How to perfect BBQ pork belly
Pork belly meat
If you haven’t had BBQ pork belly before (why not?), you’ve been missing out on one of the most succulent meats out there. If it isn’t cooked well then pork belly can be a pretty unexciting cut. However, when cooked to perfection, BBQ pork belly can generate a flavour profile like no other. It’s a talking point. A memorable food experience that’ll keep you coming back to a restaurant or someone’s house year after year.
So, what is it that elevates a great BBQ pork belly and how can you perfect BBQ pork belly at home? That’s what we’ll answering in this blog.
Pork belly is a meat cut that comes from the underside of the pig, below the ribs and loin. It’s a cut characterised by thick layers of fat, which serve as insulation for the animal during the colder months. As a result, the meat is extremely fatty, flavourful and succulent. Pork belly first gained popularity in Chinese, Filipino and other east Asian cuisine. Nowadays, it’s popular across the western world as well, especially as a BBQ staple.
Removing the pork belly is relatively simple, as it’s left behind after the spare ribs and loin cuts have been extracted. Following this, there are many ways that pork belly can be prepared. Alongside whole BBQ ready pork belly, The Village Butchers offers pork belly joints & belly slices for a variety of serving options. Thin slices of cured pork belly are what we call ‘bacon’. So, if you haven’t had pork belly before just imagine the mouth-watering taste of crispy rashers and times it by 10.
Tips for cooking BBQ pork belly
The primary goal when cooking BBQ pork belly is to get the perfect combination of ultra crispy skin and soft meat. The flavours will speak for themselves, but it’s the texture and spectacle of a perfectly cooked pork belly that really stands out. Marinading the skin of the pork belly with salt for a few hours before cooking will help draw moisture out of the skin, making it easier to achieve crackling.
For the cooking itself, be sure to allow plenty of time from start to finish. This is because pork belly is a large cut with meat that’s surrounded by lots of fat and connective fibres. The application of slow, gentle heat allows the meat to tenderise and tough tissue to break down. A period of time should also be put aside for direct, high heat cooking to ensure the pork belly skin becomes crispy.
Varieties of BBQ pork belly
Pork belly is beloved by chefs and home cooks alike for its versatility. It’s flavours and textures allow it to be used in a variety of dishes in BBQ and beyond. Although the best results are achieved with long and slow cooking, this also comes with many variations. Let’s go over some of the most delicious and simple BBQ pork belly dishes that anyone can make.
There are many ways to go about making this traditional Mexican dish. You could boil the belly before slicing and frying, or you can simply get straight to deep frying nuggets of BBQ pork belly in their own fat. Either way, the result is an amazingly crisp and deeply savoury tasting treat. Chicharrones are traditionally served with guacamole or a squeeze of fresh lime.
Buy BBQ pork belly UK
If you haven’t tried them, BBQ pork belly burnt ends are a fantastic finger food. First, you need to trim or remove the top layer of fat. The meat should then be cut into approximately 1.5-2-inch cubes and rubbed with your choice of herbs and spices. Next, preheat your smoker or grill to around 120°C and smoke for between 2-3 hours.
After this time, remove the ends and add butter, honey, and your choice of BBQ sauce. Return to the smoker for another hour or until the meat registers an internal temperature of around 100°C. You should be left with sticky, saucy, delicious BBQ pork belly burnt ends.
Slices of pork belly can be a great substitute for your typical pan-fried chicken breast or beef cut. Simply marinade in your choice of spices or sauce to let the BBQ flavours seep into the meat. Heat a large, oiled frying pan or wok on high, add the pork belly and cook until browned and the sauce has thickened. It can be best to cut the meat into smaller slices or diced cubes for this method to ensure it gets cooked through.
For some more ideas, have a look at our recipe series which features this sticky pork belly.
Supermarket pork belly tends to be around 500g, which is fine, but if you’re looking to feed a bigger crowd it’s best to go to your butcher. The Village Butchers are online butchers supplying the whole of the UK. That means when you choose us, you don’t have to carry a big heavy pork belly cut home. Our BBQ pork belly is available in 1kg increments up to 4kg and arrives fresh and ready to cook. Shop today.