To make this Korean BBQ-style pork belly, you'll need to gather some specialty ingredients like gochujang (Korean red chili paste), gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes), and mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine).
Pork belly is key - look for it at Asian markets or have your butcher slice it. Onion, garlic, ginger, and green onions round out the flavors. Make sure to get toasted sesame oil and seeds too for garnish.
Prep the Pork Belly for the Best Results
To get ultra-thin slices of pork belly for this recipe, it's best to chill or even freeze it for easier slicing. Then slice the pork belly as thin as you can - about 1/8-inch thick. This lets the flavors penetrate and allows it to cook up crispy. Transfer the sliced pork to a large bowl.
Make the Gochujang Marinade
In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well until it forms a smooth, spicy Korean marinade.
Grate in 1 clove of garlic and mince some ginger - about 1 teaspoon each. Add to the marinade and mix again.
Marinate the Pork Belly
Pour the gochujang marinade over the pork belly slices and mix well with your hands, massaging it into the meat until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. The longer it marinates, the more flavorful it will be!
Prep the Aromatics
While the pork marinates, prep the other ingredients. Thinly slice an onion into strips. Chop up the green onions into 2-inch pieces. Mince the remaining garlic cloves.
Cook the Pork Belly
In a large skillet or pan, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over high heat. Working in batches, add the marinated pork belly slices in a single layer and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to get crispy and charred at the edges.
If using pork belly, cook a bit longer, 6-7 minutes per batch. Then transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.
Stir-Fry the Aromatics
Add the sliced onions and green onions to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Put It All Together
Return the cooked pork belly slices to the pan and toss everything together for 1-2 minutes more.
Finish and Serve
Transfer the stir-fried gochujang pork belly to a platter. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve right away with steamed rice. Enjoy!
Tips for Making Gochujang Pork Belly
- Look for gochujang and gochugaru at Asian grocery stores or online. They are unique Korean ingredients that can't really be subbed.
- Let the pork marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight for maximum flavor.
- Chilling or partially freezing the pork belly makes it easier to slice thinly. A sharp knife helps too.
- Cook the pork belly in batches to avoid crowding the pan and steaming instead of searing.
- Add the onions toward the end to keep them crispy-tender.
- Serve over rice with kimchi and other Korean banchan for a complete meal.
Serving Suggestions for Gochujang Pork Belly
This spicy pork is delicious on its own, but there are lots of tasty ways to serve it:
- Stuff into lettuce leaf wraps with rice and ssamjang sauce.
- Add to ramen bowls along with soft-boiled egg and veggies.
- Mix with purple rice for color and nutrition.
- Top a bowl of rice with pork, kimchi, and a fried egg.
- Wrap in seaweed sheets with rice and veggies for kimbap rolls.
- Mix into fried rice or bibimbap along with sauteed veggies.
- Add to tteokbokki rice cakes for extra protein.
- Stuff into steamed bao buns for Korean pork sliders.
The possibilities are endless with this versatile gochujang pork!
Make It Milder or Spicier
The amount of gochujang and gochugaru give this pork a moderately spicy kick. To tone it down, use less of each. For extra heat, add more!
You can also use less or omit the red pepper flakes entirely if your tastebuds can't handle the fire.
Try Other Proteins
While pork belly is classic, you can use this same gochujang marinade with other thinly sliced meats:
- Chicken breast or thighs
- Beef flank, skirt, or bulgogi meat
- Firm tofu
Slice them thinly and marinate just like the pork belly. Adjust cooking times as needed.
Make It Gluten-Free
This Korean pork belly stir-fry is naturally gluten-free. To keep it that way:
- Use tamari instead of soy sauce
- Check gochujang for gluten-free brands
- Use gluten-free beer instead of mirin
- Serve over rice or lentils instead of wheat noodles
With a few easy swaps, anyone can enjoy this flavorful gochujang pork!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use another cut of pork besides the belly?
A pork belly is ideal since it has layers of fat and meat that get tender and crispy. But pork shoulder or boston butt would also work. Just slice it thinly.
What if I can't find gochujang or gochugaru?
These Korean chile pastes are signature flavors and not very interchangeable. You could try sambal oelek or sriracha for some heat, but it won't be quite authentic.
Can I marinate it longer than overnight?
Yes, you can safely marinate the pork for up to 2 days in the fridge. The flavor will continue to deepen over time.
Do I have to use a cast iron skillet?
No, any large nonstick or stainless steel skillet will work fine. Just don't use anything with a plastic handle.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Absolutely! This pork keeps well for 2-3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge before reheating gently on the stove or in the microwave.
With flavorful gochujang pork belly on hand, you'll always be ready for an impromptu Korean BBQ night! Enjoy this versatile stir-fry recipe on its own or in lettuce wraps, buns, bowls, and more.
Gochujang Pork Belly Recipe
- Slice pork belly into thin strips and place in a bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Mix well.
- Pour marinade over pork belly and mix well to coat. Let marinate 30 min to overnight.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Working in batches, cook pork belly until crispy, 3-4 min per batch.
- Return all pork to pan. Add onion and green onion and cook 1 minute more.
- Transfer to a platter, garnish with sesame seeds and serve.