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Spicy Asian-style Barbecued Pork Belly

In my Saturday morning cooking classes which run about six hours in my backyard in Diamond Bar, California, my students learn how to cook over 20 items from scratch. When I taught this class in Sydney, my host Rohan Dimmock challenged me to set a world record for the number of items cooked, from scratch, in a six-hour class. Not wanting to back down, I said yes so, we went on a crazy journey to drive all over Sydney sourcing ingredients for a 35-item cook. One of those 35 items was a pork dish that was extremely popular with my Australian students.

It was super easy as all I did was mix some pre-made curry paste with brown sugar and my rub. After liberally coating some pork with it, we smoked it until it was done, and the students attacked it like piranhas. I’ve since wowed my SoCal students with a similar version using store-bought Thai sour curry paste. It’s readily available in Asian grocery stores and is called Tom Yum paste as it’s used to make a spicy and sour Thai soup. The paste has shallots, garlic, Galanga (an Asian ginger), lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaf, Thai chilies, palm sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp for umami, and other ingredients. You can make you own Tom Yum paste from the many recipes on the Internet but it’s much easier, as just as good, to use it out of a store-bought jar. The paste is very handy as it keeps for many months in the fridge and is a no-hassle way to get some wonderful spicy Asian flavors in your dishes. Try this super simple recipe and wow your guests.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x


Units Scale
  • One 3 lb pork belly – skin removed (make some crosshatch slits into the meat side)
  • 2 tablespoons SYD All Purpose rub
  • 1/4 cup of Asian curry paste (I used Thai Tom Yum paste from Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil


  1. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of curry paste with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cooking oil.
  2. Rub paste on to pork belly.

  3. Apply a medium coat of SYD All Purpose Rub.
  4. If you have time, let rest in fridge for an hour. If not, don’t worry as it still tastes great if you cook right away.
  5. Smoke in 275F indirect smoker until internal temperature is 160. For a crispier finish, broil in oven to blister the crust
  6. Rest, slice, and serve with some steamed rice or pasta
  • Author: Harry Soo
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Asian Fusion