Smoked Pork Belly Texas-Style
There is something about smoked meat, especially Texas-style, that keeps you wanting for more. That juicy goodness that you will only get when meat is slow cooked is truly addictive. If you are served with a delicious plate of Texas-style smoked pork or beef brisket, one plate won’t be enough to satisfy your craving. Fortunately, the recipe for this juicy goodness has been shared to the world, so you can make your own. Now if you can’t get a hold of a good brisket, a good alternative is to use pork belly instead. So here’s the recipe for a smoked pork belly Texas-style.
- 1 4-5lb boneless pork belly (remove the skin)
- 3 tablespoons of Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper (coarsely ground)
- 3 chunks of a medium smoking wood
Smokers we would recommend for this cook are Masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch Top Controller Electric Smoker, Masterbuilt 40″ Electric Smoker with Window, Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-1/2-Inch Charcoal Smoker but these are just are recommendations and you should not feel limited to these smokers.
Of course, you will need a smoker to cook this delicious meal. The first thing you need to do is make sure you get a nice pork belly cut from the market. Choose the boneless kind and if you can, have the skin removed. Pork skin isn’t really good when it is smoked. Removing the skin will also increase the surface area where you can rub the salt and pepper mix. After you have secured your pork belly, you can now prepare the rub. Get three tablespoons of Kosher salt (better than iodized salt because it adds more flavor) and put it in a bowl. Then grind enough black pepper to fill a quarter of a cup. Make sure to grind it coarsely. This will create a crunchy peppery bite in every slice of the pork belly once it is cooked. You can use a spice grinder to achieve that. You might be wondering what’s so special about this smoked pork belly when you only need salt and pepper? Well, that is the secret to the Texas-style barbecue. Also, you will figure that out once you taste the finished product.
Now back to the preparation. After you’ve finished preparing the rub, get the pork belly and apply the coating liberally. This is the important part. Don’t worry if you apply the coat liberally. This will not make the meat too salty. A good rule to follow is to apply the mix until there’s nothing left (or at least only a little is left). After you’ve finished coating the meat with the rub, it’s time to put the meat in the smoker.
Here’s the critical part of cooking a smoked pork belly Texas-style. The secret to a good smoked meat is the temperature and the amount of time it is left in the smoker. With a pork belly, you have to make sure that the fat is soft. That’s the indication that you’ve made the best smoked pork belly. To achieve that nice, jiggly bounce, you have to cook the meat at a temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit and smoke it to 225 degrees. You will usually get that jiggly bounce around the 7-hour time (8 hours max). And just like any smoked meat, you must not serve it right away. To complete the process, you have to let the meat rest for about a couple of hours. Wrap the pork belly in either butcher’s paper or foil and place it in the Cambro (or if you don’t have one, a warmer will do), until the guests arrive or if it’s time to eat. You have to be critical of the time you let the meat rest as it can also make or break the smoked pork belly. A good rule is to make sure that it is still nice and warm so that the fat will still be juicy and soft.
If you are not content with salt and pepper and natural flavor of the pork belly, you can make your own Texas-style barbecue sauce to add an extra kick to your smoked pork belly. Here are the ingredients.
Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
To make the barbecue sauce, first you need to melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then add the minced garlic and stir it for around 30 seconds. Add the ketchup and all remaining ingredients and keep stirring. When the sauce is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer until it is reduced to 1 1/3 cups. You can stir the sauce occasionally for about 15 minutes. You can season the sauce with salt and pepper as you like. The best thing about this sauce is you can make this one week ahead of making your smoked pork belly. (Note: you can get the canned chipotle chile in supermarkets or Latin-American markets.)
Smoked pork belly Texas-style is a great main course for Barbecue Sundays. If you feel the itch and can’t find a good brisket, this is a great substitute. Just make sure to follow the recipe to the dot and you will surely enjoy a very delicious meal.