Pork belly brined in ginger syrup

We always have a jar of stem ginger in the fridge. It is a good substitute for fresh ginger but a lot sweeter. That’s because of the syrup they keep it in. You can buy this syrup separately, and it tastes great over ice or in your tea.

We’ve known for years that pork and sweet go well together, so we brined a nice piece of pork belly in ginger syrup. When we smoked it afterwards with a spicy dry rub, we were left with a great piece of meat with an Asian twist.

If you buy a piece of pork belly, you should pay close attention to the ratio of meat and fat. Fat is good, but you can overdo it. We like to have a ratio of 65 to 70% meat against 35 to 30% fat.

The brine is very simple. You just throw together a quarter bottle of ginger syrup and 2 tbsp salt. The salt in the brine will soak into the meat while the ginger syrup leaves a flavorful coating of sugar on the meat.

Before the pork belly goes into the brine, we cut deep into the bacon layer and a piece of the meat. This allows the brine to penetrate deep into the meat, and the bacon will become soft sooner during smoking.

After brining, we sprinkle the meat with a spicy dry rub that also contains ginger. There is also turmeric in the mix. You don’t add turmeric for taste. It has a slightly bitter taste in itself but works better as a colourant. It gives the meat a nice yellow colour. Be careful with your clothes and the kitchen cabinets. Turmeric turns everything yellow for a long time.

This pork belly is wonderfully tender after 4 hours on the barbecue. The meat is deliciously sweet with a bit of heat. If you are going to make this pork belly, let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.


  • Pork belly
  • 50 ml ginger syrup
  • 2 tbsp salt

For the dry rub

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 50 ml ginger syrup
  • 2 tbsp coarse mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • A little salt


  1. Mix the ginger syrup and the salt.
  2. Cut in the fat from the pork belly as if you want to cut it into cubes, but not so far that you actually get cubes.
  3. Place the pork belly in a ziplock bag and pour in the ginger syrup. Leave this for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  4. Rinse the salt from the pork belly and pat it dry with kitchen paper.
  5. Mix the ingredients for the dry rub and spread an even layer over all sides of the meat.
  6. Prepare a barbecue with an indirect temperature of about 160ºC (320F). Place the meat on the cool side with the fat side up and close the lid.
  7. Meanwhile, make the sauce by finely chopping the onion and garlic. Put the olive oil in a pan and gently heat the oil with garlic and onion.
  8. When the onion has become a bit translucent, the rest of the ingredients can be added. Let it boil briefly, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  9. Cook the pork belly to a core temperature of 80ºC (176F). Spread the sauce over the pork belly and let it caramelize. Then you can remove the meat from the grill.

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