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.
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Makes:1 center-cut pork belly
- 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)
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 long and 1 inch 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).
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.