So, you’re trying to figure out how to cook pork belly on the grill, eh? Well, I happen to know just how to cook it on the grill. First off, the delightful treat known as pork belly is the meat from the belly of a pig.
The best pork belly comes from the biggest, juiciest, pigs. A way to think about pork belly is that it’s a big chunk of bacon since it comes from the same part of the body.
One of the biggest differences between pork belly and bacon is that pork belly is uncured, unsmoked and contains several juicy layers of fat compared to bacon which is cured, smoked, and simply contains a single layer of fat. By the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll be quite the master in grilling pork belly.
Whole vs. Sliced
The second question you might be asking yourself how to cook pork belly on the grill and whether it should be cooked whole or sliced. In my experience pork belly cooked on the grill is best if it’s cooked as a large slab of meat.
In the off-chance that you might feel like slicing it instead of cooking it whole, just remember that the slab stays together better than it does when sliced, where it might have trouble staying on the grill bars and end up falling through.
After cooking the meat, the best thing to do would be to slice or dice the cooked meat in any way you desire.
Preparing the Pork Belly
The next question you might be asking yourself is how you might go preparing the pork belly to make it the best it can be. One of the main questions that you may be asking is whether or not you need to remove the fat layer from the pork belly.
Pork belly has a thick layer of fat that, depending on your own personal preference can be trimmed down if so desired, there is no need to remove all the fat from the pork belly.
There are many different ways that can be performed to prepare your pork belly for grilling. One such method is to use a meat mallet, aiding in the tenderization process.
Another way is to allow the meat to marinate overnight, which gives the meat a nice flavor and tenderizes the pork belly. When starting out with the preparation process, salt the meat and let it sit for a couple of hours.
This allows time for the salt to infuse the meat and give it a nice flavor, as well as to tenderize the meat. In the hours after salting the pork belly, you can then take the next step which would be to create a rub with the seasonings you most enjoy with a delicious grilled bit of pork.
If you so desire, a store-bought favorite rub can also be applied instead of a homemade rub. Before adding the pork belly to the grill, the last step is to add your favorite seasonings before placing it on the grill.
Preparing the Grill
So, when you’re getting ready to grill, you might be wondering what you need to do to prepare. Well, the first thing to do would be to preheat the grill to the desired temperature.
The best temperature to use to cook the pork belly on the grill is 250 degrees. It gets it nice and cooked in the fastest time possible while keeping it nice, juicy, and tender.
I, personally, have found that the best way to cook the meat is to place it over hot coals on medium heat. You also need to make sure to tend to the grill occasionally to make sure that the temperature stays around 250 degrees and that the coals stay hot.
It could be pretty bad if the temperature rises too high and the meat ends up burnt or it drops too low and it doesn’t get cooked at all. Keeping the coals hot may require a stirring of the coals or adding a few more coals to the fire if the temperature gets too low.
A good thing you could do, that I’ve found really adds to the meal, is to add a few wood chips to the coals to give the pork belly some extra infused flavor.
I have discovered that the best wood chips are apple, pecan, and maple. When grilling my pork belly, I noticed that adding the wood chips to a pan with a small amount of water keeps the wood chips from burning and adds moisture, keeping the meat from being over dry.
When using water, it’s best to check the amount of water every now and then to make sure that there’s plenty of liquid to keep the meat from getting dry.
These chips seem to add the most flavor as well as a strong, robust, flavor and are the best choices of wood chips for adding flavor to your pork belly.
Ways to Grill
Well, now that the grill’s ready, how to cook it might be a tough choice to make. The best choice would be to cook it with the fat side up.
This will allow the cut of meat to come out nice and tender since it allows the fat to melt down into the meat as the meat cooks, allowing for a nice, juicy, and tender pork belly.
Another thing you could do is to cook the pork belly with the fat side down allowing for a protective layer from the flames that might occur from the burning of the coals and the meat.
This ensures that the meat keeps from getting burnt and retains its flavor. Another way you could do it would be to cook it in a pan on the grill. When cooking in a pan you can add some vegetables or fruit for the meat to rest on to prevent it from being burnt while cooking in the pan.
If you choose to cook it in a pan, it’s best to cover the bottom of the pan with liquid like apple cider to prevent it from burning. An alternative way can be to cook the pork belly in a foil packet.
To cook it in foil, the meat must first be grilled then it can be placed in a foil packet for a couple of hours to make sure it cooks slowly without the burning of the flames.
When using the foil method after it is done, it can be placed on the grill to crisp the skin.
Done on Time
Now, the last step to consider would be how long to cook the pork belly when it’s on the grill. The cooking time varies depending on the size of the pork belly.
The larger the piece of pork belly, the longer it’ll take for it to be ready for everyone to eat. The pork belly can be cooked from two to six hours.
I have found that, to ensure even temperature, that flipping the pork belly every thirty minutes guarantees the cut of meat to come out at an even cook.
A smaller piece of pork belly can be checked after two hours to see if it is done. The larger the piece, the more time will need to be added before you can check if it’s ready.
However, it is best to start checking the meat after a couple of hours regardless of what size the meat is. The best way to do that is to take a thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat.
The temperature of the pork belly needs to be a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If it turns out that it isn’t hot enough, it needs to be cooked longer until it does reach the proper temperature.
Once it’s all done, you will no longer be asking yourself how to cook pork belly on the grill, you’ll have the perfect pork belly, ready for your whole family to enjoy.
Pork belly is just about as good, if not better than bacon so you made a great choice in choosing to eat it over another kind of meat.
A tender and juicy piece of meat that will make your mouth and the mouth of all those enjoying the lunch or dinner you prepared water with excitement.
Enjoy your meal of nice, tasty, grilled pork belly and make sure to make plenty for all of the neighbors, friends, or family you have over and prepare for compliments on the best meal they’ve had in a long time.
There are several ways to serve your pork belly once it is done. One such way is to serve it sliced. You can also incorporate it into a salad or stir fry.
Another option is to serve the pork belly with noodles and a light sauce.
You don’t have to worry about cooking the same meals now, you can mix up bacon and pork belly for a tasty treat for breakfast, too, if you want it then instead of for dinner.