Crispy, fatty, very flavorful pork belly strips are perfect as a first course, or try them for breakfast instead of bacon.
The first time I bought pork belly slices, I wasn’t sure how to cook them. As it turns out, the easiest method is to bake pork belly strips in the oven. Much like bacon in the oven, but you cook them for longer because they are thicker.
What are pork belly strips?
Pork belly strips (I get mine at Costco) are a delicacy. They are like very thick-cut bacon and come from the same cut of pork (belly, obviously). But pork belly slices are fresh meat – uncured, not smoked, dried or salted.
How long do you cook pork belly slices?
Since they are thicker than bacon, I find that you need to cook them in a 400°F oven for about 50 minutes. In comparison, I cook bacon in the oven for a total of 15-20 minutes. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions.
How to serve pork belly slices
Obviously an extremely fatty cut, pork belly strips are suitable (and usually served at restaurants) as a first course. Although I sometimes serve them as our main course for dinner, alongside a small green salad.
If serving as a first course, one thick strip per person, cut into bite-size pieces, is perfect. For a main course, I find that three strips are plenty. Sometimes I serve them for brunch, with soft scrambled eggs.
How to season pork belly strips
They are delicious on their own, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. I like to use smoked paprika, which adds a delightful smoky flavor.
You can also brush them with a mixture of soy sauce or a gluten-free alternative (2 tablespoons), honey (1 tablespoon) and garlic powder (1 teaspoon) prior to baking, for an Asian style dish.
But I rarely bother. Want to know a secret? These baked pork belly strips are fabulous when seasoned with just salt and pepper, so that’s how I usually season them!
Are they healthy?
They are probably healthier than bacon because they are fresh and not cured or salted. It’s true that they are very fatty, but current research says that for most healthy people, saturated fats are quite harmless.
However, just like bacon, I would say that pork belly strips should not be a staple of your diet but rather an occasional indulgence.
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftover pork belly slices in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
Oven Baked Pork Belly Strips
- 12 thick pork belly strips (1/2-inch thick, 4oz each raw weight)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the pork belly strips in the pan. Sprinkle them with the seasonings.
- Roast until browned and crispy, 30 minutes on the first side, and 20-30 more minutes on the second side. Drain the pan midway through baking, saving the rendered fat in a jar if you wish.