Vietnamese crispy roast pork is a popular dish that can be enjoyed with steamed rice, rice noodles with sweet and sour dipping sauce, or simply on its own. While making this dish at home can be a challenge, the biggest concern for many home cooks is how to achieve perfectly crispy skin. After trying many recipes, one method stood out as the best.
This recipe was shared widely on social media in Vietnam and received positive feedback from hundreds of thousands of people. The method is simple and involves no scoring of the pork skin or wiping off the fat. Despite its simplicity, the result is outstanding: golden-brown, crunchy crackling and juicy, tender meat. The method also involves producing steam in the oven, which helps keep the meat moist and juicy.
To ensure the perfect crispy crackling when roasting pork, there are a few important points to keep in mind:
- Rubbing salt into the pork skin before roasting is essential to achieving the desired texture, but it’s not enough on its own. The oven temperature must also be high enough to ensure the skin cracks properly. A temperature range of 220-230°C (428-446°F) is recommended for pork, and it’s important to roast the pork on a high rack, so the skin is close to the top heat element. The temperature can vary depending on the type of oven you’re using, so keep a close eye on the pork as it cooks and adjust the temperature if necessary. If the temperature is too low, the skin may not crack properly and will become rubbery.
- Using freshly boiled water when roasting the pork is highly recommended, as it creates steam in the oven and helps keep the meat moist and juicy. However, don’t submerge the pork too much in water, as this can affect the taste of the meat. Only use enough water to cover the pork by 1-2cm, so it doesn’t taste like boiled pork or pork stew.
- 0.5 kg (1 lb.) pork belly, preferably a rectangular-shaped piece with a flat skin surface
- ½ tsp 5 spice powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder (or 10 grams finely chopped garlic)
- ½ tsp onion powder (or 15 grams finely chopped shallots)
- ½ tsp salt
- Table salt for rubbing on the skin, about 30-50 grams (2-3 tbsp)
You can watch the video tutorial on how to make this crispy roast pork on Savoury Days’ YouTube channel. If you’re having trouble accessing the video from this blog, you can click on this direct link to YouTube. Make sure to turn on the HD setting for the best viewing experience.
- Begin by washing the pork thoroughly and drying it with a paper towel. In a mixing bowl, combine 5 spice powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Rub the mixture evenly all over the pork, including the skin. Cover the pork and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or overnight, to allow the seasoning to be absorbed.
- While this step is optional, it helps to enhance the flavor of the pork. Using onion powder can also help to eliminate any unpleasant odor from the pork.
- Prepare a roasting tray (a large baking pan works just fine). Line the tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil to minimize cleaning up after roasting.
- Place the pork, skin side up, onto the tray. Gently sprinkle table salt onto the skin to fully cover it with a layer of salt. Preheat the oven to 230°C/ 446°F. Roast the pork for approximately 30 minutes in the middle of the oven. Note: If you seasoned the pork with fresh garlic or shallots, make sure to wipe them off to prevent them from burning and sticking to the pork.
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Once the pork has roasted for 25-30 minutes, the salt layer on the skin will turn golden brown and harden. Remove the pork from the oven and wipe off the salt completely from the skin. Discard the lining foil or parchment paper, and return the pork to the tray.
- Raise the roasting rack to a higher shelf, so that the skin is closer to the top heat element. Pour freshly boiled water into the tray, but don’t use more than 1-2cm of water to prevent the pork from becoming too soft. Continue roasting for 25-30 minutes at 220-230°C/ 428-446°F. The high temperature and salt will make the skin crack beautifully, and the steam from the boiled water will help keep the pork juicy without burning it.
- Cooking time may vary depending on oven size, temperature stability, and the thickness of the pork. Thicker cuts require a longer cooking time.
- After the pork has cooked completely and the skin has fully cracked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into smaller servings. Avoid cutting it too soon, as the meat juice will escape, making the pork drier.
Serve the pork warm, as it won’t remain crispy if left overnight, particularly in the fridge.