Vietnamese-style Caramel Pork Belly Skewers with Spicy Apple and Fennel Salad

10 Aug 2022

caramel pork belly

35 Minutes | easy | Serves 4

These tender pork belly skewers are coated in a sticky sauce inspired by Vietnamese caramel pork. Made with coconut water, fish sauce and sugar, it provides an aromatic, salty glaze for the pork. It’s important to cook the pork belly quickly in this instance as overcooking will make it tough. Serve it with a fresh, crunchy and spicy apple and fennel salad.


  • 500g pork belly, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 225ml coconut water
  • 1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 green apple (such as Granny Smith), finely sliced
  • 1 small bulb fennel, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 small handful mint leaves
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced (or adjust to your taste)



Heat the oil in a small saucepan

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for a minute or so, stirring, until fragrant.

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Add the sugar

Add the sugar, coconut water and fish sauce and allow the mixture to bubble down until thick and glossy – around 10 minutes. Stir in the rice vinegar and set aside.

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Place the lime juice

Place the lime juice in a bowl and add the sliced apple and fennel – mix well.

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Combine the fish sauce

Combine the fish sauce, sugar and chilli and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Combine with the vegetables and stir through the chilli and mint. Set aside.

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Preheat two gas burners

Preheat two gas burners on the Jupiter Outback BBQ and set the heat to medium. Thread the pork belly cubes onto 2 long or 4 small skewers, alternating occasionally with pieces of spring onion.

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Position the pork belly

Position the pork belly skewers so that they are close to the flames but not directly over them – pork belly is very fatty and will cause flare ups easily. The aim is to cook the pork belly until just cooked – don’t overcook it as it will become too tough to eat – they shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. If the fat causes flare ups, move the skewers further towards the cooler side of the BBQ.

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Just before the end

Just before the end of cooking time, brush a little of the caramel sauce onto the pork, then cook very briefly again, taking care as the sugar will burn. Remove from the heat, brush with more caramel sauce and serve with the salad.

You may be more familiar with slow roasting pork belly, but it’s perfectly possible to cook it quickly on the BBQ in smaller chunks – just remember to take care with dripping fat and keep the cooking time short to avoid tough meat.

Recipe Author

Recipe Author

Helen Graves

Helen Graves is an award-winning recipe, food and travel writer with a particular interest in barbecue. She writes freelance for many major food and drink publications and is editor of Pit, the UK's first independent magazine about live-fire cooking. Helen has created a series of exclusive recipes for Outback that focus on maximising flavour for the home cook using lots of spices, fresh herbs and BBQ techniques.

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