Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Plum Sauce

Image of pork belly, cooked and cut up

This is mouth-wateringly good and although it takes three hours to marinate and another four or five hours to cook, it doesn’t need a lot of fussing over.

I wrote this post a long time ago. If I was making it now I would remove the rind and cook it separately for crackling, oiled, salted and rubbed with a little five spice powder. Hmm, I’m making myself hungry, I may have to re-cook this soon …

Sweet Ginger and Soy Glazed Pork Belly


A large piece of meaty belly pork on the bone – around 4-5lb (approx 2 kg)

For the marinade:

100g soft brown sugar

125 ml soy sauce

140 ml tomato ketchup

125 ml mirin or dry sherry

2 tbsp grated or finely shredded fresh root ginger

2 tsp crushed garlic

2 tsp chilli flakes

1 star anise


Combine the marinade ingredients in a large dish big enough to fit the meat inside.

Prepare the belly pork by removing the fine membrane on the underside.

Image of membrane being removed

I realised afterwards that I should have removed the rind at this stage. I left it on and removed it later in the cooking process.

The advantage of that was that it helped keep the meat succulent. The disadvantage was that the marinade probably didn’t penetrate as far. The choice is yours.

Either way, put the meat into the marinade and turn it to coat both sides evenly.

Cover and refrigerate for three hours, turning occasionally.

Image of pork in its marinade

Then remove the ribs from the dish and reserve the marinade, making sure you let the meat stand at room temperature for half an hour before you start cooking.

Heat your barbecue or oven to 300F/150F/Gas 2.

If using a barbecue, place the pork directly on the (clean) cooking grate and cook on indirect heat with the lid down for two hours. If using an oven, put the meat on a roasting rack in an oven tin lined with tin foil.

When those first two hours are up, remove the pork, brush it on both sides with the reserved marinade, wrap it in foil, put it back in the barbecue or oven and continue cooking at the same heat for another 2-3 hours.

Image of pork brushed with marinade and wrapped in foil

This is where you should remove the rind, if you haven’t already. I did it half an hour before the end of cooking, brushing with marinade again, and it was fine.

By the end, the bones should be falling out and the meat tender enough to pull apart with your fingers. Allow it rest, covered and kept warm, for 30 minutes before tearing into it.

Image of pork on the barbecue

In the unlikely event that there’s any left, try using it up, thoroughly reheated and shredded, in Chinese pancakes with thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions and this sour/sweet plum sauce, which originated with Gary Rhodes …

Image of shredded pork

Chinese-style Plum Sauce


About 15-20 medium plums, halved and stoned

5 fl oz (150 ml) red wine

2 tbsp brandy (sloe gin would be a good alternative)

3″ piece of cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1 star anise

Juice of 1/2 an orange

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Large pinch of Five Spice Powder

1 tspn Dijon mustard

1-3 tbsp redcurrant jelly, to taste


Image of plum sauce cooking

Put plums, red wine, brandy, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise in a pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Rub through a sieve or better still use a mouli. (I have an electric one, bought in Spain and made in Italy and it’s one of my favourite gadgets.)

Put back in the pan and add fruit juices, five spice powder, mustard and redcurrant jelly and reduce until sufficiently thick.

This sauce is also very good with roast duck.

Image of a bowl of sour plum sauce

4 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Plum Sauce

  1. Excellent indeed. A different cut and a different approach to my pulled pork and it looks excellent. I plan a duck and plum sauce very soon too. Great minds!

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