Pork Belly

Pork belly may have already passed its peak on restaurant menus, but since when did crispy, juicy, fatty pork ever go out of style? In fact, chef Jose Garces thinks you need to use more of this tender ingredient in your own kitchen: "Americans have this love affair with bacon. Pork belly is where bacon comes from and is more versatile," he says. And we agree. Pork belly is great for adding richness to soups and sandwiches or can stand on its own as a main dish. Food & Wine's guide takes you through all the ways you can cook with pork belly by providing dozens of recipes and tips from chefs.

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Pork Belly Burnt Ends with Barbecue Sauce

Burnt ends are, strictly speaking, the extra-dark, chewy, extremely delicious ends of a barbecued beef brisket—not pork belly at all. But if you find burnt ends irresistible, then this recipe is for you. Slow-smoking chunks of spice-rubbed pork belly, then tossing them in a quick, not-too-sweet barbecue sauce and smoking them some more yields a crispy-chewy pile of pork that will win over the most passionate burnt-ends purist. Enjoy them with piles of white bread to sop up the sauce, along with tangy pickles and raw onion to cut through the richness.

Thit Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly)

Rating: Unrated
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This savory pork braise is beloved across Vietnam. In the north, the dish is usually saltier, says chef Diep Tran, R&D chef for Red Boat Fish Sauce, while in the south, the braise tends to be sweeter. The blanched cabbage is a good accompaniment for the fall and winter months; during spring, blanched snap peas and green beans are great options; in the summer, pair this kho with fresh slices of Persian cucumbers.

Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)

Fragrant lemongrass and galangal add brightness and balance to the savory-sweet sauce that coats tender pork belly. Searing the pork in batches ensures the meat browns while the fat renders.

Pork Pies with Pine Nuts and Dried Fruit

Virtuoso charcutier Arnaud Nicolas’s choice of meat—lean pork belly—gets the ratio of protein to fat exactly right. The interiors of his warm buttery puff pastries are studded with jewellike nubs of pistachio, cranberry and apricot. Slideshow: More Pork Belly Recipes 

Pork Belly Porchetta with Truffles

This is Nadine Levy Redzepi’s high-low approach to pork, combining a humble, fatty cut with upscale but affordable preserved truffles. The meat is cooked until just tender; it won’t be meltingly soft like a braise, but it has that irresistible crunchy layer of fat to keep everything juicy. Slideshow: More Pork Belly Recipes 

Pork Belly

You can't go wrong with melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. From crispy pork belly with kimchi to hearty sandwiches loaded with tender pork belly pieces and fried eggs, these dishes will be worth the effort.
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Pancetta

Pancetta—the Italian bacon made of pork belly meat—is used in plenty of recipes, including these pancetta-beef burgers with horseradish ketchup and these baked rigatoni with broccoli, green olives and pancetta.

Crispy Pork Belly Tacos with Pico de Gallo

Rating: Unrated
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Chef Enrique Olvera stuffs tacos with crispy pork belly, confited in fat, and serves them with a tangy salsa spiked with Mexican beer. Slideshow:  More Taco Recipes 

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." More Pork Recipes