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.

Most Recent

Adobo Pork Belly Nigiri
Rating: Unrated 1
One of the most sought-after dishes at the Los Angeles restaurant Spoon & Pork is this bite of pork belly atop sushi rice. Chefs Raymond Yaptinchay and Jay Tugas describe their food as modern Filipino, citing influences from the Philippines and California. Here, well-seasoned sushi rice pairs with salty and spicy pork belly in a complex snack that takes some time to make, but each component can be prepared in advance. The pork belly is crispy on the outside and tender inside, and is topped with crunchy nori and furikake for even more texture and flavor. A dot of sriracha sauce adds acidity and heat to cut through the fatty pork, while the chives lend a pop of freshness.
Lechon Kawali with Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)
At Chicago's Bayan Ko, chef Lawrence Letrero and his wife and partner Raquel Quadreny meld his Filipino and her Cuban heritages in each plate of food. Their intentions come together perfectly in this lechon, featuring pork belly meltingly tender underneath a crispy crust. The  crunchy atchara, a pickled papaya salad, balances the richness of the pork with spicy, salty, acidic and fresh notes, while the sweet-sour dipping sauce pulls all the flavors together. The atchara will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months; use any leftover to add a tart kick to tacos and sandwiches.
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 1
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 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.

More Pork Belly

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
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