The Cottage Smallholder

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Danny’s slow roast belly of pork to die for recipe

Photo of an uncooked belly of pork joint skin side down

Joint of pork belly with skin side down ready for slow roast

We have Sunday Lunch in the evening and Danny usually cooks it. If I have the day off, I can spend hours in the garden and totter in at dusk to a great meal. Perfect.

Last week he cooked the best pork that I have ever tasted. I had bought belly of pork from Fred Fitzpatrick on a whim.

Danny was polite and definitely suspicious when I showed him the thin joint. Belly of pork is a slim, boy racer sort of cut. A rib of small bones and meat that appears to be stingy. Wrong. BOP has loads of meat.

I was working last weekend and arrived home to tantalising smells drifting from the oven.
“I found a great recipe. But didn’t have the ingredients so made up my own and experimented with a new method,” D explained, as he sliced the delicious meat.

The pork had a deep, mellow flavour and the crackling was truly superb. The skin and fat both took starring roles. Proper crackling underpinned by a sparkling melt in the mouth layer beneath. I was not eating ‘fat’ but gently roasted, bite sized pieces of heaven that had transmogrified in the long slow cooking process into something with texture and flavour. I would kill for a decent pork scratching. Danny’s home made version impressed me and after the first forkful of meat I reeled with applause and, I hate to admit it, envy.

Edit Oct 2015:  Getting the crackling good and crispy can be a hit and miss affair.  Every oven is different. See Sue’s comment below. If it’s rubbery, you can pop it under a low grill for 5 minutes or more but be careful not to let it blacken and burn. I guess it’s best to play safe and score it, and rub on salt and oil in the traditional manner.

Do also consider serving this perfect Yorkshire pudding recipe with this or any roast.


Danny’s slow roast belly of pork to die for recipe
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 10 mins
Serves: 4
  • I kilo joint of belly of pork
  • 10 leaves off a sprig of rosemary
  • 3 small cloves of garlic sliced
  • Foil big enough to form a nest under and around the joint
  1. Place the pork, crackling side down, in roasting pan. Distribute the rosemary and garlic evenly over the base of the belly. Take the foil and press it over the belly to make sure that the herbs will not shift.
  2. Turn the whole lot over, crackling side up, and form the foil into a snug nest around the joint, leaving the crackling exposed and ensuring that the fat from the crackling will drip into the foil nest.
  3. Roast at 140c (fan) for 3 hours and then turn down to 130c for another hour (4 hours!) – these are our fan-assisted oven temperatures so you may wish to adjust for a conventional oven, but not by much I think. Maybe +10% maximum.

  Leave a reply


  1. ian garner

    the temperature of the oven is that for a fan oven or normal ?

  2. This recipe is wonderful. At the end of cooking I take the crackling off and put it under a hot grill just for a moment to make it go crispy – lovely

  3. I always take my crackling off and blow torch it for a few seconds on a metal plate. Do not hold the flame too close or it will blacken. It makes the most eatable gorgeous cradling. There is never a crumb left!

  4. John Thomé

    A truly awesome recipe.
    This is the second time I’ve tried the “long slow roast” – sooo tasty.
    I rubbed in a few black as well as yellow mustard seeds into the crackly side, with salt, after scoring, and it came out very well.
    Spent 20 minutes or so crisping the crackly under the grill ’til it was just right.

    Thanks Fiona and Danny, nice going 🙂

    John, 2BWild, RSA

  5. Sue Hamilton

    I cooked your slow roast belly pork last night for friends. The meat was indeed to die for however husband and I nearly had a divorce over the crackling which hadn’t crackled and broke a bit off the knife when being carved. I found your recipe again to see if I should have scored the skin, but that was not mentioned, however Reading other comments I shall score the skin and rub salt and oil over it and keep fingers crossed!

    • Danny Carey

      Thanks for your report, Sue. Yes, I have had that problem with chewy crackling too occasionally. I added a footnote to the recipe along the lines that you suggested.

  6. It’s a hell of a long time to cook a belly pork, but my god it’s worth it. Just done it today…..Wow what an outcome. Put the garlic and rosemary on last night, with the ground salt.
    Re-salted just before it went into the oven. Best i’ve ever done. Thank you. What ever you do don’t change anything.
    Thanks so much for a perfect Belly Pork

  7. Michelle

    I come back to this recipe time after time and was so sad when I saw your news. Keep your chin up and keep up the great work. Oh. And just as a side note – as tempting as it is to blame waistlines, I promise you that being a stick insect is no guarantee of happiness. I was once a super sad, super stick. I’m now four dress sizes bigger, loads wobblier, much happier and have a husband who doesn’t notice my weight. The irritation now is that even when I lose a few pounds, he simply can’t tell…! 🙂 Cuddly hugs, smiles and the very best of wishes, Michelle

  8. Bronda Hawkins

    Excellent recipe, so delicious. Wanted to make it again the next day. Superb for leaving in the oven and popping down to the pub for a couple of hours (or more).

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