Hickory Wood Chip Smoked Pork Belly: Recipe

RECIPES | This hickory wood chip smoked pork belly recipe is one of Lauren and mine’s superstar dishes. It’s amazing that it took so long for pork belly to hit the mainstream, given that it’s what bacon comes from and tastes absolutely amazing. What started as a failed experiment for making bacon in our Weber Kettle barbecue has ended up becoming one of the most popular things that Lauren and I cook amongst our friends. Whenever we have people over for a party, this has become the must serve item. It’s smoky, tender and utterly irresistible.

The Jack Daniels isn’t strictly necessary, but we’ve tried this both with and without the whiskey and the extra flavour that it provides really takes things to the next level. Serve this to people and you will become their new best friend.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes          /          Waiting Time: 3 days          /          Cooking Time: 4 hours          /          Serves 10


The Pork Belly & Brine
  • 3kg pork belly
  • 2 tbsp (30g) white sugar
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 litre water
The Rub
  • 2 tbsp (30g) sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp (4g) mild chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp (4g) allspice
  • 1 tsp (15g) black peppercorns, ground
  • 1/4 (4g) tsp rock salt, ground
  • 1 tsp (4g) cumin seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp  (7.5g) mustard powder
  • 1 tsp (15g) oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp (15g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (7.5g) thyme, dried
The Wood Chips
  • 150g hickory wood chips
  • 1 cup (250ml) Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 1 cup (250ml) water


The Pork & Brine
  1. Boil 1 litre of water to make sure it’s completely sterile.
  2. Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
  3. Mix together the sugar and salt and rub it evenly all over the pork.
  4. Put the pork into a container and submerge it in the water. The container shouldn’t be too big – when you put the lid on it should be completely submerged in the water.
  5. Place the container in the fridge and leave for 3 days.
The Rub
  1. Combine all of the rub ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind it until you have a finely ground mix.
The Wood Chips
  1. Put the wood chips into a small bowl and add the Jack Daniels and water.
  2. Ensure that all of the wood chips are covered and let it soak for half an hour.
To Cook
  1. Prepare and heat up your charcoal for the barbecue.
  2. Take the pork belly out of the fridge and drain the water.
  3. Place the pork belly onto a a drying rack a let it get to room temperature, while at the same time allowing any excess moisture to drip off.
  4. Once the pork belly has reached room temperature, rub it dry with paper towels. This step is important as you want as little moisture left as possible which will let the outside get nice and crispy when it cooks.
  5. Massage the rub evenly into the pork belly until it’s evenly and completely coated.
  6. Put the hot charcoals into your kettle barbecue. You want to cook this indirectly so make sure that half of the charcoal is on either side of the barbecue, not in the middle.
  7. Also make sure that all of the vents are open.
  8. Place the pork belly into the centre of the barbecue grille, skin side down for 20 minutes.
  9. Flip the pork belly over and add 1/3 of the wood chips to the charcoal.
  10. Wait for 2 hours, and add another 1/3 of the wood chips to the charcoal.
  11. Wait another hour and add the last 1/3 of the wood chips to the charcoal.
  12. After a further 40 minutes (4 hours in total) take the pork belly out of the barbecue and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  13. Carve and serve.


You can use any whiskey that you want, it doesn’t need to be Jack Daniels but we have found that Jack Daniels seems to give the best taste.

If you want you don’t actually have to use any whiskey. You’ll still get a nice smoky flavour with wood chips soaked in water only.

This pork belly works really well in a roll with my wife’s Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw.



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