Jenny Lam's Crackle Roast Pork Recipe

In her award-winning cookbook, "Eat Like a Viet," former MasterChef contestant Jenny Lam shares some of her best family recipes and Vietnamese foods. In her exclusive interview with Mashed, Lam offered to share one of her favorite recipes from the book – her famous Crackle Roast Pork. 

When she spoke with Mashed, Lam shared some tips and techniques for this easy recipe. Lam is very particular about the cut of pork belly she buys from a butcher — since buying the meat is where a good pork roast begins. Pork belly can have an irregular shape: one side is thick and the other thin. So first, select a piece that's as uniform in shape as possible. It's also important that the pork belly is evenly layered with meat and fat. "You're looking for that solid white fat," she told us. "None of that stringy... airy kind of fat. You just want solid white, almost looks like lard."

Another essential step to this recipe is marinating the pork, and then allowing it to dry in the refrigerator overnight. "A perfect crackling is all about how much you dry out the skin." Just before roasting the pork belly, Lam brushes the pork skin with oil and salt to remove as much moisture as possible, which will help the skin puff up and crackle. Lam's recipe works best with pork belly because the fat keeps the meat moist. Even for a novice home cook, "'s impossible to overcook," she promises. 

    Jenny Lam's Crackle Roast Pork Recipe
    5 from 22 ratings
    In her exclusive interview with Mashed, Lam offered to share one of her favorite recipes from the book -- her famous Crackle Roast Pork.
    Prep Time
    Cook Time
    Jenny Lam crackle roast pork
    Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
    • 1.5 kilograms (or 3-⅓ pounds) slab of pork belly
    • 1 cup soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
    • 2 tablespoons cognac, white wine or Chinese cooking wine
    • 3 tablespoons salt, divided
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil
    1. Rinse the pork belly under cold water, then transfer to a colander and refrigerate 15 minutes.
    2. To make the marinade, mix together soy sauce, Chinese five spice, cognac (or white wine, or Chinese cooking wine), and 1 tablespoon of salt in a small bowl.
    3. Take the pork belly out of the refrigerator and transfer it to a cutting board skin-side down. Make vertical shallow cuts on the meat side, every 2 inches.
    4. Pour half of the marinade over the center of the meat, and rub it into the cuts. Transfer the pork belly, skin-side up, to a baking tray that's large enough to lay the pork belly flat.
    5. Carefully pour the remaining marinade into the tray without letting it touch the skin. Refrigerate the pork belly uncovered overnight.
    6. Heat the oven to 425 F. Mix the vegetable oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of salt in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the oil-salt mixture onto the skin of the pork belly, evenly spreading it out.
    7. Transfer the pork belly onto a wire rack (or alternatively, directly on the top rack in the oven), and place a baking sheet underneath to catch the juices as it roasts. Cook for 20 minutes.
    8. Check the pork belly after 10-15 minutes to make sure the skin isn't burning. Once the skin is puffed and crackled, move the pork belly to the middle rack in the oven and reduce the heat to 355 F. Roast the pork for an additional 40 minutes.
    9. Remove the pork from the oven to a large cutting board. Let it rest 30 minutes. Turn the roast pork skin-side down. Using a meat cleaver, make a deep cut all the way through the meat until you reach the skin.
    10. Using your palm, hit the top of the cleaver until it breaks the crackled skin. Slice or chop the roast pork, and serve.
    Calories per Serving 1,060
    Total Fat 106.6 g
    Saturated Fat 36.7 g
    Trans Fat 0.1 g
    Cholesterol 135.0 mg
    Total Carbohydrates 2.1 g
    Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
    Total Sugars 0.1 g
    Sodium 1,811.5 mg
    Protein 20.2 g
    The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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