is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Korean Grilled Pork Belly Gets Super Flavorful With A Spicy-Sweet Glaze

Share on:
pork belly

If you like spicy candied bacon, you’ll love this rich, Korean 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 make Korean grilled pork belly 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.

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

Grilled Pork Belly with Spicy Sweet Korean Glaze Recipe

ssam jang on Korean grilled pork belly
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
2.74 from 19 votes
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. 

Main Course


1 center-cut pork belly
Servings: 4


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 1 ½ pounds center-cut pork belly
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ¾ cup Ssam Jang
  • 2 cups cooked sweet glutinous rice (sticky)
  • 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.
Metric conversion:

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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (50.8 mm) long and 1 inch (25.4) wide.
  • Fire up and grill. Heat your grill for direct heat but don't make it 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.
  • 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).

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 1078kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 90g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 6449mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1367IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

grill school book cover

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. 

Related articles

Published On: 12/28/2019 Last Modified: 11/26/2021

Share on:
  • Dave Joachim - Editor of, David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks, four of them on barbecue and grilling, and his Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. He’s a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.”


High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner 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 MANY 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, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

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

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

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

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.



Click for comments...




These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys:

Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.

Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater

Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.

Click here to read our detailed review

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them