Crispy Pork Belly With Pomegranate Caramel

Crispy pork belly smothered in a sweet, tart pomegranate caramel, topped with some  fresh pomegranate rubies is a real crowd pleaser.



Ready In:

6 hours 

Good For:

Great as a buffet platter or for a fancy dinner


About this Recipe

By: Amanda Higgins

When you mention crispy pork belly to people they get very excited. I am always looking improve the flavour of things and this dish has all the wow factor. The pork is salty and crispy, the caramel is sticky, sweet and tart at the same time – the combination is amazing. Slicing it up into little bite size pieces makes for the perfect mouthful every time. Be warned you will need plenty as it is gobbled up in seconds. A great party dish or buffet platter.

The cook time seems long but that is because I slow cook the pork. The complicated part is in the making of the caramel.


  • 2,5kg piece of pork belly unrolled – all bones removed and the fat scored
  • 3 tablespoons five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon course salt
  • 4/5 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • pomegranate seeds for serving

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Combine the five spice, fennel, salt and cloves in a grinder and crush to a powder. Rub this into the underside of the pork and leave to marinade for about 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Lay the pork fat side down in a baking tray and cover the tray with tin foil. I like to lay a non-stick mat in the tray as it stops the pork from sticking.

Step 2

​Cook the pork slowly for 2 hours. Remove it from the oven and flip it over so that the fat is facing upwards. Rub the 2 tablespoons of salt into the fat making sure it all gets a good covering.

Raise the oven temperature to 220ºC and pop the pork back in. You are going to want a lovely crispy fat crackling. Depending on your oven this could take anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it. To test pull it out and tap on the pork fat when you think it is nearly ready. It should sound nice and hollow. Be careful not to burn it or your fingers.

Step 3

​When it is ready take it out of the oven and allow it to stand for 20 minutes before cutting into smaller portions. For this recipe I cut the pork into small cubes.

While the pork is cooking get on with making the caramel.

Step 4

Simmer the pomegranate juice until it has reduced by half and has a slight syrupy consistency. This will intensify the flavour of the pomegranate.

Place the cup of brown sugar into a small saucepan together with the lemon juice and water, bring to a boil. Don’t stir the sugar mixture while it is boiling. If you have a sugar thermometer allow the sugar to come up to about 175ºC. With no thermometer it is a little tricky. The caramel will bubble until it is a rich amber colour. Don’t panic, allow it to reach this colour. You have to keep a close eye on it. Remove it from the heat and carefully add the pomegranate juice. Be very careful as it will bubble and splatter. Stir this to combine.

Step 5

​Arrange the chopped pork on a serving dish and drizzle the caramel over the top.

This is lovely as a canapé snack or served with a puree and vegetables. I served it with a warm roasted cauliflower, roasted fennel and baby spinach salad drizzled with olive oil and pomegranate seeds.


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