BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

October 4, 2016

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly is the next big thing in low and slow barbecue. All of the luscious smoky flavor of good slow barbecued pork and dripping with finger lickin’ juiciness. Pork belly used to only be available as cured bacon or off of the whole hog, but nowadays it is easy to get your hands on a slab of the uncured stuff at most butchers (even Costco!)

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

I have played with pork belly before when curing my own bacon and making my famous pork belly baked beans. The meat to fat ratio in pork belly makes it ideal for both the quick cooking crisping (like in bacon) and the low and slow style of cooking to render the fat and tenderize all of the muscle. The direction I took with this particular BBQ smoked pork belly was to keep things as simple as possible and really maximize the natural flavor of the meat itself. I used a pork belly with the skin/rind removed, and I definitely recommend it. Having the rind removed will allow the smoke and flavor from the rub to better penetrate the meat. I bought my belly with the skin already removed, I’m sure your butcher would do this for you. Otherwise, you can remove it yourself with a sharp fillet knife.

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

The belly got a liberal dusting of my Sweet Rub and then hit my smoker (I used my pellet grill) at 225 degrees with apple wood. I kept spritzing with apple juice every hour to help deepen the color of the bark and keep things moist. Once the belly hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees, I wrapped the belly in foil with a little extra apple juice and cooked until the internal temperature reached 200 degrees. After that, the glorious belly came out of the foil cocoon and got a thin glaze of BBQ sauce before hitting the smoker for a few more minutes to tighten the sauce. The whole process took about 8 hours for a 4 pound belly, but as with any low and slow cook that can vary based on the thickness of your meat and temp swings in your grill. Always shoot to cook for internal temperature instead of time. I use my ThermoWorks thermometer to track the correct temperature while smoking and I love it! They are the industry standard for accuracy.

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly
The options at this point are really endless. Shred for the juiciest pulled pork of your life. Cube and eat as much as you want, like tender and moist ribs without the bone. Chill completely and then slice into big pieces the next day for sandwiches, simply grill for a minute or two on high and get after it! Basically, you have entered the realm of meat heaven.

bbq smoked pork belly
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 5 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Barbecue
Servings: 8 people


  • 1/4 cup sweet rub
  • 2 cups apple juice divided use
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 lb slab pork belly uncured


  • Get your fire going in your smoker and preheat to 225 degrees F.
  • Using a sharp knife, score the top layer of fat on the pork belly in 1 inch squares. Don't cut too deep, just barely into the muscle. Season liberally with the Sweet Rub on all sides.
  • Place the seasoned pork belly on the grill and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (about 6 hours). Spritz with the apple juice every hour while it is cooking.
  • Once the belly reaches 165, remove from the grill and wrap in heavy duty tinfoil with 1/2 cup of the apple juice. Seal the edges of the foil completely and return to the grill until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.
  • Carefully remove the belly from the foil and drizzle with the apple juices from the foil. Return the pork belly to the grill and brush with BBQ sauce. Cook on the grill for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove the finished pork belly to a cutting board and let it rest for 10-15 more minutes before serving, You can shred like pulled pork or slice into cubes to serve.
    BBQ Smoked Pork Belly with Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
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66 thoughts on “BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

  1. Wow, that looks so good! How do you get your meat to cook so perfect?! I’ll definitely have to try this recipe- it reminds me of my favorite restaurant, BBQ Smokehouse. Maybe if they weren’t so good, I would learn to grill better, lol.

  2. I have an eight pound belly on my Traeger right now, I was going based off of your IG video. Mine seems to be getting to temp a little faster than yours did but I also think I scored my a little to deeply. Hope it will still be delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey John! So glad you’re trying it out and that you’re going by temp and not time. Every piece of meat is so different, and cooks at different speeds. Hope you love it!!

  3. Done belly several times – basically similar method except I take it off in the foil, rest until cools a bit then refrigerate – reheat in a variety of ways next day(s), that way the fat is not so delicate as it is taking it back to the grill to sauce right out of the foil. I have never scored one but will try that next time. Foiling I’ve found is absolutely necessary or the lean is just a little too tough. Highly recommended. Will try it scoring and serving same day next time.

    1. I love having leftovers to refrigerate and reheat like that! Serving it warm, it definitely has that delicate melt in your mouth fat, so it’s worth trying!

      1. We are smoking pork belly now using a Bradley Smoker, we brined it for 3 weeks in the fridge. The brine is maple, brown sugar with a touch of Kikoman. Usual salt and cure. Cold smoked at 100 deg. F for ideally 8 hours. Turned out really tasty and what wasn’t used, we sliced into bacon. You can use a maple syrup mop in the last stages of smoking if desired.

  4. How long did the pork belly take to go from 165 to 200 deg? This weekend I’m smoking a 5 pounder.

  5. I bought a 12 lb belly from Costco. Do I need to cut it into three 4 lb sections or should I leave it whole? What’s the pros and cons either way?

  6. I made this recipe today. I used applewood chips for smoke and it was the best thing that has come out of my smoker yet. It really was like baby back ribs without the bones. Thank you for posting this.

  7. I’m smoking an 8lb belly today for the first time. I cut it in half and did cubes with half for burnt ends and other half is whole. I also have 2 briskets on the smoker also so it will be a burnt end comparison later today.
    Thanks for the recipe & hope it turns out looking as good as yours does in the picture.

    1. If it is all one flat slab, the same thickness throughout, it shouldn’t take much longer than the recipe states for a 4 pound piece. However, if you want to play it safe, you could cut the belly in half and cook two smaller pieces.

      1. Thank you for such a quick response. Also how long should I add chips for because I have a Masterbuilt 40″ electric Smoker and the tray for chips is kind of small. Sorry I’m kind of new to smoking, lol.

  8. Thank you so so much for sharing your recipes!!
    I tried your pork belly cured in tenderquick and it turned out fantastic! Used your rub on the pork belly that is currently on the grill. It looks absolutely gorgeous..if it tastes 1/2 as good as it looks it is going to be delicious.

    Thank you again!

  9. We tried your pork belly recipe today, using our pellet grill with a combination of apple and cherry pellets, and used our own custom BBQ seasoning as well as the apple. It is absolutely outstanding! Thank you———————–Jenn & Stephen

    1. Hey Dennis- You can make it in the oven following the same time and temperature guidelines listed in the recipe. It won’t have the same color or smoke flavor, but it will still be tender and delicious!

  10. Hey Grill,

    I have an 8 lb pork belly on my Traeger right now at 225 F. I see you suggest internal temp at 200 degrees. I have never cooked pork past 140 internal. How is it that pork belly can go to 200 and still be edible?

  11. I’m giving this 5 stars for those that love pork. It’s not my favorite meat to smoke, but I made this and it’s a pretty good recipe. Probably the best pork product I’ve made in my smoker.

    I would offer a few pieces of advice, based on my preference and from my limited perspective on having made this once:

    – Slather in olive oil before applying rub
    – Fat side down if vertical smoker, fat side up if horizontal smoker.
    – Don’t forget the water pan! fill it up to keep your meat moist.
    – When you put the meat in aluminum foil, fat side up.
    – 200 degrees for final done temp seems too much. I think I would shoot for 190 next time.
    – Get a fatty cut of pork belly. I got mine from Costco and it didn’t have enough fat – in some places there was none at all.

  12. Going to try this one this weekend , can you tell me exactly how much fat should be cut off? My last one I left to much on and it wasn’t as good as my 1st….I know the rind needs to come off but how much is the proper amount so it won’t be mushy fatty?

    1. It’s hard to avoid the fat on a pork belly since it already is 50/50 fat to meat. I would leave at least 1/4″-1/2″ of fat, you need it for flavor and moisture. Let me know how it turns out!!

  13. What benefit does the apple juice give? Is It just for moisture? If so can i use water in my smoker or will the juice be enough?

    1. The apple juice adds a lot of flavor and nice crispiness to the bark on this pork belly. You can absolutely switch up the recipe however you like, I just can’t guarantee that it will turn out the same.

  14. Success! Followed your directions and it came out perfectly. Two hours after the first cuts, juice was still flowing! Everybody enjoyed it, even the picky eaters.

  15. This is my go-to recipe for pork belly. I got a 10 pound belly to make home made bacon- but had to use half for this recipe. Top notch! Thanks so much for sharing this with the world!!!

  16. Did 2 1kg bellies with your recipe (and sweet rub) yesterday….
    Now I need to buy a new smoker so I can do it more often.

    Mick, South Australia

  17. The pork belly we purchased from Costco is precut into about 2″ x 2″ strips. Cooked them once before and wasn’t really happy with how they turned out. They were too fatty. How do you suggest I cook them next time? Thanks

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