BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

February 28, 2020

Smoked Pork Belly is the next big thing in low and slow barbecue. It combines everything you love in good BBQ: luscious smoky flavor of slow barbecued pork dripping with finger lickin’ juiciness.

pile of cubed smoked pork belly

Smoked Pork Belly

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!). With it more readily available, it’s a great option for making some delicious 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. If you would also like to start with the skin removed on your pork belly, 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 on the grill grates of a smoker

How to Smoke Pork Belly

Here’s the breakdown on how to smoke a pork belly. The ingredients are few, and the process is a cinch. You can also scroll down to the recipe card to view the video for additional help in this process.

To begin, liberally season the pork belly with my Sweet Rub and then stick in in the the smoker (I used my SmokePro pellet grill) at 225 degrees F. I used apple wood for this recipe, but go with whatever is your favorite for pork. Spritz with apple juice every hour to help deepen the color of the bark and keep things moist.

Once the belly hits an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, wrap the belly in foil with a little extra apple juice and cook until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F. After that, remove the glorious belly from the foil cocoon and glaze it lightly with your favorite BBQ sauce before returning it to the smoker for a few more minutes to tighten the sauce. Voila! You’ve now cooked the perfect smoked pork belly.

How Long to Smoke Pork Belly

The whole process from start to finish 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! This thermometer is the industry standard for accuracy.

basting brush brushing BBQ sauce on smoked pork belly

How to Eat Smoked Pork Belly

Once you have your pork belly beautifully smoked and rested, 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 large pieces the next day for sandwiches. All you need to do is simply grill the pork belly for a minute or two over High heat and get after it!

Basically, you have entered the realm of meat heaven. The possibilities with smoked pork belly are many, so go ahead and experiment to find what you like best.

More Pork Recipes

If you liked this recipe, you’ve gotta try my other pork recipes available on this website. Definitely give my pork belly baked beans a go! You can also search all my Pork Recipes here.

Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Smoked Pork Sirloin Roast

Smoked Pork Belly Recipe

Watch the video below and I’ll show you how I make this smoked pork belly at home. I’m here to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. Check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

Making good food should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! Over at Patio Provisions, we have sauces, rubs, and more to save you time and energy when you’re busy at the grill. Check it out today!

bbq smoked pork belly

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

Smoked Pork Belly is the next big thing in low and slow barbecue. It combines everything you love in good BBQ: luscious smoky flavor of slow barbecued pork dripping with finger lickin' juiciness.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 8 hrs
Resting Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 8 hrs 30 mins
Servings : 8 people
Calories : 963kcal

Video

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Link to sweet rub recipe: https://heygrillhey.com/recipe/best-sweet-rub-grilled-pork-chicken/

Nutrition

Calories: 963kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 91g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 252IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg
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**This post was originally published October 2016. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

 

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73 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?
    Thanks
    Ann

    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….
    Amazing.
    Now I need to buy a new smoker so I can do it more often.

    Thanks,
    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

    1. I’ve bought the same at Costco. I skewered them all together before cooking, then scored the top as shown above. Turned out great!

    1. Suzie
      How do you think that a beef belly would do for this too? I’ve got one left over from a beef bacon experiment that turned out well.

  18. Please Help!!! We cook the belly to 165, wrapped it to 200, poured the bbq sauce on top, probes dropped to 180 we rewrapped it and cooked it again to 200 unwrapped it spread bbq sauce on again and set timer for 10 minutes dropped to 187. it’s been 20 minutes and still waiting on the temp. all 3 of our probes are consistent with the temp reading. 2 are in during the whole cooking process and 1 is external that we double check everything with. What is going on???? Please Help!! In case this helps we have a camp chef smoker bought just last year.

    1. Every time you take the meat out and add something to it, or otherwise mess with it, the temperature will drop! Here, you only needed to cook until the temp hit 200 the first time, then drizzle with the juices and sauce, and put it back on the grill for 10 more minutes or so before you serve. It going back on the grill just warms up the sauce and tightens it or “sets” it on the meat. I’m so sorry for the late response here, hopefully this will help you next time!

  19. If you follow this, minus the bbq sauce, and let cool overnight, could you slice it up with a deli meat slicer, to do your own bacon, or must it be cured? If it doesn’t need to be cured, how long is it good for?

    1. For bacon you should cure it first. It’ll have a different flavor if you don’t use a cure but I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it!

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