I’m one of those people who often want to try every interesting food options I see on the menus, and recently I met this particular one; grilled pork belly. As usual, I gave it a try and it turned out unbelievably okay, and right now, I don’t even need to visit the neighbouring joint for this delicacy.
For those who would love to surprise their loved ones with something different, you can follow through the steps I have outlined on how to grill pork belly. The good thing is that most butcher shops also have these cuts, so you can fix yourself some pieces at any time of the day.
Keys Steps on How to Grill Pork Belly
- Marinate the chunks
This first step is key and definitely shouldn’t be skipped if you want the flavours to sink in the pork belly. It’s a great alternative to seasoning when already placed on the cooking grates, which will only have the flavours covering the outer layers. For this, you get to pick the spices to use, depending on what is perfect for you.
After gathering your spices, mix everything with water based on how big or many the pieces are. I usually use cumin seed, dried oregano, garlic, onion and cinnamon for my recipes. You can have it as a paste or a thin mixture, provided that every part of the meat is covered fully.
The best way to do this is let it sit in the marinade overnight, or cover it with a foil and place in the fridge for at least an hour before you start grilling. A friend of mine also figured that when in a hurry all she does is boil the chunks of meat together will all the spices for about ten minutes, let it strain after which she proceeds from there. So, you could try this option as well.
- Begin to grill
Before we proceed, let me say that if you want a flavourful outcome, you should opt for a charcoal grill and probably add some flavoured wood pellets to the heat. However, this is only meant for those who love their meats smoked, and so if you love it otherwise, you can still use your gas grill. At this point, your grill should be already prepped up and pre-heated, in the event that you want to add wood pellets to the fire.
Pork belly usually has a thick fat cap which could be a hindrance to achieving an evenly cooked meat. To avoid this, try slicing through the layers of fat in any pattern and direction, provided that the scores are deep enough to reach the layer with the meat. For those who love extra seasoning, you can use your favourite barbeque rub at this point by rubbing into the cuts and all over the meat.
If your grill is already too hot, reduce the heat before placing the seasoned pork belly on the cooking grates. This is easier to do with charcoal grills as well, and all you have to do is close the vents until the heat is manageable. However this will need adjusting, because leaving them closed for long will put-out the fire.
You should try and maintain a temperature of about 250 degrees, and this is what should guide you on when to adjust the heat levels. After positioning the meat properly, close the lid until it’s fairly cooked, which will take about two or three hours depending on how thick the meat is. During this time, you have to keep on checking the progress after every 20 minutes to see whether some pieces need turning, or if you need to refuel the grill.
The only way to know whether your pork belly is ready is by checking how tender it is, or alternatively checking the internal temperature of the meat, which should be 160 degrees. However, this is relative, depending on how you want it done; whether rare, medium or well-done.
- Glaze and finish
Now, this step is optional, but will be a great addition to your grilled pork. With the already cooked pieces still on the grates, coat all the sides of the meat with the glaze of your choice. In this case, I used honey glaze; a simple option that’s worth trying. You can also try a combination of two or more for unmatched flavourful finish.
After coating, you should continue grilling under medium heat until all the sides are evenly browned. The bubbling on the skin will be your cue that your pork is ready and you can set it aside for some time before slicing into chunks or in whichever way you prefer.
I absolutely loved the flavour created when I paired my meat with a glass of wine, but you can try it on its own or with any other pairing that suits your buds. Previously, we did an article about cleaning cooking grates, and with pork belly, you shouldn’t let your grill stay un-cleaned for long.
This is because there will be thicker layers of fat accumulated on the grates, which can only be effectively cleaned before the grill cools down completely. We hope that the results turn out perfectly for you, and that you’ll also share with your friends the tips you’ve gathered on how to grill pork belly.