A classic sweet and savory Filipino barbecue with pork belly typically grilled over charcoal, but can also be conveniently prepared in the oven.
The marinade includes soy sauce, lemon or calamansi juice, sugar, and garlic. A sawsawan or a dipping sauce is almost mandatory.
You may also like Filipino Barbecue Pork Skewers, another favorite among Filipinos.
Ingredients you’ll need
Notes and substitutions
- Pork belly strips: You want a good fat-to-meat ratio, with or without the skin. If you can, buy them boneless and ideally no thicker than ½ inch.
- Lemon juice: You can also use calamansi (or kalamansi); This citrus fruit is quite sour, like a cross between a lime and sour orange.
- Banana ketchup: This condiment or cooking ingredient is primarily made of bananas. It is sweeter and less tangy than tomato ketchup, which you can use instead. Besides imparting a reddish color, the acidity helps tenderize the meat.
How to make this recipe
(1)Combine ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ¼ cup calamansi or lemon juice, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup ketchup, 6 minced/grated garlic cloves, and ground pepper (to taste).
PRO TIP: A well-blended marinade allows the meat to absorb more flavor.
(2)Marinate 2 pounds of pork belly slices and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
(3)Preheat the oven to 425° F (218° C). Line a baking sheet with double layers of aluminum foil to make cleanup easier. Arrange pork belly slices in a single layer and bake them for 20 minutes.
(4)Over medium heat, cook leftover marinade for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened to prevent cross-contamination.
(5)Remove the meat from the oven and brush it with basting sauce on both sides. Return it to the oven for another 20 minutes.
PRO TIP: Adjust baking time based on the thickness of the meat. The thinner the slices, the faster they cook.
(6)To caramelize the outside, broil on low for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
To make sawsawan or dipping sauce, combine vinegar, shallot, chilies, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. I also use this sauce for other dishes, like Okoy or Ukoy (Shrimp and Vegetable Fritters) and Filipino Beef Tapa (Tapsilog).
Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly) goes best with white rice or Java Rice, a side of Achara (Pickled Green Papaya) or Ensaladang Talong (Filipino Eggplant Salad), and a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.
Frequently asked questions
Filipino barbecue is commonly known as "inihaw" which means grilled. Usually done over charcoal, the meat (including offal), seafood, or vegetables are grilled whole or skewered. Inihaw is often served with a "sawsawan," a dipping sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi, and chilies.
It is recommended to cook pork to an internal temperature of 145º F (63º C). This recipe, however, doesn't require a thermometer because the slices are thin and cook quickly. It is generally considered cooked when the pork is no longer pink.
Traditionally, Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly) is prepared on an outdoor grill. When that isn't possible, other methods can be used. You can use a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on the stove. You may also use an air fryer, turbo broiler, or toaster oven. Temperatures and cooking times will vary.
Other pork recipes you may like
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Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly)
- Convection oven, grill, or air fryer
- Baking Sheet
- 2 pounds pork belly slices ½"-thick
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce regular or light
- ¼ cup lemon or calamansi juice
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar sub: any sugar
- ¼ cup banana or tomato ketchup
- 6 cloves garlic minced or grated
- Black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup distilled white or cane vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot sub:red onion
- Bird's eye chilies to taste; chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, and ground pepper (to taste).
- Marinate pork belly slices and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). Line a baking sheet with double layers of aluminum foil to make cleanup easier.
- Arrange pork belly slices in a single layer and bake them for 20 minutes.
- Over medium heat, cook leftover marinade for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened to prevent cross-contamination.
- Remove the meat from the oven and brush it with basting sauce on both sides. Return it to the oven for another 20 minutes. Adjust baking time based on the thickness of the meat. The thinner the slices, the faster they cook.
- To caramelize the outside, broil on low for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
- To make sawsawan or dipping sauce, combine the vinegar, shallot, chilies, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.
Love this recipe! I marinated it longer than instructed. It turned out great! I ate a lot of rice!!!!! :-////////
Hello Christina! I am happy to hear that! And yes to rice! Rice is life! LOL