A pork belly is often thought to be a thick slab of bacon. Unlike its offspring, pork belly is a thick slab of fresh meat. It's not cured or smoked like bacon. One of the best parts is the fat layer that is transformed into a crunchy, salty-sweet crown.


2-3 lbs pork belly with a thick even layer of fat cap
1/4 cup Garlic olive oil
2 tbsp Maple balsamic, and more for serving
1/4 cup EVOO for frying
2 tbsp kosher salt for prep salting
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper


Score the fat layer of pork belly, 1-inch apart, careful not to cut into pork flesh. Salt fat layer generously. Place in fridge uncovered for 12 hours or overnight to substantially remove moisture. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a measuring cup whisk together Garlic olive oil and Balsamic. Rub in the mixture all over the pork belly, sides included. Place pork belly on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Roast on the middle rack for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

You can test for doneness by poking a skewer into the middle. It should read 145°. Juices should be clear or almost clear. Place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp skin. Keep a close eye to prevent burning. Remove from oven. Rest for at least 15 minutes. Cut horizontally. Serve with drizzles of Maple dark balsamic. 

Optional for extra crispy skin: Remove from oven and set pork belly aside.

In a medium skillet, place EVOO and heat to medium. Place pork belly fat (skin) side down. When the EVOO is puffing along the sides, remove the pork belly and transfer it to the cutting board skin side up. Rest for at least 15 minutes. Cut along slits made earlier. Serve with drizzles of Maple dark balsamic.