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 rich cut of meat that is ideal for topping tacos, and sandwiches, or chopped up and devoured straight from the cutting board.
Whether you keep it simple and celebrate the pure pork flavor or slather it in Maple Chipotle BBQ sauce, this crispy pork belly won’t last long.
Why This Grilled Pork Belly Recipe Works
- Easy to Follow 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.
- Versatility – 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.
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.
Recipe Steps for Grilled Pork Belly
- Prepare your pork belly. If your pork belly still has the skin, remove it. Trim off any excess meat or fat from the sizes to make your pork belly more uniform in shape.
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.
- 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.
The choice is yours, but we’ve tested this out with some of our favorites! Hey, we know what tastes good.
- Signature Sweet & Smoky – Our classic, all-purpose sweet heat rub. These photos were made with this seasoning.
- 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.
- Smoke the pork to temp. Preheat your grill or smoker to 275°F and prepare it for indirect cooking. 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.
- 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.
Preparing the Pork Belly Ahead
This is where you can make the choice to cool the pork belly completely and store it for tomorrow.
…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.
- 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.
- Sear the strips. 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
- Chop the BBQ pork belly into small cubes 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Prepare the pork belly. Trim the pork of any excess meat or fat from the sides, and remove the skin if necessary. Place the pork fat side up on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make vertical slices in the pork belly 1/2 inch apart, slicing almost halfway through the meat. Season the meat generously on all sides, making sure the seasoning also gets into the cracks.
- Season and rest. Place the pork belly on a wire rack uncovered in the fridge for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. This step will give you a much better bark during the smoking phase.
- Smoke the pork to temp. When ready to cook, remove the pork belly from the fridge and gently pat dry any moisture on the outside. Preheat the smoker for indirect cooking at 275°F. Place the pork belly fat-side up in the smoker and cook for about 2 hours, or until it reaches 165°F internal temperature.
- Rest the pork belly. Remove the pork belly and allow it to rest while you increase the temperature of the grill for searing.
- (optional) Cool in the fridge. The smoked pork can be sliced, grilled, and served the next day. Chilling will also firm up the texture of the fat which remains very tender.
- Slice into thick strips along the vertical slices. Sprinkle on additional seasoning to the sliced edges.
- Sear the strips. Place the pork on the grill, with the exposed sides facing the coals. Grill for about 2 minutes per side, being careful for flare-ups.
- (optional) Glaze the pork belly with BBQ sauce. After the first flip from searing, glaze the pork belly with BBQ sauce. Brush the sauce on the second side at the end.
- 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.
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.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Smoking Time: 2 1/2 hours
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pork
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Pork
Keywords: grilled pork belly, smoked pork belly, grilled pork, bbq pork belly, barbecue pork belly, crispy pork belly