Pork belly ramen just might be our peak achievement in comfort food. The broth is steeped with aromatics, and the springy noodles bring bite and contrast to the slow-smoked meat. A soft boiled egg is the ultimate level-up for what’s already a decadent, belly-warming dish.
Pork Belly Ramen
There are dozens of ways to cook pork belly—you could even opt to pick some up already prepared from your local grocery store or meat market—but we love how homemade BBQ pork belly swims with a bowl of ramen. Its rich, sweet-and-savory profile is the perfect contrast to the delicate, ginger-infused broth, and we love how the edges of a crispy pork belly crackle when sliced.
The broth is key to any good pork belly ramen recipe, but here, the meat makes a big, rich showing. And once the meat and the broth are ready to go, this entire meal is ready to serve in just minutes. Our family loves when we save leftover pork belly and broth to serve over fresh noodles and with fresh eggs the next day for lunch, or for a ramen-for-dinner round two.
How to BBQ pork belly for ramen
Pork belly isn’t just for bacon anymore. We’re seeing It more and more on the menus of our favorite BBQ joints, and many of us are cooking it at home, too—think burnt ends (a.k.a. meat candy). The meat-to-fat ratio is ideal for juicy smoked meat as well as crisping, making this cut the perfect choice for ramen.
Now that pork belly is going mainstream, it’s easier to find. Club stores sell it by the slab. Your local grocery store might have it, too.
If all else fails, check your local Asian market or grocery store. One pound of pork belly is plenty to top ramen bowls for four.
If you can find pork belly with the skin and rind removed, use that. If not, the skin and rind can be removed with a sharp knife.
Preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees F. If using a charcoal grill, set up the coals for indirect-heat cooking (stack the coals on one side of the bottom of the grill, or divide the coals and stack on either side). If using a gas grill, light just half the burners.
Once the skin and rind are removed, season the pork belly liberally and on all sides with Head Country Original Championship Seasoning. If you’d like a bit of kick, wait 15 minutes and then season with a light dusting of Head Country Championship Seasoning in High Plains Heat.
Add seasoned pork belly to the preheated smoker or grill, placing meat anywhere on the grill that isn’t directly over your heat source.
Cook the pork belly to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F, spritzing with apple juice every 45 minutes to add moisture and to help form a bark. The rule of thumb for timing smoked meats is this: allow for 90 minutes for every pound of meat, and always cook to temp, not to time.
Add the pork belly to an aluminum pan. Add liquid—chicken broth, apple juice, or a few ounces of real-sugar dark soda all work. Cook pork belly until the temperature reaches 205 degrees F.
Remove pork belly from the foil pan and place back in the smoker or on the grill, away from your heat source. Brush pork belly with your favorite flavor of Head Country BBQ sauce (we like Sweet & Sticky for pork belly). Allow sauce to set over indirect heat, 5-7 minutes, making sure to not let the sugars in the sauce burn.
Remove the pork belly to a cutting board to rest while you finish the broth for the ramen. The broth can simmer during the last 45 minutes of the smoke time for your pork belly to save time on preparation.
Here’s our recipe post for how to BBQ pork belly for ramen.
Our pork belly ramen recipe
5 C. chicken stock
8 oz. dried mushrooms (shiitake works great)
2 c. hot water
3 Tbsp. canola oil
Yellow onion, diced
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
1/3 c. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. white miso paste
1 lb. BBQ Pork Belly
8 oz. cooked ramen noodles, drained (follow package instructions, reserving the seasoning packet)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 large eggs
Bunch of green onions, greens thinly sliced, whites saved for another meal
Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic cloves and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, soaking water, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, white miso paste, and chicken stock. Season with salt, if needed.
Bring mixture to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Put a small saucepan three-quarters full of water over medium-high heat. Add eggs. Bring the water to a boil.
Allow the boil to continue for 1 minute, then remove the saucepan from heat and keep covered for 6 minutes. Remove eggs from water and allow to cool enough to be easily handled. Peel and half.
Divide noodles evenly between four bowls. Ladle broth over noodles. Top with sliced BBQ pork belly, green onions, and eggs. Serve, and enjoy!