Smoked pork belly is a delicious dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of different diets, including the paleo diet, a keto diet, as well as a standard, well-balanced diet, too! Besides being delicious and nutritious, smoked pork belly combines all the best bits of the barbecue to bring you a finger licking meat dish that will leave you wanting more.
Below, we’re going to be showing you how to cook and smoke pork belly, as well as giving you a few different options for how to eat it after you’ve cooked it – regardless of whether you follow a paleo diet or not. Read on!
Pork Belly: What is it?
In a nutshell, pork belly is a type of boneless cut of thick, fatty meat that comes directly from the belly of a big.
While it is most commonly enjoyed as bacon, it can be cooked in a variety of different ways – including smoked.
Where Can Pork Belly be Bought?
You can get pork belly in just about any grocery store, however, for the best pork belly, we recommend that you go to your local butcher, where you will be able to get the freshest and juiciest pork belly around.
How to Cure Pork Belly:
After you have purchased your pork belly, you’re going to need to place it into a container, and fill it with a curing solution. Then, once you have poured in the curing solution, place your lid onto the container and then pop it in the fridge.
We recommend that you allow your pork belly to cure for around 4 hours, although some do prefer to cure their pork belly around three.
What About the Grease?
As you cook your pork belly, it’s likely that you’re going to lose around 30% of it due to the extremely high temperatures.
If you don’t need it, then you can simply choose to safely dispose of it, however, if you would like to keep it then you could transfer it to a tub, where you can then use it as makeshift cooking grease.
How to Smoke Pork Belly and For How Long:
Smoke pork belly combines all the best parts of the BBQ experience, including the authentic, smoky flavor of cooking on a grill, with the deliciously juicy texture of the meat.
If you’re interested in trying out cooking your very own smoked pork belly at home, then follow the steps below!
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 8 hours
- Cooling time: 15 minutes
- Total time: 8 hours and 30 minutes
- Serves: 8-10 people
What you’ll need:
- 4 pounds of pork belly (preferably slab)
- ½ cup of BBQ sauce
- Apply juice (2-3 cups – depending on preference)
- To begin, get started to begin cooking your smoked pork belly by preheating your own to around 225-230 degrees fahrenheit.
- While your oven is warming up, thoroughly clean your hands and then take your pork belly slab and place it on your countertop or chopping board. Then, when you’re ready, take a sharp knife and carefully begin to score the top layer of fat of the pork belly to around 1 inches. The idea while doing this is simply pierce the muscle, rather than cutting too far into it. Then, season if desired with your seasoning of choice.
- Once you have prepared your pork belly and you’re ready to begin cooking it, you can then go ahead and place the pork belly into the grill, and allow it to smoke until it reaches a heat range of around 165 degrees fahrenheit. Keep in mind that this will take around 6 hours, so you will need to make sure that you do not have any errands to run so that you can spritz apple juice on your pork belly every hour while it is cooking.
- After you have given your pork belly enough time to reach around 165 degrees fahrenheit (which, as we’ve already said, is going to take around 6 hours in total) you can then remove the pork belly from the grill and proceed to gently wrap it firmly in some tinfoil. Before you wrap the pork up completely, pour half a cup of apple juice over the pork belly, and then seal the pork belly so that it is totally covered. Then cook your pork belly on the grill once again for a timeframe of around 10 to 15 minutes. This is the part that is going to help “smoke” your pork belly and give it that authentic BBQ flavor.
- After you have given your pork belly an additional 10 to 15 minutes to cook on the grill, you can then carefully remove your smoked pork belly from the grill, and then set it carefully on a cutting board so that it can cool down. While handling the pork and transferring it from the grill to the cutting board (or whatever you are using to set your smoked pork belly on) we recommend that you make sure to wear a thick oven glove so that you do not experience any burns.
- Then, once you have given your pork enough time to cool (we recommend allowing around 15 minutes) you can then proceed to prepare your smoked pork belly in any way that you would like. As a side note, if you’re feeling unsure of how to prepare your smoked pork belly, then we recommend reading on to our next section, as we’ll be covering a few different options that will cater to a variety of diets below.
How to eat smoked pork belly:
Whether you follow a paleo diet, keto diet, or simply stick to a “regular diet” then the great thing about pork is that it caters to all. So, as soon as you have prepared your pork belly and you’re ready to prepare it into a delicious dish ready to eat, the options available for you to choose from are endless.
So, let’s take a look at some of the different ways that you can eat smoked pork belly below:
- Cube your pork belly – One way that you can opt to eat your smoked pork belly is by cutting it into little cubes. Though this might not be to everyone’s preference, cutting your smoked pork belly into smaller pieces is a great way to spread out your smoked pork belly across more meals, while also allowing you to enjoy smaller portion sizes. This makes it a great choice for those who are on a keto or paleo diet.
- Shred your pork belly – If you’ve already eaten smoked pork belly before, then we’re sure you’ll already have tried eating your smoked pork belly in this way! Cutting your pork belly into shreds is the best way to enjoy a more juicy texture, which we think is a great choice for those meals when you want to treat yourself and enjoy some tasty pork that’s going to be filling and good for the soul!
- Chill your pork belly and save for later – Just like other types of meat like chicken or beef, smoked pork belly can be chilled and saved for later to be enjoyed as cold meat. If you’re interested in eating your smoked pork belly in this way, then you could mix it into a yummy salad if you’re on a paleo or keto diet, or even put your smoked pork belly into a sandwich if you’re feeling like treating yourself to something a little more filling!
How Long Will Smoked Pork Belly Last?
Though we recommend that you enjoy your smoked pork belly as soon as you’ve cooked it, if you do want to stretch it out, then you could opt to freeze your smoked pork belly.
After you have given it time to cool, place it into a freezer-friendly zip lock bag, and once frozen it will keep for around 3-6 months;