pork belly adobo with garlic cauliflower rice on a white plate

Pork Belly Adobo (Keto/Low Carb)

This Filipino-style Pork Belly Adobo is slightly sweet, slightly tangy and reimagined for low carb, sugar-free diets. Keto-friendly, this caramelized pork belly is worth the effort for a memorable meal.

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three slabs of pork belly adobo with garlic rice on a white plate

Best Pork Belly Adobo Recipe- Low Carb, Keto, LCHF, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free

If you’ve never had pork belly, you are missing out. If bacon had a heartier, more flavorful sister, pork belly would be it. Tender, a little fattier, but oh so flavorful, pork belly comes from the same area as bacon, but is not cured and smoked.

The first time I had pork belly was at a dim sum restaurant in Chicago. I’m not sure what they did to that meat, but it had a crunchy skin exterior with this tender, melt-in-your-mouth interior. It’s the kind of pork you’d remember years later; I sure do! Crispy pork belly really is something special.

There’s only one problem:  pork belly cannot just thrown in a pan like bacon. It is a much fattier meat, and does not behave in the same way, so if you want crispy pork belly with crunchy skin, you’ll want to do some reading and recipe searching; otherwise, you’ll end up with a bunch of poorly cooked, unattractive meat in a pan.

This Low Carb Pork Belly Adobo recipe is slightly sweet, slightly tangy and produces a tender, melty piece of caramelized pork with a crispy exterior. Hours of marinating paired with pan searing then slow cooking is simply transformational. Serve this pork over my Filipino-style Garlic Fried Cauliflower Rice, and you’ve got a memorable meal.

How to make Keto Pork Belly Adobo

Ingredients

pork belly with filipino style garlic fried cauliflower rice on a white plate
Serve your Pork Belly Adobo with my Filipino-style Garlic Fried Cauliflower Rice.

Filipino Pork Belly Adobo Recipe Tips & Tricks:

Marinate for as long as you can. Sometimes I only marinate the pork belly for two hours, which works, but I have found the longer the better with this recipe. If you can leave it overnight, you’ll get an even richer flavor in the end. 

Pork belly renders lots of fat; don’t panic. Make sure to sear the pork belly on both sides before starting the long, slow cooking process. You want a nice char on both sides to start rendering down the fat. As the pork cooks slowly for that good 90 minutes, it will create even more fat. You may have at least an inch of fat sitting on the top of your sauce. This is absolutely natural! Make sure to skim it off before making the final sauce at the end of the recipe. You’ll still have some fat left behind, but the more you leave, the more that final sauce will be oily. Do your best to pour off as much as you can without sacrificing too much of that delicious goodness left behind.

Pop your pork belly under the broiler before serving. I think crispy pork belly is just aces. Why not throw that pork belly under the broiler while you make the sauce to allow it to crisp up just a bit more? Turn the broiler on high and lay the pork belly flat in a single layer on a sheet pan. It will only need a minute or two on each side to produce a nice caramelized char. You can finish it by drizzling the reserved sauce on top before serving.

pork belly on a white plate with silverware

Low Carb Filipino Pork Belly Adobo Instant Pot Directions

Don’t have time to wait? Neither do I. You can easily do the cooking for this recipe in the Instant Pot if you have one.

Marinate the pork as directed. Heat the oil in your Instant Pot using the sautee function. Remove pork from marinade, straining and reserving the marinade as directed in the original recipe. Brown the pork on both sides in the hot oil, about 2-3 minutes per side. Work in batches so as to not crowd the pot. Reserve pork. Add onions and reserved garlic, cooking down until soft. Add pork back to the pot. Pour in reserved marinade.

Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow pressure to fall naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the valve. Remove pork from sauce. Turn on saute function and add vinegar. Allow the sauce to reduce down/thicken for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, lay the pork belly flat on a baking tray. Pop under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up. Return pork belly to the pot to submerge in the sauce before serving.

Other Low Carb Keto-friendly Pork Recipes you’ll love

Pork Belly Adobo (Keto, Low Carb)
Yield: 8

Pork Belly Adobo (Keto, Low Carb)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes

This Filipino-style Pork Belly Adobo is slightly sweet, slightly tangy and reimagined for low carb, sugar-free diets. Keto-friendly, this caramelized pork belly is worth the effort for a memorable meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork belly, cut into 4 inch-long chunks
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp brown erythritol (keto) or coconut sugar (paleo)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil (coconut, avocado)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

Combine coconut aminos, erythritol, peppercorns, water, and garlic in a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Add pork belly to a 1-gallon size resealable freezer bag. Add bay leaf and pour in marinade. Seal and refrigerator for at least 4 hours (or overnight for maximum flavor). Squish bag occasionally to mix up ingredients during the marinating process.

Remove pork from marinade. Strain contents of the bag into a fine mesh colander, reserving the marinade and garlic. Discard peppercorns and bay leaf. Heat oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven (see Instant Pot directions above if you don't want to wait!). Brown pork in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Flip at least once to make sure both sides are brown and caramelized, about 2-3 minutes each side. Remove pork and set aside. As you brown pork, the left over marinade may start to burn, so lower the temperature slightly with each batch.

Reduce to medium low heat, if you have not already. Add onions and reserved garlic from the marinade and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot with the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook until pork is tender, but not quite falling apart, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Carefully remove pork with a slotted spoon (see optional note).

Remove the pot from heat. Skim the fat layer and discard (there will be about one inch). Return pot to a medium heat. Add the vinegar to the pot and cook until reduced, about 15 minutes more. Return pork to the sauce to coat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve over Filipino-style Garlic Cauliflower Rice.

Notes

If you want a little crunchy, burnt edge to your pork belly, I will often pop mine under the broiler while I finish the sauce. A few minutes in a hot broiler does wonders!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 580Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 30g
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and calculated to the best of my ability using online databases. It is suggested that you perform your own check to ensure that a recipe fits within the scope of your dietary needs.

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