Pork Belly Tacos are a showcase of rich flavour to indulge your tastebuds. Pork Belly is a flavourful piece of meat that has a good percentage of fat, making it perfect for smoking, and especially when used in a taco paired with pineapple or coleslaw.
Weekends are a great time for smoking. I love spending time outside on a warm day, smoking brisket, ribs, or pork belly. And Smoked Pork Belly Tacos are one of our family’s favourites.
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Smoked Pork Belly Tacos
Below is my recipe for Pork Belly Tacos. I smoke it using a combination of apple and hickory wood chunks. The meat needs to be rubbed 24 hours before smoking, making this an all-weekend project. But the results are definitely worth the time.
This is a great dish to serve at a small family get-together since one pork belly will serve quite a few people. We can usually serve 15 to 20 people with a 14-pound pork belly with the addition of sides. The tacos pair well with rice and salads.
One of our favourite times to serve these tacos is for Father’s Day. I enjoy spending Father’s Day weekend outside with my grill, BBQ, and smoker, so this is an ideal weekend meal for us. And since we have ten children and our grandchildren, this is a perfect recipe to make for our family.
Sauce for Smoked Pork Belly Tacos
The sauce used for this recipe is Asian-inspired. This sauce goes well with almost any pork and can also be used as a marinade for pork chops.
The ingredients include:
Hoisin Sauce. This is one of those ingredients we are very picky about because of the sodium content in some brands. There was one that we threw out after one use before the sodium content was so high the dish we made was ruined. The lowest sodium product we have found in our area is 220 mg per tablespoon.
Soy sauce. Again this is one we watch the sodium content. We use low-sodium soy sauce, as well as one that does not contain sodium benzoate, a preservative we prefer not to use.
Rice Vinegar. This ingredient should be 100% rice vinegar. We have found some that have preservatives and salt added.
Fish Sauce. A substitute for this ingredient would be oyster sauce. They can both be used with fantastic results.
Chinese Five Spice. There is no substitute for this spice blend. A homemade version can be made from star anise, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger. If this spice is something you don’t use often, you can find it at bilk stores like Bulk Barn where you can buy only what you need for the recipe.
The remaining ingredients are ground cloves, chili flakes, garlic, and pepper. There is no salt added because the other ingredients contain enough salt already.
Pork Belly Rub
The rub for this recipe has five ingredients.
Chinese Five Spice
Fresh Ground Pepper
Tip For Making This Dish
I create a foil packet for the meat to hold the juice by using a large sheet of foil, about 1-½ size of the meat. I then roll up the sides and ends together, creating a foil bowl around the meat, making sure there are no holes where liquid can escape. Then I add the juice, pour it over the meat, and then seal it with an additional piece of foil as the cover.
Alternatively, you can use a foil tray. These can be found at Dollar Stores.
When it comes to coleslaw, we have two that we like to use:
You can also make regular coleslaw. Or a store-bought coleslaw will work as well.
Storing Leftover Pork Belly
Any leftover pork can be stored in the fridge and used to make more tacos or to top salads. It is also great served with rice and grilled vegetables, then topped with sauce. Leftover pork can be used in many ways so it can be used for meal prepping as well.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.
Pork Belly Tacos
- 1 Tbsp Chinese 5-spice
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Hoisin sauce
- 1½ Tbsp chili flakes
- ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1½ Tbsp Chinese 5-spice
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp ground ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
Meat and Toppings
- 14-15 pounds pork belly
- ¾ cup apple cider or apple juice
- soft tortillas
- 1 fresh pineapple
- finely shredded sharp cheddar
- Mix all rub ingredients together. Set aside.
- Score the fat side of the belly in a one inch criss cross pattern.
- Apply rub to meat, making sure all the meat is seasoned with the rub.
- Cover the belly tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove the pork belly from the fridge after 24 hours and let come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile soak Apple and Hickory wood chunks or chips.
- Heat smoker to 250°F. Add soaked wood chunks once temperature is reached and allow smoke to form.
- Insert a leave-in thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
- Once the smoker is ready, place the pork belly on the smoker and allow it to cook slowly for 8 to 10 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Combine sauce ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
- Baste with half of the sauce and wrap in foil, adding apple juice to the foil packet*, leaving the thermometer inserted.
- Continue cooking without smoke until internal temperature reaches 200°F.
- Remove from the smoker and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Chop into small cubes and add ¾ of the remaining sauce to the meat. Stirring to coat the meat.
- Grill the pineapple slices and then cut into small cubes.
- Serve on warm tortillas with a drizzle of remaining sauce. Top with the grilled pineapple, coleslaw, grated cheese or any other toppings of choice.
- Store leftover meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.