Venture into any chic restaurant and they have an appetizer with pork belly in it. Perhaps it is served on a salad, or on polenta, or on beans. Or whatever the chef is overstocked on. Pork belly is made from the same cut as bacon, but it is not cured. It is usually oven roasted until it is luxuriously silky, soft, and succulent. Don’t ask about the calorie count. Sometimes the skin is still on the belly when you get it, as in the photo below. You should remove it and make cracklins which can be used as a garnish.
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These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Cut the belly into portions of about 1/4 pounds.
- Marinate in a teriyaki sauce for 24 hours or more.
- Fire up. Set up your smoker or grill for 2-zone cooking and get the indirect zone to about 325°F.
- Cook. Discard the marinade. Roast or smoke the belly pieces with indirect heat at about 325°F until the fat is soft and tender and it reaches about 160°F (60 to 90 minutes). If you're using a grill, add a handful of smoking wood to the coals when put the meat on. I cook this pork belly at a higher temp than normal because there is so much fat and I want it soft, and you don't need to cook it as high as ribs or shoulder because there is little connective tissue. It's a good idea to put a drip pan under it if you don't have a good fat drainage system.
- Serve. While the belly is cooking, assemble your favorite salad. Use mixed greens as a start, but have fun. Add boiled potato, green beans, hard boiled egg, whatever you love. Dress it with LT Italian, my wife's herbed Italian vinaigrette. Then drape the smoked pork belly over the top. If you have made cracklins, sprinkle those on the salad as well.