How to Cook Beef Belly – Beef Navel Cut

Are you looking for the perfect way to change things up in the kitchen? Do you want an easy, delicious dish that will impress your guests and family alike? If so, then beef belly or as known as beef navel is exactly what you need. Beef belly is a tender cut of meat that can be prepared in many different ways. 

This article provides instructions on how to cook beef belly while maximizing flavor and minimizing cost.

What is Beef Belly?

Beef Belly

A beef belly is a cut from the cow’s abdomen. These cuts are close to the organs and have more fat than other parts of the animal. The meat will become tender when cooked but won’t be as lean or healthy compared to different cuts like sirloin steak.

Beef belly is best cooked by braising it slowly over low heat for several hours with different various vegetables. It can also be pan-seared until crispy and paired with red wine sauce or grilled quickly before serving. This cut of meat works well when prepared as part-of restaurant specials such as Korean BBQ beef plates where they use bbq sauces instead of butter.

What is a Beef Plate?


A beef plate is a small sampling of various cuts from the cow’s rib area. The sample can be served in one dish or individual dishes, depending on preference and how adventurous you are feeling that night. This is due to the fact that a beef plate contains large chunks of meat.

What is a Beef Navel?

A beef navel is located on the cow’s belly near the backbone and has a round shape. It can be cooked in many different ways; this article focuses on preparing it as part of a dish with other cuts like short ribs or brisket, but there are also recipes for sandwiches, tacos, pasta sauce, etc.

Beef navel is a delicious cut that needs no care because it’s already tender when raw but the brisket should be cooked until tender before eating so make sure to keep cooking time in mind.

Difference Between Beef Belly and Brisket: 

The brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the cow’s chest region. It has less fat and needs to be cooked for several hours so it becomes tender but can also be served quite rare (think medium-rare). 

The beef navel is a cut of meat from the belly, just like the brisket; however, it is prepared differently. It can be cooked on the grill or over low heat with vegetables for several hours before serving.

What Can You Do with Beef Navel?

Beef navel is a flavorful and versatile cut of meat that can be used in many different recipes. Here are a few ideas that you can try:

  • Braised Beef: Beef navel is a great cut for braising method because it has a lot of connective tissue that will break down, becoming tender during the braising process. You can braise it with some vegetables and favorite spices, and serve it with some mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Ground Beef: You can ground beef navel and used it for hamburgers. It has a rich, beefy flavor that will make your burgers taste great.
  • Beef Jerky: If you like beef jerky, then beef navel can be a good choice for making it, since it is lean and flavorful. You can thinly slice it, marinate with a mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, and then dry it in a dehydrator.
  • BBQ Beef: Beef navel is a very popular cut for BBQ since has a lot of fat which will keep the meat moist and tender. You can go for a low and slow method, combined with your preferred dry rub or BBQ sauce.

How to Make Beef Bacon?

There are two ways to cook beef bacon. One is by braising it for several hours with vegetables like onions, garlic, and carrots then wrapping in a foil package containing dry red wine or broth that has been reduced; the other way is to pan-sear the meat until crispy on both sides before adding sauce such as bbq sauce for Korean BBQ dishes. 

How to Cook Brisket-Style Beef Belly


There are only a few steps to cooking beef belly in this way:

1) Use natural seasonings like salt, pepper, and sugar for the rub. 

Different ingredients used for cooking beef belly include soy sauce, vinegar, and other sauces to enhance the flavor. Onions are also a good ingredient because they will give the meat more flavor while being cooked.

If you want an even stronger taste just add some garlic or ginger. You can cook with any type of vegetables you like but keep in mind potatoes take a lot longer to cook so choose something quick cooking if that’s what you want.

2) Line two pans with foil or grease heavily then place an oven rack at the very top of your oven (aluminum foil is best as it can withstand higher temperatures).

Place half of the meat on one pan and cover tightly with foil before placing another sheet over that.

Repeat with the second batch of meat but place them on the opposite side so they both cook evenly. The fat will be rendered into liquid form while cooking, allowing you to pour off excess fat if needed.

3) Cook brisket-style beef belly for four hours under high heat, turning every hour until crispy brown.

4) Serve with a variety of sauces such as BBQ, Kimbap (Korean sauce for BBQ), Namul (greens dish), and dipping.

3 Different Ways to Cook Beef Belly for Different Flavor Profiles 


Taking into consideration its flavor and since it is a versatile cut of meat, beef belly can be cooked in many different ways. Here are my three favorite go-to methods to cook beef belly:

Grilling Beef Belly

My favorite method of cooking beef belly is by grilling it. It can be easily and fast grilled for a delicious and wonderful meal.

To grill beef belly, first rub it with seasoning, I prefer salt and pepper but you can use whatever you prefer, and then put it on the grill over high heat for a few minutes on each side until it reaches your preferred doneness level

You can choose to serve grilled beef belly with a side of vegetables or potatoes.

Smoking Beef Belly

This cut of beef is also great for smoking.

To smoke beef belly, first pick your favorite dry rub of your choice, which can include a mix of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and other spices as well.

Then, put it into smoker over low heat until it is cooked to your desired level of doneness. The fat in the beef belly will render down and create a rich, smoky flavor.

Alternatively, if you have a brisket style beef belly, put it on an aluminum foil-lined tray, cover with another sheet of aluminum foil then place in an oven set at 275° Fahrenheit or about 135°C (130°F) for four hours.

Turn once every hour until crispy browned outside but still pink inside. This meat should be eaten as soon as possible after cooking because it’s not meant to keep well due to its high-fat content.

Slow Cooking/Smoking

Slow smoking can take up to 18 hours so make sure to prepare this dish the night before.

Wrap brisket style beef belly in aluminum foil sprayed with flavorless cooking oil like canola or vegetable, place on grill over low heat, and leave there for 12-18 hours before unwrapping slicing thinly across grain (the fat side will remain attached).


Since this cut has a lot of connective tissues, that makes it ideal for braising cooking method.

To properly braise beef belly, first sear it on all sides in a hot pan until brown on the exterior.

Then, transfer the beef belly to a pot and add a flavorful liquid such as beef broth, red wine, or soy sauce.

Add aromatics like garlic, onion, and herbs to the liquid, and simmer the beef belly over low heat for several hours until it is tender and the flavors have melded together.


In conclusion, there are many different ways to cook beef belly and anyone can become an expert. It’s easy to cook and you can either slow smoke it for 18 hours or braise it in foil at low heat.

You can also use beef belly in soups, stews, and stir-fries if you don’t feel like eating it as is.

Beef belly has become very popular because people are using it for amazing dishes all the time.

We hope you find these tips on beef belly useful for your next diner or cater!

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, living in Kansas. He loves to share his passion about outdoor cooking with everyone on various Social Media platforms (Read More)

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