Roasted Fennel Crusted Pork Belly

I jumped on the pork belly craze a few years back and have been experimenting with a variety of dry rubs. Slices of this fennel crusted number is delicious as part of a Ramen bowl or atop a bowl of lentils.

Remember that when selecting a worthy slab, if possible, go for one that has the same thickness thoughout so that it cooks evenly.
1 ½ to 2 pounds pork belly, skin-on
2 teaspoons whole fennel
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Using paper toweling dry the pork belly. With a sharp knife, score the fat/skin side every ½-inch at a diagonal. Repeat cutting in an opposite diagonal to create a diamond shape pattern. Set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind the fennel. Mix with salt, sugar, and pepper. Rub the pork belly on all sides. Wrap in food film and refrigerate overnight. When ready to continue remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Set the pork belly skin/fat side up on a grill pan or a roasting rack. Roast pork belly for 30 minutes on the middle rack. Reduce heat to 275°F and continue roasting for an additional hour or until tender but not mushy. (Larger pieces of pork belly will take longer.)

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Wrap tightly in food film and refrigerate until chilled through – at least a few hours and up to 2 days (this makes for easier slicing). Reheat slices in a sauté pan and serve as desired.

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