Smoked And Grilled Crispy Pork Belly

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Grilled Crispy Pork Belly has amazing flavor and texture. Kick up the wow factor by adding smoke flavor and an awesome sweet and savory sauce at the end. Learn the secrets of Smoked and Grilled Pork Belly with a finish over hot coals to get it crispy.

Crispy Pork Belly that was smoked and grilled


  • Pork Belly – Buy the pork belly with the skin removed. If the skin is on you will want to remove it prior to smoking.
  • Binder – We use extra virgin olive oil to help the seasoning stick as a binder. You can also use mustard, stock, or even Worcestershire.
  • Seasoning – We are using our popular pork seasoning, which is a mix of brown sugar, kosher salt, and savory spices. You can also use any of our rub recipes that you enjoy.
  • Sauce – Our sauce is a mix of hoisin sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, freshly squeezed lime, and freshly grated ginger.

What is Pork Belly

Pork belly is an incredibly marbled cut of meat that comes from the belly of the pig. But by belly, it’s the muscle that is just under the skin and just overlaps with the spare ribs. It’s not in fact, the actual belly or organ. Pork belly has a great ratio of 50% lean muscle and 50% fat, which when cooked property turns into a ton of flavor.

Pork Belly is most known for bacon (and we all love bacon!). But uncured belly can be used for a whole lot of awesome dishes, like our pork belly burnt ends recipe.

You can buy pork belly as a full slab, typically 8 – 12 pounds slabs of belly with the skin on, or off. Or you can purchase it in smaller strips.

How to Cook Pork Belly on the Grill

We are going to use a reverse sear technique for this, which is to smoke first, and then finish over a high heat grill (to get crispy). This is how to make crispy pork belly on the grill. The smoke process adds incredible flavor and gently and slowly renders out a lot of the fat and the grilling process crisps it up.

Add a hoisin and soy based glaze at the end to knock the flavor out of the park.

Crispy Pork Belly that was smoked and grilled in the reverse sear style

Trimming Pork Belly

Whether the whole slab or a smaller cut, it’s important to trim the pork belly before cooking it. One side of the pork belly will have a large fat cap, and the other side will have the muscle.

Trimming and seasoning raw pork belly to cook
  • Using a paper towel, remove excess moisture.
  • If you started with a full slab, cut it in half to make two equal-weight slabs.
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully trim the fat cap so that the fat cap is even along the top of the belly. Often you will see thicker fat pockets, and the key is to even it out as best as possible.
  • Score with large X’s along the fat side.
  • Place the pork belly fat side down, and remove any excess silver skin from the muscle side.
  • The last step is to leave the pork belly fat side down and carefully slice vertical strips into the muscle side of the belly about 2/3rds of the way through the meat. You are not cutting all the way through.
  • Making the vertical cuts does two things: it allows more surface area for the rub and smoke to get flavor into. It also provides a more open surface area for the fat to render out from the belly. In doing this, it minimizes potential flare-ups that can occur when direct grilling the pork belly and allows for a nice crispy pork belly finish (not burnt).

* Use food safe gloves when handling raw meat, or be sure to wash your hands often. 🙂

How to Smoke Pork Belly

Smoked Pork Belly, on the smoker
  1. Pork belly is best smoked at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Smoke the belly for 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork belly approaches 200 degrees F.
  2. The smoke flavor will infuse with the pork belly and slowly render out excess fat. The rub will also slightly caramelize for added flavor. At 180 – 200 degrees that is where much of the soft texture develops because the fat has rendered to a point where you get the soft bite.

How to Cook Crispy Pork Belly

  1. Once the internal temperature of the pork belly reaches 200 degrees, remove the pork belly from the smoker and place it on a sheet tray.
  2. Now set up the smoker or grill for direct heat, with a target temperature of 450 – 500 degrees. Place the pork belly back onto the grill fat side UP first over direct grilling. Because the pork belly texture is exactly where we want it, all we’re doing now is adding a sear to the belly.
  3. Grill for 3 – 4 minutes or until there is a nice sear. Flip the pork belly fat side down and over direct heat again. Close the grill to minimize flare-ups and check the pork belly at 2 minutes. If it’s not quite crispy and seared, close the lid and continue grilling for another 2 minutes. Remove when you see a nice sear.
Grilling Pork Belly

The fat is going to get crispy from the direct heat, but there is a small range from when it goes from crispy to burnt, so monitoring the fat side grilling is really important because as the fat drips down into the coals, it can cause flames to flare up, which can burn the meat.

Chefs Tip

It is important to smoke first so you can get the right texture. If you were to just grill the pork belly it will burn before it’s done. Even after smoking you need to watch the pork belly while grilling so it does not burn over the direct heat.

Finishing Sauce

Because we’re grilling the pork belly at a high heat to finish, we’re waiting until the end to glaze it, otherwise we risk burning the sweet sauce.

For our finishing glazing sauce we’re using a combination of hoisin sauce, Thai chili, lime juice, and graded fresh ginger. Combine those ingredients in a medium size bowl, and then glaze the pork belly as soon as you remove it from the grill, while it’s still hot, and it will caramelize onto the tender meat.

Crispy Smoked Pork Belly

Frequently Asked Questions

Best Wood for smoked pork belly

Pork of any kind is great with fruit wood. We use apple and cherry for pork belly to give a sweeter flavor infused by the wood.

how to cook pork belly in bbq

The best way is to smoke the pork belly in the style of pork belly burnt ends. Alternatively, you can smoke at a low temperature and then finish over direct heat with a sauce glaze.

is it better to boil pork belly before grilling

While you can boil, it doesn’t add any flavor. By smoking first you get added flavor, rendered fat, and a better texture when it’s grilled.

Making Ahead and Reheating

If you want to make this ahead of time it’s best to smoke the pork belly first and then grill it right before you plan to serve it. The smoked pork belly will last up to five days in the refrigerator. When grilling cut the pork belly into smaller pieces so it warms all the way through as it grills.

If reheating, you will lose some of the crispy texture.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the pork belly on a sheet tray and pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the tray. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place on the center rack in your oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

What To Serve With Crispy Pork Belly

You can slice up the crispy pork belly and serve with a no-mayo coleslaw as a sandwich or sliders. Or consider some of our favorite side dishes.

More Smoked and Grilled Pork Recipes

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Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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4.75 from 12 votes

Grilled Crispy Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly, slowly smoked and finished over high heat for a crispy texture and a savory and mildly sweet finishing sauce.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 15 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people



  • ½ cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger


  • Prep: Preheat smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (F) using apple or cherry wood. Trim excess fat off of pork belly so it is uniform in shape and no excess fat or meat is hanging off the belly. Place pork belly fat/skin side down on the board so flesh is facing you.
  • Score and Season: Make 1-inch vertical slices in the pork belly, taking care not to cut all the way through. Cut about 2/3's through the flesh. Coat both sides of the pork belly with olive oil and the dry rub. Rub the dry rub into the ridges created by the vertical slices.
  • Smoke: Place into the smoker and smoke for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 200 degrees F using an instant read thermometer. When the probe goes into the belly it should slide in easily. That is when you remove from the smoker.
  • Grill: Prepare the grill for direct grilling, targeting 450 – 500 degrees F over the flame. Place the pork belly over direct heat and grill each side for 2 minutes. Be sure to close the lid between flipping to avoid too much air causing flare ups, the fat from the belly will drip into the flame.
  • Serve: Remove the belly from the grill and finish slicing the vertical slices. Apply sauce and serve as small long strips for a meal, or cut into cubes for an appetizer.

For the Sauce

  • Combine: In a medium size bowl, combine Hoisin sauce, Thai chili sauce, lime juice, and graded fresh ginger. Stir to incorporate.


Calories: 2074kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 206g | Saturated Fat: 74g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Monounsaturated Fat: 97g | Cholesterol: 273mg | Sodium: 560mg | Potassium: 791mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: American, barbecue
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 2074
Keyword: Crispy Pork Belly, Grilld Pork Belly, pork belly recipes, smoked pork belly recipes
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. You can leave the skin on for this. Score it similarly and it will crisp up nicely following the same method. This specific recipe is with the skin already off the belly.

    1. Fat side up is how we smoked it. Keeps less of the fat from dripping directly into the fire. So be careful and watch for flare ups.