Smoked & Grilled Pork Belly

Grilled pork belly is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

Slice into the ultimate decadent bite of barbecue with this Smoked and Grilled Pork Belly combining the benefits of low and slow with a hot and fast finish. The final result gives you the best of both worlds, tender, juicy, succulent meat with that irresistible crispy char.

Get the party started with this versatile and tender pork belly that is ideal for topping tacos, and sandwiches, or chopped up and devoured straight from the cutting board.

This recipe for grilled pork belly starts low and slow on the grill using indirect heat, building a nice smoky flavor on the whole slab of pork. Once the bark has set and it’s almost done, the pork is seared over the coals. The fat drips down, creating aromas and flames to crisp up the outside. You won’t be able to resist!

Can’t get enough pork recipes? Try one of our favorites such as Smoked Country Style Ribs, Smoked Pork Steaks, Grilled Pork Steaks, or even Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends.

These crispy pork belly slices work well on sandwiches or tacos.

Why This Grilled Pork Belly Recipe Works

  • EASY PROCESS. There is nothing complicated about this straightforward barbecue pork belly recipe. The slow-cooking smoking portion not only allows the incredible flavor to permeate the pork but also renders down the fat allowing it to crisp up later. The hot and fast grilling portion simply chars the sliced pork belly giving it yet another layer of flavor and more texture.
  • MAKE AHEAD. The longest part of this crispy pork belly is the smoking portion. You can do this step a day in advance. Once you’ve smoked it to temp, simply keep it refrigerated until ready to grill up and serve. This makes it ideal for entertaining. Just click those tongs twice, fire up the grill, and sear it off. 
  • GOES WITH ANYTHING. Grilled pork belly is a canvas for sweet and savory flavors and can be served in numerous different ways. Use it in the same way you’d use pulled pork while showcasing the texture that it offers. Slice a slab, cut it into bite-sized pieces, or serve pork belly strips alongside some Smoked Baked Beans for an amazing meal.

Recommended Grilling Equipment

  • Charcoal Grill. This is the recommended grill for the entire process of making smoked and grilled pork belly. You can easily smoke the pork with the addition of wood chunks or chips on top of your coals, and then open up the vents to heat up the grill for searing. 
  • Pellet Grill. This is going to be the easier option for smoking the pork belly. Many styles of pellet grills now allow for searing, but you may need to sear off the pork on either a charcoal or gas grill, a cast iron skillet, or on a griddle.
  • Gas Grill. Preheat your gas grill to 275°F and leave one side of the grill unlit for indirect cooking. You can add wood chips to a smoke tube or wrap them in a foil pack. Place it on the hot side of the grill. Once your grill is heated to temp, place the pork belly on either the indirect side of the grill or on a warming rack.
  • Wood chunks or wood chips. If you are using a charcoal grill or gas grill this is how you’re going to add that mysterious layer of earthy smoke. Apple, maple, pecan, and cherry wood will give you the mildest flavor with hints of sweetness that compliments pork. For a more assertive smoke flavor hickory is a great option and will give you that hardwood smoked bacon flavor.
The pork belly can be grilled on a charcoal, gas, or pellet grill.

Recipe Steps for Grilled Pork Belly

  1. Prepare your pork belly. You will need a skinless pork belly, so if it still has the skin, remove it. If it’s a fatty pork belly, trim off some of the excess to make sure it’s uniform in shape. A little bit of fat won’t hurt you!

    Place your pork belly fat side up on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife make vertical slices partially through the meat, ½” apart. Generously season all sides of the pork making sure to get into the cuts.
Slice into the pork belly on the fat side, creating openings for seasonings.
  1. Season and chill. Place the seasoned pork belly onto a wire rack fitted with a baking sheet. Let it refrigerate uncovered for at least four hours up to overnight.

    This will give you a more developed bark during the smoking phase while allowing the seasoning to begin seasoning the meat.

Recommended Seasonings

The choice is yours, but we’ve tested this out with some of our favorites! Hey, we know what tastes good.

  • Sedona Sand (recommended) – This seasoning is a carefully crafted blend of Southwest chiles, herbs, and spices to create an earthy, savory flavor with a little kick.
  • Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub – Classic BBQ flavors come alive, a combination of brown sugar and smoky chiles to create a mild heat with a well-rounded profile. It also gives the chicken a great color. This is our preferred choice for a sweet rub.
  • Smoky Southwest Dry Rub – If you’re looking for a flavor that leans more towards Mexican food, this is a flavorful simple dry rub. The profile is darker, earthy, savory, and much less sweet than other rubs.
  • Korean BBQ Seasoning – Kick it up with this floral and spicy rub. The flavor works incredibly well with pork, and is on the medium-spicy side. Try pairing this with Korean BBQ Sauce!
  • Nashville Hot Seasoning – Now we’re talking. This rub is spicy, and combined with the crispy pork belly it will give you the tastiest sandwiches. Combine this with some Sweet & Spicy Pickles.
Season all sides of the prepared pork with your choice of BBQ seasoning, allowing it to rest.
  1. Smoke the pork to temp. Preheat your grill or smoker to 275°F and prepare it for indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill add your wood chips or chunks. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and pat off any excess moisture.

    Place the pork directly on the smoker. Allow it to smoke for about two hours or until its internal temperature is 165°F. 
  1. Allow the pork to rest. Remove the pork belly from the grill and allow it to rest while you increase the temperature of the grill for searing. You want it cool enough to handle while also allowing the juices to redistribute into the meat.

smoking Pork Belly Ahead of Time (optional)

This is where you can choose to cool the pork belly completely and store it for the next day. This is a completely optional step but is very helpful if you plan to serve the grilled pork bell for your guests and want to time it perfectly.

…if you can wait that long…

Allow your pork belly to cool at room temperature and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, vacuum seal it, or store it in plastic bags before transferring it to the refrigerator. The chilling will also firm up the texture of the fat while allowing it to remain completely tender.

Allow the smoked pork belly to rest at room temperature before slicing or storing.
  1. Slice into thick strips. Use your vertical cuts as a guide to slice the pork belly into thick strips. Season both sides of the slices with the same rub that you initially seasoned the pork with.
  2. Sear the strips. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. If you’re using a pellet grill, turn the heat to about 450°F. If you’re using a charcoal grill, open up the vents and prepare the coals for searing.

    Once your grill has heated up, place the strips over direct heat. Allow each side to cook for about two minutes before flipping. Because of the fat in the pork belly, be mindful of flare-ups. You’re just looking to char both sides and create that crust.
Slice the pork belly into thick strips for grilling.
  1. Glaze the pork belly with BBQ sauce (optional). If you want that glossy and saucy finish, brush barbecue sauce onto the slices after you have flipped them. Brush the other side with sauce once they come off the grill. 
  2. Rest before serving. Allow the BBQ pork belly to rest for several minutes before serving. Once slightly cooled you can cube or dice up the pork, or serve it in strips. Don’t forget to take a chef’s snack for yourself first though!
Sear the pork using a high heat for some extra char.

How to Serve Grilled Pork Belly

  • For a pop of freshness and brightness to balance the rich grilled pork belly, serve this with a herbaceous sauce such as Hatch chile chimichurri or the red chimichurri paired with a crispy pork belly in my cookbook.
  • Pile the slices up on a toasted bun and drizzle on extra smoky sweet heat sauce.
  • Serve with white rice, chopped green onions, and glaze with homemade Teriyaki sauce. This works best with sliced pork belly strips.
  • Chop the BBQ pork belly into bite-sized pieces and pile them into a charred tortilla with pickle de gallo.
  • Dice up the leftovers and stir them into Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese for an over-the-top dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cook pork belly so it’s not tough?

Smoke the slab of pork belly slowly, and then slice it and sear it to finish it off. Slow smoking allows the fat to render and retains the moisture of the pork belly. The searing helps crisp up that fat while still keeping it succulent.

How long does it take to grill pork belly?

The actual grilling only takes a couple of minutes as you’re just searing the pork to crisp it up over direct heat. The entire process of smoking and searing will take between 4-5 hours.

How thick should the slices of pork belly be?

The slices can be as thick as you like. For this recipe, it’s ½” portions but you can make 1” slices if you plan on cubing it up.

Is this the only way to grill pork belly?

No, there are other methods to grill pork belly. This process is an easy way to prepare a large slab of pork belly while rendering the fat and allowing it to remain extremely soft.

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Grilled pork belly is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

Smoked & Grilled Pork Belly

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Slice into the ultimate decadent bite of barbecue with this Smoked and Grilled Pork Belly combining the benefits of low and slow with a hot and fast finish. The final result gives you the best of both worlds, tender, juicy, succulent meat with that irresistible crispy char.

  • Total Time: About 3 hours
  • Yield: About 810 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Rest and serve. Allow the pork belly to rest for a few minutes before serving. These can be sliced into cubes or served as strips for tacos and sandwiches.

Notes

The pork belly can be sliced as needed, right out of the fridge. Once the pork has smoked in its initial cooking phase, cool it down before storing it in the fridge. Sear on the grill or a skillet for tender, crispy pork.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Smoking Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Pork
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