How to Defrost Pork Belly

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Wondering what the best way to defrost pork belly is?

But, some methods are more effective and safer than others.

Whether you are planning to make bacon, roast, or stir fry, it’s essential to know how to defrost pork belly properly.

Improper defrosting can lead to uneven cooking, which can compromise the texture and taste of the meat.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, you’ll learn some useful tips that will help you get the best results every time.


Why Is It Important to Defrost Pork Belly?

Defrosting frozen pork belly is crucial for several reasons.

  • Defrosting it will ensure that the pork bells cooks evenly. If the pork belly is not defrosted, the outside may cook while the inside remains frozen. Thus, resulting in an under cooked meal. This can be both unappetizing and unsafe.
  • Proper defrosting of pork helps to prevent bacterial growth. In frozen meat, the bacterial growth slows down, but it is not completely halted. Harmful bacteria can start to multiply, leading to food poisoning.
  • Its is much easier to marinate or add a rub to defrosted pork belly. I like to add a lot of salt and a small amount of rub, this help to tenderize the pork belly as well as add flavor.

Note: Never defrost pork or any other meat products in hot water or warm water. Never leave frozen meat to thaw at room temperature.

What Is the Best Way to Defrost Pork Belly?

Here are some of the best ways to defrost pork belly:

1. Refrigerator Defrosting

Refrigerator defrosting is the best and safest way to defrost pork belly. It is a slow process. But it ensures that the meat defrosts and stays at a safe temperature throughout the process.


Here’s how to do it –

  • Remove pork belly from the freezer and place it in a airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
  • Place the airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.
  • Allow the pork belly to defrost in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, depending on the size of the belly.
  • Once defrosted, use the pork belly within 2 days.

Note: When using this method for other meats, remember the following –

– Ground beef, chicken breast and seafood stays fresh for 1-2 days.

– Red meats like beef steak and lamb stays fresh for 3-5 days.

Refrigerator defrosting is the preferred method.

It keeps the meat at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees F) throughout the defrosting process.


2. Cold Water Thawing/Defrosting

Cold water defrosting is another effective way to defrost pork belly. It is faster than refrigerator defrosting.

But, it requires more attention to ensure that the meat stays at a safe internal temperature.

Note – Always use a meat thermometer when defrosting and cooking.

Here’s how to do it –

  • Fill a large bowl with cold tap water.
  • Place the pork belly in a leak-proof plastic bag and seal it.
  • Submerge the bag of pork belly in the cold water bath.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold. The internal temperature should stay below 40 degrees F.
  • Allow pork belly to defrost for 30 minutes per pound.
  • Once defrosted, cook the pork belly immediately.

This cold water method is not recommended to larger cuts of meat.

Because it can take a long time and requires constant monitoring.


3. Microwave Thawing/Defrosting

Microwave thawing is the fastest way to defrost pork belly, but it is not the safest.

The microwave method can cause the meat to defrost too quick.

It can also start cooking the meat in some areas, which can lead to overcooking or dry pork belly.

Here’s how to do it –

Step 1 – Prepare the Pork Belly

Remove the pork belly from packaging. Place it on a microwave-safe plate or a container for microwave defrosting.

If the pork belly is too large, cut it into smaller pieces that will fit in the microwave.

Step 2 – Set the Microwave

Set the microwave to defrost or 50% power.

The defrost setting is usually the best option as it will defrost the pork belly.

If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, set it to 50%.

Step 3 – Start Defrosting

Start the defrosting process. The time it will take to defrost the meat depends on the weight and thickness of the pork belly.

As a general rule of thumb, meat defrost times are as follows –

  • 8-10 minutes for one pound
  • 12-15 minutes for one and half pounds
  • 18-20 minutes for two pounds

Step 4 – Rotate and Check the Pork Belly

After every 2-3 minutes, stop the microwave and rotate the pork belly to ensure that it defrosts.

If there are any signs of cooking then reduce the power level to 30% and continue defrosting.

Step 5 – Let the Pork Belly Rest

Once the pork belly defrosts, let it rest for approx. 8-10 minutes before cooking.

This will allow the meat to come to room temperature and ensure that it cooks through.

Remember, proper defrosting of pork belly prevent dangerous bacteria growth.

It also prevent the deterioration of meat quality.

My Favorite Ways to Cook Pork Belly

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Smoked Pork Belly Strips


Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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