We made this amazing grilled pork belly dish that our guests completely devoured.
Recently, we celebrated a friend’s birthday at our favorite Western-style pork restaurant here in Kuching, My Restaurant. The most popular dish that we had that night was a platter of grilled, 3-layer pork belly that was a-ma-zing. We asked Walter, the chef-owner of My Restaurant, what was in it.
“Oh, caraway seed, salt, soy sauce, and some other spices which I am not going to tell you.”
Well, being the foodies that we are, we thought we could pull off a grilled 3-layer pork belly dish on our own.
We had planned on throwing a party at our house to celebrate Annie’s birthday, the following Saturday. On that morning, we headed down to our usual wet market to pick up the pork belly. The pork vendor had lots of pork belly to choose from.
Fresh Pork Belly Strips Hanging at the Market
Yes, that’s right. They hang their freshly butchered pork up in the open air, no refrigeration. As long as you wash it thoroughly before cooking, everything is totally fine. We’ve been eating pork from this market the whole time we’ve been here in Kuching, and have not gotten sick once.
We brought 2 kg of pork belly home and started preparing the marinade. Off the top of her head, Annie called out the spices:
Grilled 3 Layer Pork Belly Recipe
1 Tbsp fennel seed
1.5 tsp cumin (we didn’t have caraway seed)
1.5 tsp pepper
1 tsp mustard seed
which I ground up in our bullet blender. To that I added:
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Spices for 3-Layer Pork Belly Marinade
In the meantime, Annie had cut the pork belly strips into thirds. She put them in a mixing bowl and added
5 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
and mixed it all together. Then we covered the bowl and put it in the fridge to marinate for about 3 hours.
I started a chimney full of charcoal going and dumped that in to my trusty Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. Then I took out the drip pan from the body of the cooker, exposing the bottom grate to the direct heat of the coals. This is similar to how I set up the WSM to do grilled ribeye steaks and tri-tip roasts.
The heat at the bottom grate was at about a “5 Mississippi” temperature (meaning, I can hold my hand there and count to “5 Mississippi” before I have to pull it away). I arranged the pork belly pieces on the bottom grate and covered the cooker.
In about 5 minutes, I came back and flipped the pieces over.
Grilling 3-Layer Pork Belly on the WSM
Five more minutes, and it was time to pull! We took them inside, sliced them up into smaller strips and served them to our guests.
Platter of Grilled 3-Layer Pork Belly
This Grilled 3-Layer Pork Belly was so good, it was the first dish to get cleaned out! Everybody loved it. I can’t believe how easy it was to make. Prep time was about 20 minutes and cooking time was just 10.
Where to get 3 layer pork
Here in Malaysia, it’s not that hard to find 3-layer pork belly. But I don’t recall seeing pork belly being sold this way in the markets back in the US. I would guess that most pork belly goes straight to the bacon processors.
I do know that the Korean grocery stores sell 3-layer pork belly in thin slices to make samgyeopsal (a delicious dish in its own right!) so if you want to try making this dish maybe you can ask a Korean friend where to get some pork belly.
If you’ve seen 3-layer pork belly sold somewhere, do leave a comment and tell us about it!