This recipe combines the mouthwatering flavors of slow-cooked pork with a luscious, juicy texture that will have you coming back for more. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice BBQ enthusiast, this smoked pork belly recipe is sure to impress.
Why Smoked Pork Belly?
In the past, pork belly was primarily known as cured bacon or part of a whole hog. However, it’s now easily accessible at most butchers. This uncured slab of pork belly is a fantastic option for creating irresistibly flavorful smoked pork belly dishes.
Preparing and Smoking the Pork Belly
Follow these simple steps to smoke a perfect pork belly. With only a few ingredients and an uncomplicated process, you’ll be savoring this delectable dish in no time. For additional guidance, refer to the recipe card and video below.
Seasoning: Begin by generously seasoning the pork belly with my Sweet Rub. Make sure to remove the skin/rind from the belly for optimal smoke and flavor penetration. If the skin is still intact, ask your butcher to remove it for you.
Smoking: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F and place the seasoned pork belly inside. I prefer using apple wood for this recipe, but feel free to choose your favorite wood for pork. Spritz the belly with apple juice every hour to enhance the bark’s color and keep the meat moist.
Wrapping: Once the internal temperature of the pork belly reaches 165 degrees F, wrap it in foil with a splash of apple juice. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F. This foil-wrapping process helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with additional flavors.
Glazing: Remove the pork belly from the foil, and lightly glaze it with your preferred BBQ sauce. Return it to the smoker for a few more minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize and create a delectable exterior.
Smoking Time for Pork Belly
The cooking time for smoking pork belly can vary depending on the thickness of the meat and temperature fluctuations in your grill. In this case, the entire process took approximately 8 hours for a 4-pound slab. Remember, it’s essential to cook based on internal temperature rather than time. To accurately monitor the temperature, I recommend using a reliable thermometer.
Serving Ideas for Smoked Pork Belly
Once you’ve successfully smoked and rested your pork belly, the fun really begins. Here are a few serving suggestions to inspire your culinary creativity:
Shred: Pull the smoked pork belly for the juiciest pulled pork you’ve ever experienced.
Cube: Enjoy tender, moist ribs without the bone by cutting the pork belly into bite-sized cubes.
Chill and Slice: After fully chilling the smoked pork belly, slice it into large pieces the next day for sandwiches. Give the slices a quick grill for a minute or two over high heat to enhance the flavors.
The world of smoked pork belly opens up a realm of culinary possibilities. Feel free to experiment with different preparations and find your personal favorite.
Ingredients for BBQ Smoked Pork Belly
To create this mouthwatering dish, gather the following ingredients:
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions for smoking the perfect pork belly:
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
Using a sharp knife, score the top layer of fat on the pork belly in 1-inch squares. Avoid cutting too deep, just enough to lightly penetrate the muscle. Generously season the pork belly on all sides with the Sweet Rub.
Place the seasoned pork belly on the grill and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. This typically takes around 6 hours. Spritz the belly with apple juice every hour during the cooking process to maintain moisture and deepen the flavors.
Once the belly reaches 165 degrees F, remove it from the grill and wrap it tightly in heavy-duty foil with 1/2 cup of apple juice. Seal the foil completely and return it to the grill. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.
Carefully remove the pork belly from the foil and drizzle it with the juices from the foil. Brush the belly with BBQ sauce and cook it on the grill for an additional 10 minutes.
Transfer the finished pork belly to a cutting board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. At this point, you can either shred it like pulled pork or slice it into cubes for serving.
Prepare yourself for a succulent and flavorful BBQ smoked pork belly experience. Whether you enjoy it shredded, cubed, or sliced for sandwiches, this dish will undoubtedly leave you craving more. Enjoy every tender and juicy bite!