Say goodbye to failed crackling attempts or overcooked tough pork belly for good!
Air-fried pork belly is life-changing. You really need three ingredients – 1 kg pork belly with the skin already scored (unless you have a really sharp knife on hand, it’s best to get your butcher to do this for you), salt and olive oil.
This air-fryer hack is the easiest and one of the fastest ways to get a perfectly crispy pork belly that is guaranteed to be both succulent and seriously tender!
Make sure the pork belly fits in the air-fryer. While this step may seem obvious, you don’t want to overcrowd the basket as this will interfere with the airflow and convection effect, which could be detrimental to the crackling!
Salt the scored rind – it’s best not to be stingy here! Make sure to rub the salt into each of the score lines and leave to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the skin, which, along with the high heat of the air-fryer, will ensure that the crackling is super-crisp!
Some recipes call for the pork belly to be chilled uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out, but that won’t be necessary when an air-fryer is involved!
Blot the pork belly with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper to remove as much liquid as possible; this will also remove some of the salt from step 2.
Drizzle with a liberal amount of olive oil ensuring you coat both the fleshy underside as well as the scored skin, then finish with a final seasoning with salt.
Place the seasoned belly of pork in the air-fryer basket and air-fry at 200°C for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C for 20 minutes, then finish at 200°C for the last 10 minutes.
The combination of the high and low heat during the air-frying process allows for both the skin to crisp up and for the meat to cook slowly. As the fat melts, the belly meat is basted in the cooking juices and rendered fat.
There’s no need to boil the pork belly beforehand, as some traditional recipes suggest, which is what makes this air-fryer method so conveniently quick!
Once done, remove the pork belly from the air-fryer and allow it to rest, uncovered, while you whip up your favourite dipping sauce.
Simply slice, serve, dip and enjoy!