Crisp and Unctious Pork Belly

Print recipe
Process: Involved
Cooking: Pork
Preparation: Long Cook (Over 2 hours)

Serves: 8

One 4-pound piece fresh, uncured, skin-on pork belly

Tip: Here’s a cool trick. After the belly is all jiggly and tender, I sandwich it in a grill basket. That way, it’s easily moved around and keeps its shape as it crisps.

Man, do the Brits know how to cook pork! I was strolling through London’s Borough Market, on a tip from my friend and bottomless source of inspiration Jamie Oliver, when I stumbled across a stall that made the most amazing pork belly (which, for anyone who’s skeptical, is just uncured bacon, and who doesn’t love bacon?). So of course, I got the recipe. And of course, I cook my version on the barbecue.

The belly cooks slowly inside a foil packet in its natural juices, so it develops a luscious texture. Then right before it’s done, I unwrap it and crank up the heat to crisp the skin. If you like it sweet, homemade applesauce and a bit of hot English mustard make the flavor explode. It also goes great with a side of Kale with Bacon.

But here’s a warning: Your friends will want to stuff their faces with super-rich slices, so you’ll have to play the parent and offer them just enough.


1 cup water
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
10 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, germ removed, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced serrano or other small, hot chile of choice (optional)
2 cups water 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, softened

1⁄4 cup bourbon
1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat- leaf parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
About 1⁄3 cup canola or vegetable oil

Finishing Dressing
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Kosher salt
Finely ground coarse black pepper
Hot English mustard
8 sliced Cuban- style rolls, or eight 6-inch pieces of soft, unseeded, Italian bread, split like rolls

1 recipe Applesauce
1 recipe Dressed Arugula

Techniques Used

Add Texture
Add Texture
Board Dressing
Board Dressing
Glisten With Oil
Glisten With Oil
Scoring Deeply
Scoring Deeply
Optional Savory Herb Brush
Optional Savory Herb Brush
Rest in Foil
Rest in Foil
Kiss With Smoke
Kiss With Smoke
Tighten With Glaze
Tighten With Glaze
Watch Coarseness Spice
Watch Coarseness Spice
Watch Seasoning
Watch Seasoning
Wrap With Foil
Wrap With Foil


1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender, or in a large bowl using an immersion/stick blender, and blend to combine thoroughly. Place the pork belly in a large resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the top, squeeze out any excess air from the bag, and close. Roll the bag to evenly coat the pork belly. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to 1 day.

Cooking Method

2. Preheat an indirect bbq with a drip pan and fruitwood (preferably apple), a ceramic cooker with deflector plate and fruitwood (preferably apple), or a charcoal or gas grill with a box or packet of fruitwood (preferably apple) to 275°F.

3. Place the belly in a baking dish or disposable aluminum pan, preferably a 131⁄2 × 95/8 × 23⁄4-inch lasagna pan. Pour over the marinade, add the water and the butter, cover the top with heavy- duty aluminum foil, and crimp the edges to tightly seal. Place in the cooker and cook for 51⁄2 hours.

4. Remove from the cooker and let rest in the pan, still covered, for 2 hours.

5. Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before the end of the resting period, increase the temperature of the cooker for crisping the skin. If using a ceramic cooker, remove the deflector plate and increase the temperature to 375°F. If using a charcoal or gas grill, increase the temperature of the grate to high. For the glaze, pour the bourbon in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook off the alcohol, being careful of a possible flare- up, 7 to 10 minutes. The strong alcohol smell will subside. Place the remaining glaze ingredients into a jar with a tight- fitting lid and pour over the warm bourbon. Close the lid and shake to combine. Set aside. Pour a film of canola oil into a baking dish or disposable pan. Place a grilling basket on the work surface.

6. Carefully remove the belly from the pan and place, skin side down, in the oil. Turn over in the oil. Transfer the belly to the grilling basket and close. Place the basket over the direct heat, skin side down, and cook to crisp the skin, about 15 to 20 minutes.

7. Give the glaze a quick shake to reincorporate any ingredients that may have settled. Remove the belly from the cooker and brush on all sides with the glaze. Place the belly back over the direct heat, skin side up, for about 5 minutes to tighten the glaze. Flip and repeat on the second side, cooking for about 5 minutes.

8. Drizzle the olive oil over the cutting board, followed by the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the chives, salt, and pepper. Carefully, because it will be exceptionally tender, remove the belly from the basket, place on the cutting board, skin side up, and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

9. Sprinkle the belly with salt, pepper, chives, and parsley, and cut the belly into slices (if you have one, an electric knife works well here), dredging in the dressing as it is cut. Spread mustard on the rolls, place a slice on each roll, and top with applesauce and greens.

© 2009 APL Creative Inc from Serious Barbecue

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