Take your taco making skills to the next level with these mouthwatering Pork Belly Tacos. The rich flavor of pork belly combines with fresh deep fried corn tortillas to make tacos that are deliciously different. The key lies in a terrific wet rub and a slow-cooking method that ensures perfectly cooked pork belly. Whether you're celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just enjoying taco night, these pork belly tacos offer a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. Add your favorite toppings and these tacos are sure to become a new favorite.
For the record, I live in Austin, TX and tacos are huge here. I eat a LOT of them. Pork belly tacos are great because they are so different than every other taco that I have ever had. It's like really deliciously seasoned thick-cut bacon that melts in your mouth. This makes sense because pork belly is what is used to make bacon.
A single pork belly goes a long way and can easily make 100 tacos. If you don't need that many, cut the pork belly in half and make homemade smoked bacon out of the other half. A link to that recipe is down below.
- Pork belly
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Annotto paste
- Mexican oregano
- Lime juice
- Yellow onion
- Jalapeño peppers
- Serrano peppers
- Ground cumin
- Black pepper
- Canola oil
- Fresh cilantro
- Warm tortillas
See recipe card for quantities.
Prepare the Pork Belly
A pork belly does not need to be trimmed of excess fat. In fact, the fat cap is essential to pork belly tacos. Just score the fat cap in a crosshatch pattern.
Score the fatty side of the pork belly with a sharp knife, about ¼" deep in a crosshatch pattern 1" apart.
Rub a tablespoon of kosher salt onto the fat and turn the pork belly over. Rub another tablespoon of kosher salt on the other side. Place the pork belly in a non-reactive pan (like glass), and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Important: Do NOT use aluminum foil.
The next day, preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for an hour. It doesn't need to be room temperature, it just needs to warm up a bit.
Mix the Annotto Paste
This step is where a lot of flavor comes from. Grind the garlic, annotto paste, oregano and lime juice in a molcajete or food processor. Add more lime juice as necessary to form a paste.
Place the pork belly in a large pan, preferably on a roasting rack.
Rub the paste onto both side of the pork belly.
Bake the Pork Belly
Position the pork belly fat side up in the roasting pan. Add the minced onion on top.
Add the peppers to the pan, partially on top of the pork belly. Sprinkle cumin over the pork belly.
Bake the Pork Belly
Cover with a piece of parchment paper and bake for four hours. Then, remove the pork belly from the oven, allow it to cool, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it overnight. This step is important to help to the pork belly set before slicing. Otherwise it will be dry.
The next day, slice ¼" strips from the pork belly.
Then, cut the strips of pork belly in half.
Fry the cut strips in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with vegetable oil until slightly crispy (about 10 minutes). Turn the pork belly slices over three times.
Place a corn tortilla in taco tongs.
Heat canola oil in a large pot to 350°. Cook thin yellow corn tortillas in the hot oil (using taco tongs) until done (about 30-45 seconds).
Load crisp pork belly pieces into the tacos shells and add your favorite toppings.
These tacos are limited only by your imagination. Try different salsas, add sliced olives and sliced serrano peppers. Maybe add some lettuce, red onions and Mexican Crema or sour cream. Of course, you might need a bigger taco shell.
Pork belly tacos are also great on warmed flour tortillas.
The pork belly was cooked on a rack inside a glass dish.
Store leftover pork belly in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Important: Do NOT use aluminum foil to cover the pork belly. The salt will eat right though the foil and will leave disgusting blotches of corroded aluminum goo all over your pork belly. I know this because I have made this mistake, more than once.
These Crispy Pork Belly Tacos pack a whole of flavor and texture into each bite. The combination of the tender pork belly and the variety of toppings creates truly wonderful tacos that are sure to please a lot of hungry people. Enjoy.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with this recipe.
Pork Belly Tacos
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 3 lbs pork belly
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3.5 oz annotto paste
- 2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 medium yellow onion minced
- 2 jalapeno peppers sliced
- 2 serrano peppers sliced (optional)
- 1 tbs cumin ground
- 2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 12 oz braising liquid water or your favorite braising liquid
- 2 cups Canola oil for frying
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Score the fatty side of the pork belly with a knife, about ¼" deep in a crosshatch pattern 1" apart.
- Rub 1 tbs kosher salt onto the fat and turn over. Rub 1 tbs of kosher salt on the other side. Place in a non-reactive pan (like glass), cover with plastic wrap (NOT FOIL) and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and allow to warm up a bit. Grind the garlic, annotto paste, oregano and lime juice in a molcajete or food processor. Add more lime juice as necessary to form a paste. Place the pork belly in a large pan, preferably on a roasting rack. Rub the paste onto both side of the pork belly.
- Position the pork belly fat side up. Add minced onion, peppers to the pan, partially on top of the pork belly. Sprinkle cumin and black pepper over the pork belly. Cover with a piece of parchment paper or cover the pan with aluminum foil. IMPORTANT: Do not let the foil come in contact with the pork belly. The salt will corrode the aluminum and make a mess on the pork belly. Cook for 4 hours. Allow to cool, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, slice ¼" strips from the pork belly and cut each strip in half.
- Pan fry the cut strips in a fry pan with olive oil until slightly crispy (about 10 minutes). Turn three times.
- Heat canola oil in a large pot to 350°. Cook thin yellow corn tortillas in the hot oil (using taco tongs) until done (about 30-45 seconds).
- Load crisp pork belly into the shells, sprinkle with cilantro and add your favorite toppings. Enjoy!