Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Barbecued Pork Belly

Adapted from Steven Raichlen's Project Smoke


  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Method: Hot smoking
  • Equipment: Big Green Egg; Fuel: a mix of hickory and cherry
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  • A 3- to 3-1/2-pound section of pork belly
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

For the rub:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (or more black pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Step 1: Remove the skin (also called rind) from the pork belly (if still on). Score both sides with a sharp knife, cutting a 1-inch crosshatch pattern with cuts 1/4 inch deep.

Step 2: Make the rub: Place the salt, sugar, paprika, garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, mustard powder, white pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Mix well with your fingers.

Step 3: Sprinkle the rub over the top, bottom, and sides of the pork belly, rubbing it into the meat with your fingers.

Step 4: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions, and preheat to 225 degrees. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.

Step 5: Smoke the pork belly fat side up until bronzed with smoke and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. This will take about 3 to 4 hours.

Step 6: You can serve the pork belly hot out of the smoker, but you’ll get a better texture and flavor if you chill and reheat it. If using the second option, transfer the pork belly to a wire rack over a baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold. The recipe can be made up to 3 days ahead.

Step 7: Cut the chilled pork belly crosswise (against the grain) into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lightly season each slice on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 8: Meanwhile, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. Ideally, you’ll be grilling over wood or will add some wood chunks to your fire.

Step 9: Arrange the pork belly strips on the grate on the diagonal and grill until sizzling and browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. (Give each slice a quarter turn after 1 minute to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks.) Don’t over-crowd your grill. The melting fat may cause flare-ups—so you want to leave yourself plenty of maneuvering room to dodge the flames.

Find This and More

Project Smoke

New York Times Bestseller Project Smoke is the How to Grill of smoking, both a complete step-by-step guide to mastering the gear and techniques and a collection of 100 explosively […]

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