You will need
½ cup (125 ml) coarse salt
½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar
4 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
1.5 kg pork belly bone in, rind slashed 2-3 times
1 large onion, cut into wedges
Ina Paarman’s Sticky Marinade
Replenish water in the roasting pan from time to time to prevent fat burning on the base of the pan and smoking up your kitchen.
Measure the salt and sugar into a saucepan. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil while stirring to dissolve solids. Remove from heat and add cold water and ice cubes to make two cups. Leave to cool to touch temperature. Place the pork belly in a Ziploc plastic bag and add the brine. Squeeze out the air and put the closed bag in a casserole dish to contain the liquid around the meat. Refrigerate overnight.
Adjust the oven shelf one slot below the middle position, Preheat oven to 160°C.
Remove the pork from the brine (discard brine) and blot dry. Place on a roasting rack. Put the onion wedges and 2 cups of boiling water in the roasting pan and position the rack over the pan. Roast pork slowly for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and gently peel away the skin. Turn the temperature up to 180°C. Place pieces of skin, fat side up, next to the belly to crisp. Cut the remaining fat on the belly into a diamond pattern and brush with a generous coating of Sticky Marinade.
Put meat back in the oven. Roast for a final 35 – 40 minutes basting with Sticky Marinade once or twice more. Remove meat, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. The crackling by now will be crispy. Chop crackling with a mezzeluna or chef’s knife into smaller pieces for easy eating.
Carve the meat
First fillet out the bones (turn the roast upside down) Then with best side up, slice for serving.
To make a gravy
Use the onion and pan drippings. Add a sachet of Liquid Chicken Stock dissolved in a cup of boiling water, ¼ cup of Sticky Marinade and a good squeeze of lemon juice.