How to Smoke Pork Belly

In our most recent blog on the How-To series, we gave you the best tips and tricks for smoking ribs. This week, we'll continue the series how to smoke pork belly! Pork belly is an up-and-coming cut of meat, and we want to give you the best way to make your own pork belly at home!

What is pork belly?

Essentially, pork belly is the belly of a pig. It's the same cut as bacon, but just in a bigger slab. It's super fatty and will give you all the flavors of the pork.

What is the best cut of pork to use?

There are two options you can buy: side pork or pork belly. You want to get more of the pork belly instead of the side because the really fatty stuff will render the best flavor. You also want to be sure that you get the pork belly without the rind or skin. 

Season your pork

At Bigham's, we use our signature seasoning blend on our pork belly, but you can use your own seasoning blend as well. A sweet and salty flavor will complement the flavor of the pork really nicely. We suggest trying salt, pepper, paprika and garlic salt to really bring out the smoky and savory flavor. Season every side of the belly with your seasoning blend to make sure the seasonings soak in well.

How to smoke your pork belly

Heat your pit to 250 degrees and once it hits that temperature, throw your pork belly on for two hours or until it reaches 160 degrees internally. Then, pull your pork belly out and wrap it in foil and place it back in the pit until it reaches 200 degrees internal. 

Next, combine some barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar to glaze your pork. Once your pork hits 200 degrees, take it out, unwrap it and drizzle the combined barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar glaze on top. Then, place it back in your smoker for 30 minutes to caramelize the glaze. Be sure to rest the pork belly for at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving.  

Tips and tricks from the pit master

We asked Pit Master, Chad George to give you some of the best tips and tricks to get the best pork belly. His favorite thing about smoking a pork belly is how it just melts in your mouth. 

- The fattier, the better.

The fattier your pork belly is, the more flavor it will give the pork. Fat renders downs when smoked and that's also what allows the pork belly to melt in your mouth.

- Don't be afraid to let your pork cook longer.

Just because you let the meat cook longer doesn't mean you'll let it burn. If you follow the process of low and slow, then pork belly will only give you a better flavor. Unlike other meats that are smoked to long, pork belly won't give you tough meat to chew, it will just give you more flavor and more of that melt in your mouth that we want.