Recently we found a butcher that sold pork belly, something that used to only be found at an Asian market even in the South. At first I planned to make my own bacon, but after realizing I was out of pink salt I came up with this. The sweet potatoes actually crisp up in the rendered pork fat and depending on the size they are cut will cook fast or slow. The smaller the cubes the crispier they will be on the outside, but the faster they will burn. I cut them fairly big so they would take about an hour to cook, be crisp on the outside and still soft on the inside. But adjust according to preference.
A warning, pork belly is extremely fatty heavy meat. For those of you who like lean or healthy meals than too bad because pork belly is also one of the best parts of a pig.
Roasted Pork Belly with Sweet Potato
- 2 1/2 lb pork belly
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 6-8 small cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp Kosher sea salt
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 tbsp dried sage leaves
Preheat oven to 465 degrees. Grind, black peppercorns, sea salt, sage leaves and corriander seeds with a morter and pestle. With a sharp knife score across the skin side of the pork belly through the fat and almost down to the meat every 1/4 inch. Rub spice mixture heavily into slits and skin then into meat and sides of the pork. Place on a roasting rack over a roasting pan and stick into the oven. Roast until skin puffs up, about 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast another hour. Meanwhile peel and dice sweet potatoes and peel garlic cloves. Remove roast from oven and baste with rendered fat. Place sweet potatoes and garlic in pan and stir to coat with pan juices. Carefully remove pork belly from rack and lay directly on top of potatoes. Return to oven and roast another hour, basting with juices every 15 minutes. When potatoes are done remove pan and check meat. The internal temperature should be about 160 degrees at least. Roast longer by itself if not. When done, let meat rest 15 minutes then remove tough “crackling” or skin from the fat layer. Slice belly into strips and serve over the sweet potatoes. Some people like to munch on the crackling, if not dogs love it.