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.
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 strips are fresh meat – uncured, not smoked, dried or salted.
Obviously an extremely fatty cut, pork belly slices 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 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.
Pork belly strips 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 (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 seasoned with just salt and pepper, so that’s how I usually season them!
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.