Korean Grilled Pork Belly
- 2 lbs pork belly (In two large pieces or a single slab, skin on or off)
- 2” piece fresh ginger root, sliced
- 3 Tbsp white miso paste*
- 1 small white onion, quartered
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 heaping Tbsp gochujang paste
- 1 tsp gochugaru
Sauce & Marinade
- ⅓ cup mirin
- ¼ cup gochujang paste
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp grated garlic
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp water
First simmer the pork. Start with about a cup of water in a heavy bottomed stock pot and add ginger root, miso paste, onion, garlic, brown sugar, gochujang, and gochugaru. Stir to combine. Place the pork belly in the pot and add more water until the pork is just covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for two hours.
Meanwhile, make the marinade. Combine all ingredients except the cornstarch and water. Stir to combine. Add half of the marinade to a wide dish and reserve the other half. Place the cooked pork into the marinade and turn to coat. Let the pork cool completely before covering and refrigerating for another hour to marinate, up to overnight.
Place the remaining sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small dish and stir to make a cornstarch slurry. Add the slurry to the simmering sauce and whisk until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve on the side as a dipping sauce.
Take the pork out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Heat a grill over medium low heat. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, being careful not to over-char. Be cautious of flare-ups. Use the marinade left in the dish to brush onto the pork after turning. Grill pork on all sides until tender and charred in spots.
Serve with the dipping sauce, steamed rice, salad and your favorite korean vegetable side dishes. See notes for side dish ideas.
*Use doenjang (korean soybean paste) instead of white miso paste if you have it.
Boiling the pork in a savory umami blend of aromatics makes it tender and deeply flavorful. It also helps render some of the fat, which is good for this recipe because the excess fat on pork belly can make it difficult to grill.
Gochujang and gochugaru make this dish spicy, but not burning hot. If you’re sensitive to spice, you can omit the gochugaru altogether or adjust to your liking.
There are several types of salad and pickles that go great with Korean BBQ. I served quick pickled cucumbers in mirin and rice vinegar with a bit of gochugaru, as well as a green onion and soy bean sprout side salad with a gochujang vinaigrette. Future Dish has three salad variations you can try. I also had steamed rice, fresh carrot and kimchi on the table.
We enjoyed our grilled pork belly wrapped in lettuce leaves with a bit of dipping sauce, rice, pickle and salad tucked inside.