• Sprinkle the dry rub of pork generously on the pork belly slab, covering all sides.
• Rub it in the pork belly as well as into those crosshatch cut.
• After the smoker is preheated, put the pork belly slab fat-side-up onto the grate of the smoker.
• Close the door and let it smoke for four to 4 hours, or till the temperature is 160degF (74degC).
The key to a successful smoked pork belly is in the preparation. The dry rub is what gives the meat its flavor, so be sure to use a generous amount and really work it into the meat. The crosshatch cut also helps to infuse the flavor throughout the meat.
When it comes to smoking, it’s important to preheat the smoker and maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. This ensures that the meat is cooked evenly and thoroughly.
Overall, smoking a whole pork belly is a fun and rewarding experience. It’s a great way to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills, and the end result is absolutely delicious.
Preparing the Pork Belly Slab
Smoking a whole pork belly is a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy this flavorful cut of meat. Before you begin, it’s important to properly prepare the pork belly slab. Start by trimming any excess fat from the edges of the slab, leaving a thin layer of fat on top. This will help keep the meat moist and tender during the smoking process.
Next, rinse the pork belly slab under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. This will remove any excess moisture and help the dry rub adhere to the meat. Once the pork belly slab is dry, place it on a clean cutting board or work surface and prepare to apply the dry rub.
Applying the Dry Rub
The dry rub is an essential component of smoking a whole pork belly. It adds flavor and helps to create a delicious crust on the outside of the meat. To make the dry rub, combine your favorite spices and seasonings in a bowl. Some popular options include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and brown sugar.
Sprinkle the dry rub generously on the pork belly slab, covering all sides. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the meat, making sure to get it into any crevices or crosshatch cuts. The dry rub will create a flavorful crust on the outside of the meat as it smokes, so be sure to apply it liberally.
Making Crosshatch Cuts
To help the dry rub penetrate the meat and create a more even cooking surface, it’s a good idea to make crosshatch cuts on the top of the pork belly slab. Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts in a diagonal pattern, then repeat in the opposite direction to create a crosshatch pattern. This will also help the fat render and create a crispy exterior during the smoking process.
Preheating the Smoker
Before you can begin smoking the pork belly slab, you’ll need to preheat your smoker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific smoker model, but generally you’ll want to heat the smoker to a temperature of around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the meat cooks evenly and develops a delicious smoky flavor.
Placing the Pork Belly Slab onto the Smoker
Once the smoker is preheated, it’s time to place the pork belly slab onto the grate. Make sure the fat side is facing up, as this will help keep the meat moist and tender during the smoking process. Close the door of the smoker and let the pork belly smoke for four to six hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monitoring the Temperature
It’s important to monitor the temperature of the pork belly slab throughout the smoking process. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature every hour or so, making sure it doesn’t exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature starts to rise too quickly, you can adjust the heat of the smoker or move the pork belly to a cooler part of the grate.
Checking for Doneness
Once the pork belly slab reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to check for doneness. Use a fork or meat thermometer to test the tenderness of the meat. It should be tender and juicy, with a crispy exterior and a smoky flavor. If the meat is still tough or undercooked, you can continue smoking it for another hour or so until it reaches the desired level of doneness.
Serving and Enjoying the Smoked Pork Belly
Once the pork belly slab is fully cooked, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve the smoked pork belly with your favorite sides and enjoy the delicious, smoky flavor. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, and can be reheated in the oven or on the grill for a quick and easy meal.