11 Ways to Satisfy a Pork Belly Craving

From over-the-top sandwiches to rich and luscious ramen.

Pork Belly Nigri
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

From over-the-top sandwiches to smoked burnt ends, rich braises, and luscious ramen, here are 11 delicious ways to serve pork belly.

Adobo Pork Belly Nigiri

Pictured above, these rich and flavorful nigiri are one of the most popular dishes at Raymond Yaptinchay and Jay Tugas' modern Filipino restaurant, Spoon & Pork. Slices of twice-cooked pork belly are brushed with a garlicky coconut vinegar glaze, placed atop seasoned sushi rice, dolloped with sriracha, and dusted with furikake and minced chives.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends with Barbecue Sauce

If you find the burnt ends of smoked brisket irresistible, this recipe is for you. Chunks of spice-rubbed pork belly are slowly smoked, tossed in a quick, not-too-sweet barbecue sauce, and then smoked some more. The result: a crispy-chewy pile of pork that will win over the most passionate burnt-ends purist.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends with pickles and white bread
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey

Thit Kho (Vietnamese Brasied Pork Belly)

For this Vietnamese classic, cubes of pork belly are braised with palm sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, and shallots. Serve over rice with the suggested blanched cabbage, or try it with sliced Persian cucumber for a refreshing summer entrée.

Kho (Braised Vietnamese Minced Pork) with Cabbage
Anna Stockwell

Crisp Green Beans with Pork Belly

At his San Francisco restaurant The Slanted Door, Charles Phan stir-fries green beans and meaty mushrooms in peanut oil for customers who want a satisfying vegetarian dish. But he actually prefers the version here, which in typical Vietnamese fashion uses a small amount of rich and tender pork belly to imbue the beans with succulent flavor.

Crispy Pork Belly Sandwiches with Meyer Lemon Relish

Pair this decadent sandwich with a lush Washington state Merlot.

Crispy Pork Belly Sandwiches with Meyer Lemon Relish. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
© Antonis Achilleos

Crispy Pork Belly with Kimchi Rice Grits and Peanuts

Chef Hugh Acheson makes an ingenious version of the Southern classic by swapping rice grits for corn and stirring in kimchi to go with his crispy pork belly.

Crispy Pork Belly with Kimchi Rice Grits and Peanuts
© Con Poulos

Caramel-Lacquered Pork Belly with Quick-Pickled Honeydew

The key to this dish is the rich Vietnamese-inspired dark caramel. "A little bitterness in the caramel makes it more complex," Andrea Reusing says. "I often tell home cooks to take the caramel as far as they think they can, then pull it off the heat and let stand for a minute before adding the other ingredients."

Caramel-Lacquered Pork Belly with Quick-Pickled Honeydew
Photo © John Kernick

Crispy Pork Belly Tacos with Pico de Gallo

Chef Enrique Olvera stuffs tacos with crispy pork belly, confited in fat, and serves them with a tangy salsa spiked with Mexican beer.

Crispy Pork Belly Tacos with Pico de Gallo
© Con Poulos

Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Radishes

Richard Blais crashed in the final moments of Top Chef season four when his pressure-cooked pork belly did not turn out to be as delicious, or nearly as tender, as he had hoped: He didn't leave the meat in long enough. Gail Simmons chooses to stick with a more classic cooking method, marinating the pork overnight and braising it in a savory soy-and-mirin broth.


Chile-Eggplant Mazemen Ramen with Pork Belly

This flavor-packed ramen from master Ivan Orkin features incredibly springy homemade noodles with an eggplant-chipotle sofrito and just a bit of broth.


Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)

For this Hmong dish, fragrant lemongrass and galangal add brightness and balance to the savory-sweet sauce that coats tender pork belly and quail eggs. Searing the pork in batches ensures the meat browns while the fat renders.

Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)
Celeste Noche
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