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Pork belly skewers closeup - from above.
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5 from 3 votes

grilled pork belly skewers - asian style

Lemongrass marinade and the kiss of fire make these pork belly skewers a real crowd pleaser.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Marination time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Thai, Vietnamese
Keyword: pork belly
Servings: 12 skewers
Calories: 237kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly - skin removed.
  • 3 green onions (aka scallions) cut into one inch pieces
  • 12 bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Marinade/dipping sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 stalks lemongrass - tender parts only, chopped
  • 1 2 inch cinnamon bark - cassia
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sriracha - sambal oelek is also nice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Instructions

Marinade

  • Combine the lemongrass, sugar, cinnamon bark and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Strain into a bowl and chill.
  • Add the fish sauce, soy, black pepper and sriracha and stir. Set aside while you prep your pork belly.

Prep your pork belly

  • Slice the pork belly lengthwise (think a piece of bacon) into somewhere between 1/4 and a 1/3 inch slices. You probably want to cut your pork belly in half (think cutting bacon in half) before you start to make this easier.
  • Now cut each slice into 1 inch pieces.
  • Combine the pork with the marinade and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. Longer is OK as well. There's no acid in the marinade so it's like a brine.

Make the dipping sauce

  • Remove the pork from the marinade. Set aside.
  • Pour the marinade into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 1 minute. You are sterilizing your marinade to make the dipping sauce. Do not skip this step. Just don't.
  • You will see some bits formed and are floating in the marinade. These are proteins that have cooked. Strain them out.
  • Stir in the rice vinegar.

Make the grilled pork skewers

  • This is a little tricky. Take your time. Thread a piece of pork onto a skewer. Now skewer a piece of green onion. Repeat with another piece of pork and another piece of green onion. Finish with a third piece of pork. Repeat this until all the pork is skewered. You should get 10-12 skewers.
  • Heat your grill to somewhere between medium and medium low. Give yourself a cool safety zone. You are effectively grilling unsmoked bacon here. It's going to flare up a lot.
  • Grill no more than 6 skewers at a time. This isn't the place to be a hero. You are going to burn your skewers badly if try to do them all at once. Trust me. I tried to be a hero. Epic fail.
  • It's too hard to get internal temperature on little bits of pork belly. So you need to trust your instincts a bit. It doesn't take long to cook through. Depending on your fire you could be looking at as little as 3-5 minutes. Could be longer but not crazy long. Be careful. Look at the pictures. Try one to see.
  • You don't want to overcook them. Pork belly is touchy. You need to cook it until just done. Cook it longer and it gets tough. Really tough. Like I wish I'd braised it tough. Not good.
  • As you pull the pork belly skewers off the grill give them a good dip in the sterilized marinade.
  • To serve you can go a few different directions. These skewers make great party food. Serve them with a little of the marinade as a dipping sauce. Maybe put them on a platter and drizzle the marinade overtop. Pass them around like that. Or serve them up as lettuce wraps. Skewers on lettuce with marinade drizzled overtop is good eating.

Notes

Sometimes you will get a pork belly that still has the skin attached. For this recipe you don't want the skin. It's quite easy to cut off with a sharp knife. Just follow the contours of the top of the belly and carve away the skin. It doesn't need to come off in one piece so don't worry too much about technique. 
Alternately, you can ask your butcher to do this for you.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg