Smoked Soy-Honey Pork Belly: An Easy Crowd Pleaser

Smoked pork belly is one of the best foods of all time. You may think I’m exaggerating… but seriously. It’s tender. It’s juicy. It’s tasty. And can be used in SO many recipes. Whether you want to make some pork belly tacos, put it in your ramen, or just eat it by the slice, there is NO wrong way to eat pork belly! You can even make burnt ends out of it…

Pork belly is one of the easier smoked cuts of meat to make. Unlike brisket, it is cheaper, there is rarely an incorrect spice blend, and it doesn’t take nearly as long to cook. Plus it’s literally pre-bacon!

This soy-honey version I made was packed with flavor… you will love it!

Ingredients List

  • Pork belly
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Crushed red chili
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
smoked pork belly ingredients
Image by Hope Davis.

How to Make Smoked Soy-Honey Pork Belly

Marinate Overnight

pork belly marinating
Image by Hope Davis.

The first trick to a tasty pork belly is to marinate it. This helps with the tenderization process and makes it easier to remove the skin.

The night before your planned smoke, place it in a large Ziploc bag. Add the soy sauce, honey, garlic, apple cider vinegar, crushed red chili, salt, and pepper. Put it in the fridge skin side up, and leave overnight.

Remove the Skin

removing the skin from pork belly
Image by Hope Davis.

The next morning, get up bright and early and remove the pork belly from the fridge. Place it on the cutting board and use a sharp knife to remove the skin, but leave the fat cap behind.

The easiest way to remove the skin is by pulling it away from the meat as you slowly move a knife underneath it. Once the skin is gone, use the same knife to score the fat cap; a cross-hatch pattern works best.

Marinate Again

pork belly marinating again
Image by Hope Davis.

After the skin is removed, place the pork belly back in the zip lock bag, and put it back in the fridge skin side down for at least 4 hours, but can be longer if you have time!

Preheat the Smoker

pitboss navigator 550
Pitboss Navigator 550 on our balcony.

Smoking pork belly isn’t quick, so about 5-7 hours before you want dinner, it’s time to preheat the smoker. For this recipe, I used my Pitboss Navigator 550.

Preheat the smoker to 250°F.

Place the Pork Belly on the Smoker

pork belly on the smoker with other snacks
Image by Hope Davis.

Place the pork belly on the center lower rack of the smoker, skin side up, and set a timer for 2 hours.

Check on the Pork Belly

pork belly smoking
Image by Hope Davis. (As you can see, we cooked other things to eat in the meantime–we were hungry!)

After 2 hours, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your pork belly. From here on out, plan to check every half hour, or use a built-in probe to ensure your pork belly is progressing.

Fighting the Plateau

pork belly plateauing
Image by Hope Davis.

At some point, your pork belly will stall, meaning it won’t get any warmer between checks, or if it does, it will just be by a degree or two. With pork, I’ve found this happens at about 150°F.

When your pork belly has plateaued, turn up the heat on your smoker to 300°F.

Continue to Check Back

smoked pork belly on a plate
Image by Hope Davis.

After the stall, check in every half hour until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F. For more tender pork belly, you’ll want to wait longer. For mine, I waited until it was 170°F, which took about 5 hours.

Rest and Serve

smoked pork belly sliced
Image by Hope Davis.

Rest your pork belly for 10-15 minutes before you attempt to slice it. It should be fall-off-the-knife tender. If it’s not, try cutting in the other direction. Serve with a small amount of our favorite BBQ sauce for dipping!

Options For Variations

  • Use a Different Marinade: This is just my favorite marinade, but if you don’t like sweet and spicy, you can use something else! Just make sure it contains apple cider vinegar, as this is what helps break down the connective tissue.
  • Spritz your pork belly: This recipe is so moist, I didn’t feel the need to spritz the pork belly as it cooked. But if you want to, you can spray the pork belly with apple juice every hour.
  • Remove the skin early: You can ask the butcher to remove the skin before you take your pork belly home. If you do this, simply flip the pork belly during the second step.

What Do I Do With The Leftovers?

Leftover smoked honey-soy pork belly is one of the best parts of cooking it! For whatever reason, this meat saves super well, especially when you wrap the leftovers in aluminum foil once they are cool.

I don’t recommend reheating pork belly as a big cut of meat, but it can be eaten cold on a sandwich, diced and placed on nachos, or chopped up and put on a BBQ pizza—whatever your heart desires!

Similar Recipes:

smoked pork belly

Smoked Soy-Honey Pork Belly

Upgrade your pork belly game with this sweet and savory variation!
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 6


  • 1 pork belly (we used half a cut in our example)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Chop the garlic cloves, then place in a ziploc bag with all of the other ingredients.
  • Add the pork belly, close the bag, and press to spread the marinade over all surfaces of the pork belly. Place in the fridge.
  • After 12-18 hours, remove the pork belly from the bag, cut off the skin, and return to the bag for an additional 4-6 hours.
  • Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
  • Place the pork belly on the smoker and set a timer for 2 hours.
  • Check the pork belly with a meat thermometer. You are looking for 165°F or above. Check back every hour.
  • Once/If the meat plateaus, crank up the smoker to 300°F.
  • After reaching at least 165°F (we recommend 170°F) remove the pork belly from the grill and rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Slice the pork belly with the grain and serve!
Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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