Grilled 3-Layer Pork Belly

We made this amazing grilled pork belly dish that our guests completely devoured.

Sliced grilled 3-layer pork belly

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.

Pork First

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

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

spices for grilled 3-layer pork belly

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.

marinating 3 layer pork belly

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

grilling 3-layer pork belly

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

platter of 3-layer pork belly grilled and sliced

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!

Aloha, Nate

19 thoughts on “Grilled 3-Layer Pork Belly”

  1. Well, you know I’m a pescetarian, but I’m very interested in the spices you used and the photos. Although I don’t eat pork, I would be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the aroma of grilled ribs (that other people are grilling). Nice to have you back–my favorite bloggers!

    1. Gina,

      I know it’s been a while and I do apologize for making you all wait for me to get back on the horse. Thanks for sticking with us!

  2. It depends on locale. In the South, there are many markets that will sell pork bellies, but I think you can substitute slab bacon at those markets where they don’t. Some people get squeamish about organ meats and things like tripe, sow’s ears, pork bellies, and oxtails, so those markets don’t offer them. But, yeah, the slab bacon would do the trick. Great to have you back posting. It’s nice to take a break. Definitely going to try this. The spices sound fantastic!

  3. Hello … I’ve been following you for a while, and I’m glad to see you writing again!

    Regards, Dick

  4. hiya! been following you guys and love all the ranting and recipes. i do hope you never stop. 😀 quick question though, since it’s still not warm enough to bring out the BBQ … would it work in the oven, you think?

    1. Hi Lilian,

      thanks for the comment, we appreciate it!

      You can pan-fry these pork belly strips. Or you can try broiling them in the oven.

          1. hi!
            made it and it was delicious! had it in a wrap with creme fraiche & salad. kids loved it too!
            found the House of Annie (website) page on FB. not sure if you wanted me to post there cause i didn’t see anyone else posting up pictures but you guys.
            didn’t want to post it there if it was only meant for you guys.

  5. I usually get my 3-layer belly pork from my regular butcher at the wet market. Carrefour’s Non-Halal section also carries it. Another outlet that sells organic pork is An Xin outlets. The 3-layer belly pork has minimal fat. But as all organic products, the price is a bit steep for me.

  6. Hi Nate, long time no see. Good to see you back blogging. I’ve been MIA quite a while myself. Indeed, your Grilled 3-layer pork belly is a-ma-zing !!! I can understand why this dish was the first to be cleaned out 😀

  7. Oooh, that looks soooo good. Grilling the fatty pork belly is brilliant! I recently had pork belly pastrami. If you figure out how to cure pork belly into pastrami, let me know because that dish was AH-maze-ing. 🙂

  8. Hello Nate and Annie,

    Glad to see you guys again. 😀 I have to say the grilled pork belly looks DELICIOUS and I would have loved to try it despite the fact that I don’t really like non-crispy fats. 😀

  9. Hi Annie & Nate. Since you asked so kindly, The ‘El Grande’ market here in Tampa, FL at Waters Ave & Hanley Rd sells raw pork bellies as a daily meat case item. You can have heads, ears, tails and feet too if you like. El Grande is a popular market albeit quite crowded on weekends. It’s a Bodega really, catering to Latino shopping habits.

    Brick said that

  10. Yummo, thanks for this recipe. I have 8 for lunch on Saturday and a massive pork belly in the fridge – Cant Wait!!!

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