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Crackling Pork Belly Roll with Bacon wrapped apples

Posted on November 30, 2017 by in pork

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Crackling Pork Belly Roll

This Crackling Pork Belly Roll should be at the center of each and every Christmas Dinner table this year. It is that easy and that delicious!

My Crackling Pork Belly Roll is already prepped and in my freezer, In fact I actually have a few ready for the silly season. By now, regular visitors to my site will know, that I love pork. It is most probably my favorite meat to eat. Pork Belly, roasted to perfection is at the top of my list. Second in line is a slow-roasted shoulder of pork. I can feed so many people with the shoulder of pork. It is perfect to have as a back up in the fridge for delicious sandwiches, wraps and pitas.

Crackling Pork Belly Roll

Every time I cook either pork belly or this Crackling Pork Belly roll in my classes, people are astonished as to how easy it really is. The most common complaint is always: “I can NEVER get the crackling right. Well, those days are finally gone, after reading this, you are going to be a pro.

Crackling Pork Belly Roll

Here are my Tips to Success:

Make friends with your butcher. How do you do that? Go to your local reputable supermarket or butchery and ask to speak to the butcher. Introduce yourself and say you will be ordering meat cuts which are very specific. Show him a picture or photo if you have to. Test him with your first order. If he gets it right, go back and thank him profusely. If he makes a mistake, give him another shot, but tell him what was wrong. Always be kind. With a good butcher, your battle is almost won……

Read up. Know what you want, take time and read all about meat cuts, cooking methods etc.

Less is more. I am not fond of too many flavors on meat, especially roasts. Keep it simple with salt, pepper, coriander. I want to taste the meat.

Crispy Skin. Before you roast the meat, the skin must be absolutely dry. Take some kitchen paper and pat the skin dry. NO OIL OR BASTING must EVER touch that skin.

Dry vs Succulent meat. Roast the pork in a roasting tray with stock, beer or wine, it will never be dry. The skin protects it from the top.

Stuffing vs no stuffing. This cut of pork leans itself to stuffing. Here again it is important to have built up a relationship with your butcher. I take my stuffing ingredients to him and he stuffs it for me.

Seasoning. If the butcher is making the roll, ask him to season the meat on the inside, before he rolls it up, whether you use stuffing or not.

Scoring the crackling. Ask the butcher to score the fat in 5mm intervals. It will assist you when carving the meat at the table. If you want to score it yourself, I find that a Minora Blade works best.

Ideas for stuffing

Sundried tomatoes/feta/olives
Preserved figs and camembert
good quality pork sausage meat and sage

Crackling Pork Belly Roll

Crackling Pork Belly Roll with Bacon Wrapped Apples

serves 8 – 12


2.5 kg / 5.5 lb pork belly roll – ask the butcher to make the roll no thicker than 10 – 12 cm, otherwise it roasts for ever and the thinner roll also slices better for presentation.


15 ml/1 T dry coriander – roasted and ground

a small bunch of fresh thyme or rosemary

8 – 12 small red apples

rosemary sprigs

8 – 12 strips of bacon

2 big onions – unpeeled, cut in quarters

3 carrots – cut in big chunks

2 sticks celery

350 ml apple cider

350 ml chicken stock

Crackling Pork Belly Roll


Preheat oven to 180 C.  Use kitchen toweling and dry the pork roll so that there is no visible wetness, especially on the skin. Mix the salt, pepper and ground coriander and season the meat all over, yes, also over the skin. Try and rub some of the seasoning into the scoring. Place in a roasting tray. Add the vegetables, thyme and lastly pour the cider and stock in the roasting try, but NEVER over the meat. Roast the pork for 2 hours.

In the meantime, wash the apples. Use a sharp knife and make a cut all around the middle of the apple. Do not cut right through. This prevents the apple from bursting open while cooking. Wrap a strip of bacon around each apple and secure with a sprig of rosemary. 40 Minutes before the cooking time is up, place the apples around the meat. If at any point the liquid evaporates in the roasting tray, add some boiling water.

When the meat is tender,  increase the heat to 220 C and roast until the crackling is golden brown and crispy. If the apples are done at this stage, remove them, otherwise they will burn. If not roast a while longer.

NB: At this stage it is wise to keep watching the oven. The last thing you need is to burn the crackling. Allow the meat to rest , while making a gravy, using the pan juices. Remove the string. Carve the meat and place on a beautiful platter with the apples. Serve!

Crackling Pork Belly Roll

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