Crispy pork belly in the slow cooker; this is probably the best way of cooking a juicy and tender piece of pork with the best crackling.
Pork and slow cooking
The slow cooker and a piece of pork are usually a match made in heaven. And cooking pork belly in the slow cooker is one of the best ways of cooking this particular cut. The meat is juicy and incredibly tender, and the crackling will crisp up in the oven once you are finished with slow cooking.
The best about this pork belly recipe (besides the crackling)?
Well, the crackling is the best!!! But what else?
- Despite the slow cooking, which takes hours, there is not much work involved. The crispy pork bellies I’ve cooked before all included marinating the meat overnight, pricking the skin with a needle or scoring it with a knife, sometimes salting the skin, and leaving the salt to draw the moisture.
- While I do like the part regarding salting the skin, I am pretty much annoyed by anything else I have to do with the skin: pricking, crosshatch patterns, and so on. So, I decided to leave that. And it works, I cannot imagine the crackling being any crispier, it was perfect. Loud when you bit on it, crumbling and utterly delicious!
- The fat will remain in the pot. I’ve eaten a belly of pork roasted with potatoes and vegetables, and while I cannot say that it didn’t taste good, I would not want to repeat the recipe. The dish was just too fatty as all the fat was served with the potatoes and the veggies.
- When cooking the pork this way, most of the rendered fat will remain in the crockpot and in the roasting tin while you crisp the skin in the oven.
Incredibly versatile, like a blank canvas:
- You can serve it as it is, or you can turn it Asian; you can serve it in a very rustic way with potatoes and veggies, you can give it a Mexican touch and add it to tacos or tortillas, and so on. More about that at the end of the post.
- And if you like to cook larger cuts of meat in the crockpot, have a look at these amazing Slow Cooked Pork Hocks, Osso Bucco, or Lamb Shoulder in the Slow Cooker. Or make a simple Lamb Casserole.
What do you need?
- Pork belly: I had a large piece weighing 1,4 kg/ 3 lbs. I cut that into two equal pieces. (1)
- Dry rub: you can use your favorite brand or mix your own. You will also need fine sea salt.
- Vegetables: onions, garlic. (2)
- Liquids: chicken stock, soy sauce. (2)
- As you can see, a minimal list of ingredients.
How to slow cook the belly of pork?
- If you have a large piece of meat, cut it into two equal parts.
- Rub the meat generously with fine sea salt all over the meat and skin.
- Rub it with the dry rub as well. The dry rub will not hang so easily to the skin, but be patient and rub.
- Quarter the onion, and peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole.
- Place them in the crockpot. Add stock and soy sauce.
- Place the meat on top. (1)
- Cook for 4 ½ hours on high or for about 7 hours on low. I always do it on high nowadays, it fits my schedule better, and I haven’t noticed any difference between the two ways of cooking.
- Before the slow cooking is quite done, preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking tray or roasting tin with foil. Place a roasting rack on top.
- Carefully lift the meat and place it on the prepared roasting assembly. (2)
- Roast for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. Check the crackling every few minutes or so; you don’t want it to get too dark. Remove the meat from the oven as soon as the skin is golden and crispy.
Expert Tips and FAQ
You can. But it will be more difficult to do it in a crockpot or slow cooker.
The cooking time depends a little on the thickness of the cut. So, if your piece is thinner, you might want to check it after 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low already. If it is thicker than standard, you might increase the cooking time by half an hour or so.
The cooking time also depends on the machine you are using, so make sure to check its instruction manual. Newer machines are faster, while the older version, which still has a ceramic pot (like mine does), needs a bit more time. For best results, make sure you know your gadget and how it works.
However, rest assured that if you cook the pork belly in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes longer than needed, nothing dramatic will happen.
Definitely. Cook the pork belly in the slow cooker. Let cool and refrigerate.
Once you are ready to continue cooking it, let it come to room temperature while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the meat as described in the recipe until the crackling is golden and crispy.
Keep the leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container; they will be fine for 2-3 days. You can also freeze the leftovers for about 2 months.
You can, but I would only reheat leftovers. The belly is otherwise best served immediately for maximum crispiness and juiciness.
Oven: You can reheat a whole piece or just the leftover slices. I have the slices most of the time, and they take only minutes to reheat at about 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pan: frying the sliced meat in the pan goes even faster than the oven method.
Air fryer: it only takes a few minutes for the slices to get hot.
How to serve crispy pork belly?
This amount of meat will easily serve 8 people. It is very rich, so a little should go a long way. If you serve it as a starter or as part of a larger meal, it should easily be enough for 12 people.
- Asian style with a dip. We had it with two kinds of dips, one made with peanut butter and a simple chili dip.
- Chinese style: with mustard. Either hot English mustard or your favorite (and rather ordinary) kind. We often have it with our regular German mustard, which is not hot.
- German style: with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Try a simple sauerkraut or Bavarian sauerkraut, it is a delicious combination as the acidity of the kraut cuts so nicely through the richness of the pork.
- Mexican style: in tacos or tortillas. Add other ingredients like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, hot sauce, and so on.
- Make a Pork Belly Sandwich.
- With roasted potato wedges and coleslaw or red cabbage slaw.
- With rice: I love to serve this with fried rice or a simple rice dish, like Jollof Rice (super spicy), Vegetable Pilaf, Carrot Rice, Tomato Zucchini Rice and so on.
More pork recipes:
- Crispy Pork Chops (Schweinshaxe Recipe)
- Dutch Oven Pulled Pork
- Spicy Pork Roast
- Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Chops in Milk Marinade
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Pork Belly in the Slow Cooker
- 3 lbs pork belly Note 1
- 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2-3 tablespoons dry rub Note 2
- 1 small onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Rub: If necessary, cut the piece of meat into two even parts. Rub very well all over with the salt. Rub with the dry rub as well.
- Prepare: Peel and quarter the onion, peel but leave the garlic cloves whole. Place them in the slow cooker. Add stock and soy sauce. Place the pork belly on top.
- Cook on high for 4 ½ hours OR on low for about 7 hours. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the meat and on the slow cooker (Note 3). You should be able to pierce the meat with a fork easily.
- Preheat oven: During the last half hour of the slow cooking time, preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a roasting tin or baking tray with foil. Place a roasting rack on top.
- Crisp in the oven: Lift the meat from the slow cooker and place it, skin side up, on the rack. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the crackling is golden and very crispy. Keep an eye on the meat and check every few minutes. The roasting time depends on the oven as well, the skin should not get too dark.
- I had a large piece, which I cut into two even parts.
- Your favorite brand or homemade mixture.
- The cooking time also depends on the machine you are using, so make sure to check its instruction manual. Newer slow cookers are faster, while the older version which still has a ceramic pot (like mine does), needs a bit more time. For best results make sure you know your gadget and how it works.