These pork belly tacos are made with slow-roasted spiced pork belly that’s cubed and fried until crispy. Not your average Taco Tuesday.
Baconnnnnn. In 20-plus years in the restaurant industry, you come across so many different ways to make pork belly, from sous viding to roasting to slicing and baking. My favorite way is actually roasting, which traps the flavor. The pork belly is crisp on the outside with juicy, moist, tender meat on the inside…pure yum!–Robyn Almodovar
Pork Belly Tacos
- 1 1/2 pounds pork belly skin removed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Store-bought or homemade tortillas to serve
- Chopped fresh cilantro to serve (optional)
- Shredded cabbage salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado, and lime wedges, to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (90°C).
- Lightly score the pork belly by making gentle slices using the tip of your knife at a diagonal across the top of the belly.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, and cumin. Rub the mixture evenly on the top and bottom of the belly. Wrap the belly in foil twice.
- Place the wrapped belly in a roasting pan and cook for 6 hours. The pork should be fork tender at this point, but if it’s not, pop it back in the oven and cook for 30 to 60 minutes more.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it cool in its wrappings for 2 hours. Place, still wrapped, in the refrigerator and chill for 6 to 10 hours. It is best to let it chill overnight.
- Remove the pork from the fridge, unwrap it, and let it rest for 20 minutes. Gently pat dry, then cut it into 1-inch (2.5-cm) strips, then into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes.
- In a medium to large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Wait 6 minutes to make sure the oil is hot, then sauté the cubed pork in batches until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed for each subsequent batch. You can reduce the temperature to avoid burning, if needed. Remove from the oil and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Nestle into tortillas and sprinkle with cilantro, if using. Top with your favorite taco fixins and devour.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I was quite pleased with how this turned out and how much everyone enjoyed it. It was crisp and crunchy on the outside and tender inside. It was surprisingly easy to make with only a few steps to turn out something really fantastic. I served it with scrambled eggs.
We enjoyed the finished bacon but I’d also like to try other spice combinations. When I opened the foil from roasting the aroma wasn’t something I thought I couldn’t wait to taste. The flavor I think was enhanced by the frying. I would try this again but with maybe different spices to see if we enjoyed that as well.
This recipe makes for one delicious taco. Sinful, but delicious. This is not something that I can in good conscience cook every week, or every month. I am actually trying to figure out how often I should make this for us, but considering how delicious it is, I will definitely be making it again.
Mind you, it is greasy. This is pork belly after all. But, after chilling overnight in the double layer of foil, the pork belly is encased in the thick orange fat, which you can chip off and throw away. I cooked my 1-inch cubes in a cast-iron frying pan, and they crisped up beautifully. The shatteringly crisp cubes were fabulous to bite into in the corn tortillas that I had browned in another cast-iron pan. I served the pork belly with a selection of salsas, hot sauce, and sour cream to tame the heat. How delicious does that sound? Actually, at this moment, I am wondering if I can get away with making this every month.
They’re right…everything’s better with bacon. This recipe is kind of time consuming as some recipes go. Granted a lot of that is waiting or cooking time. It is easy to make the rub and a long slow cook is always a good thing. It was so tender that I’m glad I let it rest overnight (and a bit) in the fridge.
It was a little crumbly as I sliced it but it cut nicely. As it seemed to be a little fatty I didn’t add any additional oil to the pan. Instead, I heated a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for 5 or 6 minutes. That was a good decision as I was left with a good 1/2 cup of rendered fat after frying. The frying time seems about right over a medium heat.
The verdict? I would do this one again when I have the time. We liked the taste, crispy exterior and the tender flavourful meat inside. We got 4 generous servings. We served this with tortillas, sliced avocado, shredded cabbage, some sour cream and lime slices.
This recipe was “pure yum”. I’m biased towards sous vide pork belly preparations but I’ll take any excuse to cook this delicacy. After reading the recipe, I had these visions of the finished spiced but crispy crackling-like morsels. Had to try this!
My pork belly pieces were already cut and frozen into 1 1/2-inch inch strips otherwise I followed the recipe as indicated. I used smoked hot paprika. I chilled the roasted meat package overnight. The amounts of spices and olive oil for frying were adequate. Although I questioned the need for the wrapping as a package, I liked that it assisted with maintaining the rectangular shape. The recipe should have recommended bringing the package to room temperature for about 20 minutes followed by patting the meat dry before frying. I did that just because I was aware that the jellied bits on the meat would have created a dangerous splatter with frying, and would prevent the meat from becoming crisp. Although the final product had a great texture and flavour, this recipe did not render off as much fat as I would have liked. However, the flavor did not feel fatty.
I served these tasty morsels three ways as appetizers. One combination was garlic pesto mini tortillas topped with tomatillo salsa. Some pieces were served on toasted sweet potato rounds drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. The third preparation was a pairing with tomato chow-chow (a Canadian tomato and fruit relish).
Originally published January 19, 2021