Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? Pork belly is bacon and bacon is pork belly…all good? Which means, since bacon is amazing and delicious, pork belly is amazing and delicious. See how that works?
Now that we set the record straight, bacon is really just thinly sliced cured pork belly whereas pork belly is typically not cured and served in thicker slices.
Your local butcher should have pork belly available, if not, get a different butcher.
Cut: Pork Belly
Weight: 3 Pounds
Heat Source: Wood Pellets
Type of Wood: Apple Wood
Estimated Cook Time: 3 hours
Actual Cook Time: 2 hours
Time of Cook: 2:30 PM
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 1 225 degrees
Location of Purchase: Costco
Cook Date: August 29, 2020
3 pound pork belly
½ - 1 cup Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork
Optional: Mustard & Vinegar Sauce for dipping (definitely suggest!)
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Step 1: If your pork belly has skin, which is relatively uncommon, remove the skin.
Step 2: With a sharp knife, score the fat cap of the pork belly about ½ - 1 inch deep diagonally and create a checkered pattern.
Step 3: Generously season the entire pork belly with the Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork.
Step 4: Preheat your smoker or indirect grill to 225 degrees.
Step 5: Place your pork belly on the grill fat side up and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. This can take multiple hours pending on the size and thickness of your pork belly. For this cook I had a relatively thin belly so it cooked faster than expected (see lessons learned).
Step 6: Now, you have a couple serving options. First, you can slice it right off the smoker and serve. Second, you can slice and then place the slices on the grill to get the char and grill marks. But, be careful if you do this as the fat will render and catch fire very easily. So, keep a close eye on the grill should you go this route. Lastly, you can slice and place them on a cast iron skillet to get a nice char. All of these are great in their own right, I finished mine on the grill for the initial serving and for leftovers I heated the slices in a skillet.
Any way you want to serve, it will be delicious!
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)
The thinner the pork belly, the faster the cook. I estimated 3 hours for a 3-pound pork belly but was mistaken as my cut was rather thin. This led to only 2 hours of smoking time. I cannot reiterate this enough when grilling, we cook to temperature, not time. You need to have a good thermometer in your arsenal.