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Barbecued pork belly with herb & peppercorn stuffing

Melissa Thompson

A rolled pork belly stuffed with herbs and spices and slowly cooked over the coals

Recipe Meta


20 mins (plus resting)


4 hours






For the pork

  • 4kg piece of pork belly, loin attached (ask your butcher for one in advance), without bones
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of thyme, thick stalks removed, leaves finely chopped
  • 25 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 sticks of rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons (keep the lemons for juice later)
  • 1½ tbsp Sicilian lemon salt
  • 2 tbsp pink peppercorns, finely crushed

For the sauce

  • ½ shallot, finely diced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Juice of the 2 zested lemons
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt


For the pork, mix the chopped herbs with the shallot, lemon zest and pink peppercorns. Cut five pieces of butcher’s string to the length of the pork belly and lay out on a board.

Using the tip of a really sharp knife, poke the skin all over, piercing the skin and but not going so deep that the blade goes into the flesh. (Alternatively, you could ask the butcher to score the skin for you.)

Lay the pork belly on top of the strings, skin-side down. Sprinkle the pork with the Sicilian lemon salt, then spread the herb mix on top, leaving a 3cm gap around the edges. Roll the pork belly up from the loin end, tucking the loin in tight then rolling it into the rest of the pork belly. Tie the middle string first to hold everything in place (it’s worth looking at videos on how to tie a butcher’s knot for this as that will help get the knots tied really tight). Tie up the end knots, then the remaining ones. Scoop up any herb mix that’s fallen out and push it back into the gaps.

Sprinkle salt onto the skin of the pork belly. Leave the pork in the fridge, uncovered, for a minimum of 3 hours or ideally overnight.

Light the barbecue. then move the coals into two piles on either side of the grate, leaving the centre clear. Put a pan between the two piles to catch the dripping fat, then place your grill above. After rubbing the skin of the pork belly with a cloth to dry it off, place the rolled joint in the middle of the grill, away from the direct heat. Close the barbecue lid, and half open the vents. Cook for 3 hours, checking every 45 mins and topping up the charcoal as needed.

Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside. After 3 hours cooking, open the top and bottom barbecue vents fully to bring the temperature up. Make sure there’s enough charcoal and top up as necessary. Roast at a high temperature for 30-40 mins until the crackling is bubbled and crispy. Remove the pork belly from the barbecue and rest for 20 mins in a tray to catch the juices.

Slice – a bread knife is easiest to cut through the crackling – and serve with the sauce and whatever sides you like.