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Grilled Pork Belly with Spicy Sweet Korean Glaze Recipe

ssam jang on Korean grilled pork belly
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3.04 from 25 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
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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