I am such a fan of meat. There, I said it.
I’m grateful every day for fine cuts of pork, beef, and chicken. For sustainably fished salmon. For cruelty-free farming.
It may not be the diet or lifestyle for everyone, and I am totally on board with whatever for whomever, but I, personally, love meat in my diet.
We try to limit our meat portions, and we eat plant-based meals often, but a fine cut, or even a perfectly seasoned cheap cut that is cooked until tender, is just fine by me.
But if you are not a fan, I totally understand. The name “pork belly” in this case is a little bit off putting because “belly”—it sounds so personal and round and like when I rub my dog’s belly, I don’t want to eat it, I just want to git that belleee.
And yet, here we are, eating pork belly and loving every moment of it.
So what is pork belly?
That said, pork belly is a rich, flavorful cut of the hog that’s used in a lot of chef-inspired dishes, on the grill, braised, seared or smoked.
Pork belly is what is left of the underside of a hog’s belly after the loin and spare ribs are removed.
The cut appears in a strata of fat and flesh and is most fall-apart tender when slow-cooked. It is often served in small cubes because of its richness.
Is bacon the same as pork belly?
No, bacon isn’t exactly the same as pork belly, but the typical bacon we find packaged in grocery stores is cut from pork belly. Bacon is often cured, but pork belly isn’t.
So, streaky pork bacon is pork belly, but pork belly isn’t bacon. Instead, pork belly is the whole slab cut from the fleshy underside of a pig. Streaky pork bacon is cut from this slab.
How to Barbecue Pork Belly Burnt Ends, from Meat Church
Cooking Pork Belly
There are so many delicious ways to cook pork belly, including making homemade bacon.
Common methods include roasting, smoking, and searing and pork belly adds luscious fat and flavor to so many dishes, that we had to list them here.
If you need pork belly and you need it fast, this is the recipe for you. From start to finish this shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes.
The pork belly slices will come out bubbling and a bit charred on the edges, which is just pure perfection, if you ask me.
You can use any BBQ sauce that you like but do check out our BBQ sauce recipes.
There are some incredible taco recipes out there in the world and this is one of them.
Let’s start with the slaw that is made out of cabbage, carrots and pineapple.
It has cilantro, lime juice and seasonings.
The pork belly is roasted in the oven and coated with a few simple spices.
This is the perfect combination of flavors for your next Taco Tuesday.
A snack made out of nothing but seasoned pork belly is my kind of snack.
These pork belly bites are seasoned simply with oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Then they are cooked up in the air fryer in just 20 minutes.
Make enough for me because I’ll be right over.
Instead of pork roast in the slow cooker, cook up some pork belly. It is a delicious change of pace.
This tangy and sweet sticky glaze will delight the senses. The aroma of the balsamic cooking up in that slow cooker will be enough to make your stomach growl in anticipation.
You can prep this pork belly recipe and get it in the oven in just five minutes.
This is such a simple recipe with only a few very basic seasonings.
The point is to cook the pork belly until it is crispy and let the natural flavors shine.
Don’t be intimidated by the recipe ingredients. There are quite a few but most of them are staple pantry ingredients.
You may wanna pick up some ginger and lemon grass paste from the store when you are buying that pork belly but you likely have the rest.
This is a unique twist on ramen. Cook up some crispy pork belly and then make some fabulous ramen.
With this recipe is hard to know if pork belly is the star or if it is the ramen. In the end your taste buds will have to be in charge of figuring it out.
What a lovely challenge to have though!
Pork belly burnt ends are meat candy!
These pork belly bites are tender and juicy and loaded with smoke flavor. If this is your first introduction to pork belly be warned that you will become obsessed.
This sandwich has so much flavor built right in.
It is made with a chipotle mayo that is rooted in a combination of mayo and greek yogurt and then all of the spices.
Then we have the jalapeño slaw made with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and other incredible ingredients.
After all of that we get to the incredible dry rub that includes brown sugar, smoked paprika and oh so much more.
First, the pork belly is soaked in bourbon! Then it is cooked in the air fryer.
While that beautiful pork belly is getting crispy on the outside and tender on the inside you can make the spicy coleslaw.
Finally you put it all together on the slider bun and go to town.
This is an Asian style pork belly in a brioche bun that has quick pickled veggies.
The quick pickled veggies on this sandwich are cucumber, purple onion, and carrots.
This is a must try recipe.
This sandwich is made with yellow coconut curry saw and Thai inspired slaw.
While these flavors are an acquired taste, if you love them you are gonna love this.
Find yourself a nice crusty bread to contain all of this joy.
This is quite a unique recipe. It includes caramelized sugar, soy sauce, star anise and many other interesting flavors.
This would be fantastic served over rice. I think that it would be interesting to try it with cilantro lime rice.
This is a Chinese-inspired pork belly recipe that is sweet, sticky and braised with beer.
This recipe merges cultures and flavors to create perfection.
Serve this with mashed potatoes and you will have a fantastic meal that is unique and packed with flavor.
15. Pork Belly Bao
Bao to me is a mixture between bun and fluffy bread. It is soft and slightly sweet.
So of course some cooked-up tender pork belly and serving it on bao just makes sense.
This may be my favorite way to eat pork belly.
The bottom line
What I’ve learned from researching pork belly today is that while it is best when slow cooked, it CAN be overcooked, and the meat seizes up and becomes tough.
That would be so sad, but it’s good to keep it in mind and to use a great recipe like one of these to help you make that perfect dish. Especially if you’re a first-timer to pork belly recipes.
Let us know if you have a favorite way to eat and serve pork belly!
Have some pork belly bacon you want to use up? Try our recipe for Bacon Jerky.
- BBQ pork belly slices
- Pork belly tacos with pineapple slaw
- Air fryer pork belly bites
- Pork belly with honey balsamic glaze
- Crispy pork belly
- Sticky Chinese pork belly
- Pork belly ramen
- Smoked pork belly burnt ends
- Pork belly sandwich with Jalapeño slaw
- Bourbon soaked pork belly sliders
- Sticky pork belly burger
- Pork belly sandwich with thai slaw
- Chairman Mao's red braised pork belly
- Beer braised pork belly
- Pork belly bao
- Choose one of the recipes to try.
- Follow the directions to make the dish.