the pork belly.
The final step is to evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon of fine (table) salt onto the skin.
Your pork belly is now ready for the air fryer.
How to cook air fryer pork belly? Step 1
The get the best air fryer pork belly, you will need to cook it 3 times.
Twice low and slow to cook the meat giving you super tender and juicy meat, and once at a high temperature to crackle the skin.
Place your pork belly into your air fryer basket, then set the temperature to 120°C (250°F) for 40 minutes.
After the first 40 minutes, remove the pork belly from your air fryer and scrape off the salt.
Using a wooden skewer, begin poking holes into the rind. Depending on the size of your meat, you will need to poke around 100 holes.
Power Tip: When poking holes into the rind, you mustn’t poke too deep. Poke the holes deep enough to penetrate the skin and first layer of fat. If the holes are too deep, the juices will rise above the rind and soften the skin. Roughy 3-4mm deep is all that’s required.
How to cook air fryer pork belly? Step 2
Tighten the foil around the pork and place it back into your air fryer.
Set the temperature to 120°C (250°F), but cook the pork belly for only 20 minutes.
Remove the pork from the air fryer for the final time and wipe down the rind with a paper towel removing any liquid.
Then evenly sprinkle around 1 teaspoon of sea salt over the skin.
We are now going to concentrate on getting the best crackling ever.
Increase the temperature of your air fryer to 200°C (400°F) for 20 to 30 minutes.
Every air fryer is different, so it’s essential to check on your pork belly after the first 20 minutes.
If you have an instant-read meat thermometer in your kitchen, you can check that the meat has reached an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F).
Just make sure to measure the thickest part of the pork belly. This guarantees the pork is safe for eating.
Rest the pork for 5 minutes, carve it into bite-size pieces and serve with delicious apple sauce or our amazing homemade honey gravy
I hope you enjoyed this, guys! Please drop a comment below if you have tried my incredibly crispy air fryer pork belly recipe.
Have you tried our other great pork recipes?
- Bacon-Wrapped Cannelloni Recipe With Beef & Pork
- Juicy Air Fryer Roast Pork With Crispy Crackling
- Oven Roasted Boneless Pork Leg
Do you own a Weber Q? You have to try our favourite pork recipes!
- Cheesy Weber Q Beef and Pork Lasagna
- Smoked Weber Q Meatloaf with Sweet Honey BBQ Glaze
- Weber Q Roast Pork Belly Rolls with Crispy Crackling and Honey Gravy
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Incredibly Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly
- 1 kg pork belly
- 1 teaspoon chinese five spice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- sea salt for the crackling
Pork Belly Preparation
- Allow the pork belly to come up to room temperature for 1 hour. If your pork is vacuum-sealed pre-salt the rind and place it in the fridge uncovered overnight.
- Pat the rind dry with a paper towel and trim to fit in the air fryer if required. Cut off any excess meat so the pork belly sits as level as possible. Flip the meat over and make deep vertical slices 1inch apart and ¾inch deep.
- In a small bowl, combine Chinese five-spice, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, salt, and black pepper. Then evenly rub the seasoning over the meat getting in between the slits. Try not to get any seasoning onto the skin.
- Using a sheet of aluminium foil roughly twice the size of the pork, lay the pork belly onto the centre skin side up. Fold the edges inwards, making the height roughly the same or slightly under the skin. Pinch the corners in towards the pork, making it nice and snug
- Evenly spread 1 tablespoon of fine (table) salt onto the skin and place the pork belly into the air fryer. Cook the pork belly at 120°C (250°F) for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes, remove the pork belly from the air fryer and scrape off the salt. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the skin. Only poke deep enough to penetrate the skin and first layer of fat. Roughly 3-4mm deep. If the holes are too deep, juices will rise to the surface, inhibiting the crackling process.
- Tighten up the foil around the pork belly and cook for a further 20 minutes at 120°C (250°F). When the second cook is complete open your air fryer and pat down the surface of the skin with a paper towel
- To create the crackling, increase your air fryer's temperature to 200°C (400°F) for 20 to 30 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the pork belly using an instant-read meat thermometer. The pork belly should be 71°C (160°F) internally in the thickest part.
- Rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to run back in before cutting, bringing the pork to a safe eating temperature of 74°C. Cut into bite-size pieces and serve with apple sauce.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @justsoyum on Instagram or Facebook so we can find your masterpiece.
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