I've been wanting to show you how to make smoked whole pork belly and the time has come to make that happen.

As you probably know, pork belly is the stuff that bacon is made of and it's just bursting with flavor– the absolute best part of the pig if you ask me. It contains a lot of fat and a lot of meat so we are going to season it real good and then cook it long enough to allow a lot of that fat to render and the meat to get tender.

As I was prepping this, I couldn't decide which of my rubs to use so I made a spur of the moment decision to cut the 9-lb pork belly in half and then do half of it with my Texas style rub and the other half with my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rubs). I'll let you know later on in the recipe which one I preferred.

This bad boy is eager for some smoke time so let's not keep it waiting!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 195-200°F
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry and/or Apple
What You'll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Don't Miss This Special Deal on the Rub/Sauce Recipes (Formulas)

CLICK HERE to get a whopping 25% off when you order the recipes for Jeff's rubs and barbecue sauce! Great Deal!

Finding/Purchasing Pork Belly

I live just a short drive from Costco so I have an endless supply of pork belly at a great price but depending on where you live, you may have to call a butcher or meat market and order it ahead of time.

If possible, let the butcher remove the skin for you. They are fast and usually don't mind at all doing this for their customers.

Look for pork belly that has an even thickness throughout and weights 9 to 13 lbs.

Step 1: Remove Rind/Skin if Required

If your pork belly still has the rind or skin on it, you'll probably want to remove it unless you are planning to crackle it over a hot fire or ladle super hot oil onto it once it's finished cooking. I prefer to just remove it but to each their own.

Use a very sharp knife to get between the skin and the fat cap. You want to remove the tough skin but leave as much of the fat cap as possible. Work in small sections to make the job easier and you'll be done in no time. Pull up on the skin as you drag the sharp edge of the knife angled slightly upward against the skin.

As a last resort, there are videos online that will show you the proper technique but I can tell you from experience that the most important part of this job is sharpening the knife.

Step 2: Make Cuts in Fat Cap

With the pork belly laying flat in front of you, fat cap side up, use a very sharp knife to make cuts (back to front) about ¼ inch deep and about 1 inch apart.

Make the same cuts from side to side.

This increases the surface area for the rub and gives the juices a place to pool while the meat cooks. Splendid!

Step 3: Season Fat Cap

If you want to just add the rub at this point you can, or you can add a binding agent to help the rub to stick. This is so the rub sticks to the meat real good instead of falling off while you're flipping it over, moving it around, etc.

My normal go-to binder is yellow mustard which works great but I tried using the barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce)  a while back on some ribs and it worked so well, that I'm going to repeat the process on this pork belly. I recommend you try it too.

Just a little drizzle all over will do the trick.

Now rub that in and let it get down in the cuts as much as possible.

I had decided on the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) and just started to sprinkle it on when and idea occurred to me–

Why not cut the pork belly in half and do a comparison between the two rubs? (Purchase formulas here | Purchase bottled rubs) Great idea!

Be very generous with the rubs and, of course, you can use whatever rub you like or you can do one of each like I did.

Let that sit there and get happy while you go get the smoker ready. In about 15 minutes we can come back and season the other side.

Step 4: Season the Meaty Side

Flip the pork belly halves over.

Do the same barbecue sauce and rub application on the meaty side.

Since we have two smaller pieces now, it's a good idea to place them on a Weber grill pan, Bradley rack or something like that to make them really easy to move around.

Fat side up is the best way to cook these in my opinion as that allows the fat to render and pool on top of the meat sort of self-basting while it cooks.

These beautiful things are ready for some smoke!

Step 5: Set Up Smoker

Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F using indirect heat and if your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.

I recommend using a sweet fruit wood for these but really, any good smoking wood will work.

Once the smoker is ready, go get the meat and get it on the grates.

Step 6: Cook with Smoke

Place the pork belly on the smoker grate fat side up.

Let it cook for about 4 hours or until it reaches 160°F. You can also go by color– when it gets to the right shade of dark brown, you can proceed to the next step. My pork belly halves cooked for 4.5 hours at which point they were the color I wanted and about 163 to 168°F in the center.

Step 7: Foil or Paper Wrap

Wrap the meat in foil, butcher paper or you can place it down in a foil pan and cover that with foil.

I used the foil pan method.

Both of my pork belly halves fit perfectly into my full-size steam pan without even touching.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and place it back on to the grate for about another 1.5 hours.

If you do decide to use paper, make sure it is unlined, unwaxed, uncoated and is graded for use with food. The paper I like to use can be seen and/or purchased here.

Step 8: Finish and Serve

I recommend letting the pork belly reach about 195 to 200°F before calling them done. Poke them with a thermometer probe or a long toothpick to give you an idea for their tenderness. I let mine go to 198°F and they were sliceable without falling apart which is what I prefer. You can also cook pork belly to 205 to 207°F if you like and make some of the best pulled pork from these you've ever eaten.

When the correct temperature is obtained, remove them from the heat and crack the foil open just a little to rest. Let them sit there and rest for at least 15 minutes but if you can go an hour, it will reward you greatly.

Slice about ¼ inch thick and serve it up!

I just had two slices with three eggs over easy and I'm telling you, that's what I call a hearty breakfast!

How to Check Temperature

Throughout my recipes, you'll see me say to check the temperature or to make sure the temperature reaches a certain point. This is very important not just for safety but for most things, it also determines how tender the final product is.

This pork belly is a prime example in that the pork is safe to eat at 145°F but it is far from tender at that point. The fat starts to render at about 180°F and from there up to about 200°F is where it really starts getting tender.

For these you can use a handheld thermometer like the ThermoPop, the Thermapen Mk4 or the ThermoPro TP-19 or you can go with a leave-in thermometer such as the Smoke or the Signals or even the FireBoard which can handle up to 6 probes simultaneously.

You really do have a lot of options where thermometers are concerned but the most important thing is that you buy the best one you can afford and use it to not only keep your family and friends safe but to improve the quality of what is coming off of your smoker.

Which Half Was Better?

So I used both rubs on the pork, the Texas style rub on one half and the original rub on the other half and while both of them were really good in their own way, I definitely preferred the Texas style rub. I think this was because of the saltiness. The original rub is very low on salt and that's a good thing but sometimes you want a little more salt so you can use the Texas style rub for that or you can just salt the meat a little more before applying the original rub.

Try both of these if you get a chance and be sure to let me know which one you liked better in the comments below.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Don't Miss This Special Deal on the Rub/Sauce Recipes (Formulas)

CLICK HERE to get a whopping 25% off when you order the recipes for Jeff's rubs and barbecue sauce! Great Deal!

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

Your Content Goes Here

Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!  -Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!  -Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.  -Darwyn B.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, “Can the recipes really be that good?”

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter

Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Order Jeff's Rub Recipe n' Sauce Recipe
I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.
Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 900 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Thin Blue Foods Store | AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon


Printable Recipe

Smoked Whole Pork Belly
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
 
I've been wanting to show you how to make smoked whole pork belly and the time has come to make that happen. As you probably know, pork belly is the stuff that bacon is made of and it's just bursting with flavor– the absolute best part of the pig if you ask me.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Barbecue
What You'll Need
  • 1 whole Pork Belly (tough skin/rind removed)
  • 1/4 cup Jeff's barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup Yellow mustard (optional)
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Jeff's Texas style rub
Instructions
Step 1: Remove Rind/Skin if Required
  1. Use a very sharp knife to remove skin/rind if required.

Step 2: Make Cuts in Fat Cap
  1. With the pork belly laying flat in front of you, fat cap side up, use a very sharp knife to make cuts (back to front) about ¼ inch deep and about 1 inch apart.

  2. Make the same cuts from side to side.
Step 3: Season Fat Cap
  1. Apply barbecue sauce or yellow mustard all over the fat cap to help the rub to stick.

  2. Sprinkle rub generously onto the fat cap.

Step 4: Season the Meaty Side
  1. Flip the pork belly over.

  2. Apply the same barbecue sauce or mustard and rub on the meaty side.

Step 5: Set Up Smoker
  1. Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F using indirect heat and if your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.
  2. Once the smoker is ready, go get the meat and get it on the grates.
Step 6: Cook with Smoke
  1. Place the pork belly on the smoker grate fat side up.
  2. Let it cook for about 4 hours or until it reaches 160°F.

Step 7: Foil or Paper Wrap
  1. Wrap the meat in foil, butcher paper or you can place it down in a foil pan and cover that with foil.
  2. After wrapping or covering, place it back on to the grate for another ~1.5 hours.

Step 8: Finish and Serve
  1. Let the pork belly reach about 195 to 200°F before calling them done.

  2. Let the meat rest with foil tented over it for at least 15 minutes before serving. An hour is better.

  3. Slice about ¼ inch thick and serve it up!
DON’T MISS OUT!
Subscribe To Newsletter
Be the first to get notified about my weekly smoker recipes 
+ Free 5-Chapter eCourse on Smoking Meat Basics
Subscribe
Give it a try, single-click unsubscribe at any time if you change your mind.