the world of roast porkbelly : Susi’s recipe

I make roast porkbelly a lot , and I eat it a lot too….Anytime I see it on a restaurant menu.

In America it is easily found , specially in East and West coast restaurants. I also love to eat it deep-fried , in cubes and out of a paper cone at one of the filipino street food stands in Fort Mason , San Francisco, during the Off The Grid  food Fridays . This version is like a cholesterol I.V and it is called Lechón Kawali .

In Northern California I buy my porkbelly meat at the fantastic farmer’s market in Danville . There is a special butcher’s stand with certified organic meats from Prather Ranch .  Here you find the best grass-fed organic meats and poultry . It is not cheap but the flavor is unlike anything you have tasted before. Their porkbelly is sweet and lean and the fat dissolves in your mouth , unlike the horrible one that you buy at Wholefoods which is sticky , fatty and gluey .

In Spain  they  have yet to discover the world of roast porkbelly or panceta  ( not Italian pancetta ) . Even though we are a nation of cochinillo or suckling pig eaters , we do not know how to roast a whole panceta and serve it as a main course, maybe because it is so cheap and people only use bits of it it to add flavor to their stews and broths ?

This Christmas in Andalusia I was on a mission to find with my sister Sylvia the perfect butcher that would prepare us this cut . Deep into the hills we drove , to the tiny mountain town of Cortes De La Frontera which is known for its pork industry . On Google we found the only butcher in town and ordered the meat 2 days before . I asked for ” iberico puro ” thinking that the same pigs that give the famous jamon iberico de bellota , would make for the best porkbelly but the butcher said that meat would be way too full of fat for what I wanted  . He recommended a good grass/acorn/free-range pig that his family had just butchered in their backyard.  When I took one look at the cut I was ecstatic…..I had never ever in my life seen such a gorgeously lean and firm porkbelly . There was hardly any fat and the meat was so moist and soft .

It turned out as I expected : the best I have ever cooked…… ever.  The cost was 10 euros for 1 kilo of boneless meat.

My dearest friend in Paris, the great foodist , eating, drinking companion and cook Susi Wyss gave me her porkbelly recipe after I told her that it was one of my favorite dishes in the world.

This is how you do it :

For 8 people allow for 1 kilo of deboned meat.

Rub the skin with coarse salt and place it on a flat metal pan skin down for 20 mins  at 210 degrees C (410 F )

then turn it and cook for 1 hour at 160 degrees ( 320 F )

then lower heat again and cook for two hours at 120 degrees C ( 248 F )

If you want the skin to be crunchy just put it under the grill for a few minutes after it is cooked

And if , for any reason your guests are late or the aperitifs are dragging on then just lower your heat to the minimum and you can keep it in the oven gently roasting for another 30 mins or an hour at the lowest heat , it will be just as delicious and will not dry out. Be aware too that American pork belly does not look at all like this cut below , it is more of a chunky block long cube. Regardless, however it is cut , pork belly is the cut of meat from the belly of the pig and any format will do as long as there is some/a lot of fat.

Enjoy !

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 6.46.56 PM
see….hardly any fat…a rare feat !
ready to serve….juicy and moist and falling apart so tender that you do not need a knife

3 responses to “the world of roast porkbelly : Susi’s recipe”

  1. Victoria Melian says:


  2. Marga says:

    Genia, looks so good. Have noted the recipe and will try it as soon as. I love pork belly!!!!! Thanks!


Florence Lopez’s winter den