Spicy Korean Glaze Amps Up Grilled Pork Belly

If you like spicy-sweet bacon, you'll love this rich, grilled pork belly. 

You can take a raw pork belly, slice it thinly, and grill it directly over a medium-high fire. But you might as well grill thick-sliced bacon. Instead, we like to grill pork belly in thick slabs or “bricks.” To avoid an inferno of dripping fat, we braise the belly first to render out some fat. That allows you to grill it directly over the heat and get it crisp. First remove the skin (rind) if it's intact, and then either slowly braise the belly with some liquid (we like vinegar) in a pan in the oven or wrapped in aluminum foil over indirect heat on the grill. Simple.

Average: 2 (4 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe


The only way to grill pork belly directly over the heat is to render out some fat first. Otherwise, the fat drips into the grill and creates an inferno that incinerates the meat. A slow braise in the oven gets the job done nicely. Then you can grill the belly and get a good, crisp exterior. At the very end of cooking, we like to glaze it with homemade ssam jang, a thick Korean spice paste. You can buy ssam jang in Asian markets, but it’s easy enough to stir it up yourself with our recipe. Then wrap pieces of the grilled belly in lettuce leaves with sticky rice, kimchi, and more spice paste for a knockout small plate or first course. 

Course. Appetizer. Starter.

Cuisine. Korean.

Makes. 4 servings

Takes. 5 minutes prep. 3 hours braising.


1 1/2 pounds center-cut pork belly

3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

1 1/2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar

3/4 cup Ssam Jang

2 cups cooked sweet glutinous (sticky) rice

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 head butter lettuce, separated into leaves

Kimchi for serving (optional)

About the kimchi. Korean pickled cabbage adds a nice pop of flavor here. If you have some other pickled vegetables like pickled carrots, add those to the lettuce wrap too.


1) Braise the belly. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Rub the pork belly all over with the salt and set the pork, fat side up, in a baking dish just a little bigger than the pork itself.

2) Add the unseasoned rice vinegar to the baking dish; it should come about halfway up the sides of the pork. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and braise the pork in the oven for 3 hours.

Like what you're reading? Click here to get Smoke Signals, our free monthly email that tells you about new articles, science, recipes, product reviews, mythbusting, and more. Be Amazing!


3) Remove from the oven and let cool, still covered, to room temperature. When cooled, uncover the baking dish and then peel off and discard the skin and the top layer of fat that comes off with the skin. At this point, you can refrigerate the braised pork belly for a few days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 weeks. Thaw completely before using. Then, cut the pork into bricks about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.

4) Fire up and grill. Heat your grill for direct heat but not too blazing hot. Place the belly bricks, meat side down, on the grate and sear on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, including the ends. Grill the fatty side last. During the last few minutes, brush the bricks all over with the ssam jang. Transfer the pork to a plate.

5) Serve. Put the rice into a serving bowl, add the seasoned rice vinegar, and stir and toss to mix evenly. Invite your guests to wrap the pork belly in lettuce leaves with a little rice, more ssam jang, and some kimchi (if using).


This recipe is adapted with permission from Williams-Sonoma Grill School by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. This book features more than 100 easy recipes and 30 essential lessons for cooking on fire. 

Up your game: Join our Pitmaster Club. Try it out for free for 30 days. No credit card needed. No spam. Click here to Be Amazing!

Dave Joachim

AmazingRibs.com Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 



Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs



Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us. 

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

2) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer.

3) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different than your membership login.



Click to ask questions and make comments