Barbecued pork belly

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only

If you love pulled pork, you'll love this barbecued pork belly. Fans of spare ribs will enjoy it too and all the meat benefits from a rich, sticky BBQ sauce

  • Prep:40 mins
    Cook:7 hrs
    (cooking with indirect heat) plus a few hours salting
  • Serves 10
  • A challenge

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 560
  • fat 38g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 16g
  • sugars 16g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 37g
  • salt 2.3g


  • 2-3 bone-in rindless pork belly
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 150g ketchup
  • 100ml apple juice
  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp American mustard
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sauce
  • splash chilli sauce (optional)


Fill the drip tray with water

Fill the drip tray to about 2cm with cold water to cool any fat that falls in.


  1. If you have time, season the pork all over with 2 tbsp sea salt a few hours before cooking – this acts as a dry brine but it isn’t essential. If you don’t have time, simply salt the pork all over. To make the rub, toast the peppercorns, cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a dry, hot pan, then grind them with the bay leaves. Mix thoroughly with the other rub ingredients. Will keep in an airtight container for one week.

  2. Set a lidded barbecue up for indirect cooking with a foil drip tray (see tip below) on the coal-free side. Light the coals and wait for them to die down to ashen. Put the lid on, then arrange the vents so a small stream of air is coming through. The temperature should be around 110C – stick a probe into the lid vent to get a reading if your barbecue doesn’t have a thermometer.

  3. Pack the rub all over the pork. Throw a few new coals on the barbecue, add a good scattering of woodchips on top, then put on the grate. Sit the pork bone-side down over the drip tray and put on the lid, with the vents over the pork. Leave the pork to cook for 5-6 hrs, topping up with more woodchips and coals a few times during the smoking. After the initial blast, you want a slight, steady stream of smoke coming out of the vent.

  4. While the pork is smoking, make the BBQ sauce by mixing all the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved. This is a thin ‘mop’ sauce for basting. If you want it thicker, gently bubble the sauce in a saucepan for a few mins. Will keep in the fridge for one week – the further ahead you make the sauce, the better it will taste.

  5. When the pork reaches 85C on a cooking thermometer, brush it all over with the sauce and continue to cook. Once the sauce has glazed onto the meat, remove the pork from the barbecue and rest for a while before slicing it into rib-bone-thick chops and serving with more sauce. For an extra kick, get the barbecue going again with a layer of hot coals, then put the chops back on the barbecue with some more sauce until the exposed fat is sizzling and the sticky sauce has charred on all sides.

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