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Inihaw Na Liempo

Oven-Grilled Filipino-Style Pork Belly Slices


2.5 to 3 lbs pork belly (1-inch thick strips)

1/4 cup banana ketchup
1/2 cup sprite
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp oyster sauce
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion

For Grilling:
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Vinegar Chili Garlic Sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

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In a non-reactive bowl, add in 1/4 cup banana ketchup, 1/2 cup of sprite, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper, 6 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped. Mix these well to combine.

Add in 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. of pork belly strips. Ideally, the strips should be about 1 inch thick with all strips approximately the same thickness, so they get cooked at the same rate. Ensure that your pork belly strips Make sure they are well covered in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in the fridge for 8 hours to overnight.

When you're ready to grill the pork, preheat your oven to 285 F (140 C). Take a large sheet pan, and place 2 large rectangles of aluminum foil on it. Take the strips of pork out of the marinade and place them side-by-side touching each other in the middle of the aluminum foil **with the skin-side up**. Fold the edges of the foil up so that the foil forms a wall against the sides of the pork. The sides of the pork (the meat part) should be tightly covered with foil, but the top of the pork (the skin part) should be exposed.

Once you have your rectangle of foil-enclosed pork with the top exposed, pat the skin (exposed top surface) dry with paper towels as much as possible to remove excess moisture. Then brush the skin-side of the strips with 1 tsp of sesame oil, and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of kosher salt on the skin. 1/2 tsp of kosher salt is enough for all the strips of pork - using more will make the pork too salty. We need just enough to promote crackling.

Put this in your oven, and cook the pork belly for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the pork belly pieces reach a minimum internal temperature of 200 F (95 C). Take the pork out of the oven.

NOTE: Cooking the pork belly to an internal temperature of 200 F (95 C) at a low oven temperature will render the excess fat off the meat and result in very soft and tender pieces.

Turn the oven temperature up to 450 F (230 C). Cover a new roasting dish with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup), put a metal rack over the aluminum foil-covered roasting dish, and place the strips of pork belly on the metal rack with the skin-side up.

During this high-heat grilling step, the skin needs to be as level and horizontal as possible while in the oven. If you notice unevenness in your strips of pork, use folded-up pieces of aluminum foil to prop up the shorter ends, so that the top of the strips are level and horizontal. The pieces of aluminum foil should also support the strips so that they are stable, do not topple over, and remain skin-side up during high-heat crisping step.

Place the roasting dish into the oven at 450 F (230 C) and cook at this high temperature for 5 to 15 minutes, or until the skin crisps up. Rest for a minimum of 15 minutes before slicing.

NOTE: we recommend checking on the pork often during this final crisping step, as the sugars from the marinade will caramelize quickly and can burn if left in the oven for too long. If your strips are of different sizes and thickness, remove individual strips from the oven as they get done, and continue to cook the remaining strips until the skin blisters and crisps up.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic (sliced), 1/8 tsp red chili flakes, 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Mix to combine. Serve as a dip with the pork belly. Enjoy!


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