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Braised Pork Belly Shopping Tips
Bone-in cuts tend to be slightly less expensive than their boneless counterparts, and have more flavor.
Braised Pork Belly Cooking Tips
According to the USDA, the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Make Super-Simple, Tender Braised Pork Belly At Home
There are few pieces of meat that provoke as much excitement as a tender chunk of pork belly. A popular cut in Japanese cuisine, pork belly combines copious amounts of taste with just the right amount of pure fattiness. Pork belly has become an increasingly common menu item at restaurants serving various cuisines from around the world, but what about cooking with it at home? Turns out it’s super-simple.
Our friends at ChefSteps wrote in this week with an easy technique, perfect for pork-belly preparation. It’s a bone-sticking braise that can anchor all sorts of delicious dinners. The formula relies on easily findable ingredients, such as a cooking liquid (wine, stock or soy sauce), salt and pepper, and aromatic veggies. Mix it all together and you’ll soon have your favorite restaurant dish right in the comfort of your own home!
1 pound pork belly
4¼ cups cooking liquid, such as white wine, stock or soy sauce
Salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
Seasoning, optional, as needed
Aromatics, herbs and veggies, as needed
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Slice belly into equally sized chunks (around 10 total).
- Transfer pork belly to Dutch oven or other heavy-duty, oven-safe pot with a lid.
- Pour wine or other cooking liquid into the pot until it reaches half the height of the belly. Sprinkle on some salt, pepper and whatever additional seasonings your heart desires, and add your aromatic vegetables and herbs.
- Cook, covered, at 400 degrees for one hour.
- Reduce oven heat to 200 degrees (or lowest temp possible).
- Continue cooking your belly, covered, for four to six hours, to achieve the soft, braise-y texture we’re in the market for. You can leave it in the oven overnight or all day for an even softer texture.
- Remove belly from oven and let rest at room temp until it’s firm enough to slice, about 20 minutes.
- Slice belly into bite-size chunks and have your way with it. Drop it into cassoulet or gumbo. Serve with vegetables over rice or grits, or stuff into a taco with tomatillos. The options are endless!
ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. The site is currently offering free online classes called Cooking Sous Vide: Getting Started and Burgers, as well as a $10 class called Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics and a $14 class called Coffee.
What is Hong Shao Rou?
Hong shao rou is a Chinese braised pork belly dish that is cooked in a braising liquid made with soy sauce, sugar, and various aromatics and spices. It is similar to my Braised Chinese Chicken Wings recipe, but hong shao rou is a bit more complex of a dish, using a few more aromatics to create an even more amazing flavor.
Depending on the region you go to in China, they will all have slightly different versions of this recipe. Some versions don’t use dark soy sauce at all (resulting in a much lighter red color), some add vinegar, some add scallions. Feel free to experiment and play around with the ingredients!
No matter where you go though, two things will remain the same: frying the meat in “caramel” (melted brown sugar) before braising, and a long braise with a soy sauce-based braising liquid. The first step of frying the meat in caramel may seem odd to people, but it is actually a crucial step because doing so will lock in the caramel flavor in the meat.
Because of the long cooking time, all of the flavors from the braising liquid get infused into the meat itself, making each bite explode with flavor. It will also be so tender that the meat will feel like it’s melting in your mouth.
While this recipe is quite easy, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you get it right the first time!
- Try to get pork belly that has an even split of fat and meat. If it is too lean, then the meat won’t become very tender or take on as much flavor. The best and easiest place to find the perfect cut of pork belly is a Chinese grocery store, like 99 Ranch. They will usually have pieces that are already cut to the right width.
- Parboil the meat to make it easier to cut. Conveniently, this also leaves us with the right amount of hot water to braise with. It’s best to use hot water for the braise because you add it directly back to the pork that is already cooking. If you use cold water, then the meat might toughen up on contact.
- Be patient when melting the sugar in the oil to make thecaramel. After adding the sugar to the oil, leave it be and try not to disturb it until you see a pool of melted sugar starting to form. Once some of the sugar has melted, you can stir it with a chopstick (or something else with low surface area) to make the rest of the sugar melt more quickly. Be careful though, because the caramel will stick to whatever you stir with!
- For best results, resist the temptation to check on the meat too often. We want to reduce temperature variations while braising, and stirring the meat once every 30 minutes is more than enough to ensure an even braise.
Chinese braised pork belly (hong shao rou) is one of my absolute favorite Chinese dishes, and I can’t wait for you guys to try out this recipe! Let’s get started!
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3. Prepare the oil and sugar mixture to caramelize the pork
- Add a tablespoon of cooking oil and sugar into a nonstick pan. You may need slightly more oil if you use a regular pan.
- Heat the sugar and oil low and slow until all the sugar is dissolved. When the sugar turns to amber color, add the dried pork pieces into it.
- Make sure the pork pieces are dry or else the oil will splatter unduly.
- The sugar will caramelize quickly on the surface of the pork pieces. Flip over the pork so that all the sides are properly sear and colored. The whole process is quite fast, which will take only about two minutes.
This step is essential for red-cooked meat, as it adds the reddish hue to the meat as the result of caramelization.
Best pork belly recipes
Our easy pork belly recipes are cheap and easy to make. Want to make the best crisp pork belly? Looking for the perfect Sunday roast centrepiece ? Make one of our recipes with our expert guide to the perfect crackling for your pork belly .
We have slow cooked pork belly recipes, roast pork belly recipes (think rolled ‘nduja-stuffed pork belly, slow-roast pork belly and smoked salt-crusted pork belly), Chinese pork belly recipes and a recipe for rich pork belly ramen. We even have a recipe to make homemade pork scratchings! Roast it, braise it, fry it – the choice is yours…
Get it right: roast pork belly
Here’s how to guarantee crisp, crunchy crackling and meltingly soft meat every time.
Slow-cooked crackling pork with sweet and sour cabbage and creamy mustard mash
Check out our impressive pork belly with crunchy cabbage and super creamy mash. There are two tricks here for perfect crackling: salting the skin overnight to dry it out, and giving it a final blast of heat while the meat rests so it can puff up and crisp.
Roast pork belly with potatoes baked in milk
Our roast pork belly recipe is inspired by an Italian dish which would usually use rolled loin. Pork belly cooked in milk is tender and succulent and, this pork belly makes for an easy and impressive main to feed a hungry crowd. For optimum crackling, cook for longer at the higher temperature before reducing.
Crispy five-spice sriracha pork belly
Check out this punchy, easy, crispy pork belly with Chinese five-spice. This flavoursome pork recipe is great with rice, noodles or bao buns.
Low and slow pork belly with jalapeño creamed corn
This recipe for slow cooked pork belly with jalapeño creamed corn is really easy to make but packs in a lot of flavour. This family friendly pork belly recipe is gluten free and simple to make.
Chilli-and-marmalade-glazed pork belly squares
Kick off a festive party with our easy canapés. These sticky-sweet bites can be partly prepared ahead for fuss-free entertaining.
Rolled ’nduja-stuffed pork belly
If you're looking for a pork belly recipe why not try our rolled 'nduja-stuffed pork belly for an impressive centre piece. ’ is a spicy spreadable salami from Calabria and it adds a special twist to Tom Adams’ pork belly recipe. This impressive recipe is worth the effort. Use 'nduja in this linguine recipe, too.
Fennel rubbed pork belly
Enjoy a special Sunday roast with our fennel rubbed pork belly. This roast is perfect for feeding friends and family. Looking for roast potato recipes to go with you pork belly? Click the link for our best ever roast potatoes recipes.
Twice-cooked Chinese pork
Check out our delicious twice-cooked Chinese pork belly. This sticky pork recipe is really tender and packed with great flavours. Serve with green vegetables and steamed rice for a flavoursome evening meal.
Cheat’s spicy pork ramen
Pork belly ramen, anyone? Ramen may seem like one of those dishes you can't recreate at home, but this recipe for cheat’s spicy pork ramen changes that. Rather than spending hours making stock, we buy a good flavoured one and spike it with Asian aromatics. Here are our favourite noodle soup recipes in case you don't fancy this one.
Slow-roast pork belly with black pudding mash and grain mustard sauce
This pork belly dish takes a little time but really is worth making. The brine makes the pork taste amazing and helps the crackling along. The mash is incredibly luxurious and the sauce cuts through the richness of the dish.
Roast pork with hasselback potatoes
This beauty was the cover recipe for our March 2020 issue. Slow-roasted pork, crispy roasties, and a quick gremolata for a splash of colour. It's got Sunday written all over it.
Chinese braised belly pork with greens
This really easy Chinese pork belly recipe cooks pork low and slow in soy, 5 spice and star anise. It's all cooked in one pot so you can just put it in the oven and forget about it. Serve with rice and greens.
Steamed pork buns (Hirata buns)
Check out out recipe for sticky pork buns. These sweet, pillowy Hirata buns are popping up on menus all over at the moment. Try this recipe at home with our step-by-step guide. The secret to steamed buns is adding extra raising agent and double rising, which gives you a pillowy bun to stuff your pork belly into.
What's not to love about fried pork belly? This recipe is from Señor Ceviche and comes with an Asian sauce. You can cook the pork the day before and chill overnight if you like. Try one of these smart Asian dinner party ideas for main courses and sharing dishes.
Crisp pork belly with spiced apricots
Transform this relatively cheap cut of pork and feed the family for Sunday lunch. A fantastic sweet and savoury combination, spiced apricot and pork belly is well worth the wait. Perfect served with kale and roasties.
Pork belly and quince with sage and black pudding stuffing, and borlotti bean ragout
This is Dan Doherty's take on class roast pork belly. The fruity-meaty stuffing works really well, and the borlotti bean ragout, enriched with all the roasting juices, finishes it all off nicely.
Pork-belly skewers with Vietnamese caramel sauce
Our pork-belly skewers with Vietnamese caramel sauce make easy but impressive canapés for your next drinks party.
Roast pork belly with star anise plum sauce
Pork belly is a brilliant budget cut for feeding the family. Try it roasted with Asian spices like star anise, coriander seed and ginger and served up with a sticky sauce made from fresh sweet plums, cinnamon and brown sugar.
Bibigo's bo-saam pork belly
This Korean dish of slow-cooked pork gets a smart makeover at Bibigo. To make very neat pork slices, press it after cooking.
Smoked salt-crusted pork with lentils and caper sauce
Pork belly, braised lentils and caper sauce: gastro pub-style comfort food. Put them all together in this weekend lunch recipe: designed to make everyone feel glad to be at home.
Homemade pork scratchings
Got some pork belly skin left over? The ultimate bar snack is much easier to make than you think. Create your own super-crunchy pork scratchings then serve with a sprinkle of smoky paprika or celery salt for extra flavour.
Looking for more pork recipes? Click the link and check out our best ever pork recipes from pork schnitzel and pork ramen to pork buns and slow-roast shoulder of pork.
- Soak and wash the Mei Cai before cooking. The vegetable is coated with salt which is used as a preservative. It also has to be washed several times to get rid of any sand particles.
- Make sure the pork belly is thoroughly pat drybefore frying to prevent the oil from splattering. It is advisable to use a oil splatter screen to cover over the wok if you have one.
- Use a steaming dish where the all pork slices can fit in snugly, with some allowance for the mei cai to be placed on top.
- Ensure there is always sufficient water for steaming, otherwise top it up with boiling water from a kettle so the temperature does not drop.
Preheat oven to 250°. Using a very sharp knife, score pork in a tight crosshatch pattern to form ½” diamonds, cutting through fat but stopping at flesh. Season with salt and pepper, massaging into cuts.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high (if belly doesn’t fit, cut in half crosswise). Cook pork skin side down, turning once, until browned all over, 5–8 minutes per side (be careful, fat will splatter). Transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. drippings from pot, add star anise, cloves, and coriander and fennel seeds, and cook over low heat, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beer and apple juice, scraping up browned bits. Add pork along with onion and carrots, adding water if needed to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and transfer to oven. Braise pork 3 hours. Add apricots and braise until pork is very tender but not falling apart, 1–2 hours more.
Transfer pork, skin side up, to a rimmed baking sheet. Place vegetables and apricots in a large bowl keep warm. Increase oven temperature to 475° roast pork until skin is brown and very crisp, 25–35 minutes (the crispier, the better).
Meanwhile, pour braising liquid into a large saucepan and skim off fat. Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, 25–35 minutes.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, about 5 minutes. Add brown butter and shallot to braising sauce season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Cut pork into 8 pieces serve with sauce, vegetables, and some horseradish.
How would you rate Beer-Braised Pork Belly?
IT tastesed vary god I njoyed it vary moch. da beer bart was da boat.
INEDIBLE! Expensive waste of time! The pork belly comes out good, the spices are nice, but the Cider and Apricot make it just way too sweet to even eat. This is sweeter than most desserts! I work in China a lot, and i'm always trying to find recipes for things I've had there. I thought this might be a good approximation of pork belly I've had there, but unfortunately this recipe is just too ridiculously "Americanized." If you want something that's so sweet it'll make your teeth hurt, this is the recipe for you. If you want something you can eat and enjoy, look elsewhere.
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
- 1 pound pork belly, cut into ¼-inch cubes or ¼-inch-thick short strips
- ½ cup minced shallot (from about 1 large shallot)
- ¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
- 1-3 Thai chiles, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly cooked white rice, for serving
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger (from one 2-inch piece)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small green cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Make the Kho: In a small bowl, soak dried shrimp in 1/4 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and mince set aside.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat until the pot is screaming hot, about 3 minutes. Add the pork belly in a single layer, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the pork is golden-brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir the pork to release any pieces that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Transfer the pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon, remove and transfer the pork into a mixing bowl, leaving only the rendered fat in the pot.
Add the shallots and garlic to the reserved fat in the pot. Gently saute over low heat, stirring frequently, until shallot mixture is lightly golden-brown and toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, fish sauce, minced dried shrimp, chiles, black pepper, and 1/4 cup water. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the mixture turns a deep caramel color, about 10 minutes.
Return the pork belly to the pot, and stir in 1/2 cup water. Bring pork mixture to a boil, cover and then reduce the heat to low and braise the pork until the liquid thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.
While the pork simmers, prepare the Blanched Cabbage: In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water, ginger, and salt to a boil. While the water comes to a boil, cut the cabbage into 6 wedges. Remove most of the core, leaving just enough to hold the leaves on each wedge together. When the water begins to boil, add half the cabbage. Boil until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, then remove from the water and transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining cabbage.
Braised Pork Belly
Rodelle’s Turkey Brine seasoning is perfect for cold months but does not have to be confined to turkey. Norwegian-style braised pork belly is seasoned with Rodelle’s Turkey Brine seasoning which is the perfect blend of salt, sugar, dried cranberries, vanilla beans, orange peel, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and sage. The seasoned pork belly is marinated overnight the result is stunning before and after the braising process, despite only a few simple steps. The pork belly is braised for four hours in a covered pan and then roasted at a high temperature to deliver perfectly crispy, golden brown pork fat on the outside and tender juicy, melt in your mouth meat on the inside. If you are looking for an out of the box recipe that is stunning, yet effortless, this is it. Replace it for a roasted chicken, turkey, or serve for breakfast with sunnyside up eggs.
- To prepare the pork belly, season the pork belly on both sides with one heaping ⅓ cup of turkey bring seasoning. This should provide a liberal coating of salt. Allow the salted pork to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
- The next day preheat an oven to 325 F, place seasoned pork belly into a 9” x 13” heavy casserole dish. Add enough water to come halfway up the pork belly. Cover the pan with parchment and then tin foil, crimping the edges tightly. Then poke a small hole in the center of the foil with a paring knife. Bake the pork belly for 3 ½ to 4 hours. The pork belly should be very tender at this point but pale in color. Do not let the water run out so check the pork halfway through adding more water to the pan.
- Remove the tin foil and place belly on a rack on top of a baking sheet. Turn the oven to 400 F and return the pork to the oven. Allow the pork belly to roast until it is a very dark golden color, about 15-20 minutes. Keep a close eye on the belly so it does not burn.
- Allow pork to cool slightly, then slice the pork thinly and serve hot for the ultimate experience. The pork can also be chilled overnight and sliced the next day.
- Depending on how long the belly braises in the first step will determine how long it will take to crisp in the final browning step at 400 F.
Note: This recipe was developed and photographed for Rodelle by Amanda at From Me to Vuu.
Boil a pot of water and blanch the meat for 3-5 minutes to get rid of impurities. Remove meat with tongs and cut into 1 inch cubes. Discard the blanching water.
In your braising pot, sauté the oil with ginger slices over medium heat until fragrant. Add in meat cubes and cook until lightly browned.
3. Mix in Sauce
Add cooking wine, sugar, both soy sauces and stir to coat the meat evenly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes to let the sauces seep in.
4. Simmer Covered
Pour in hot water until the meat pieces are almost covered. (NOTE: If you plan on adding mix-ins like potatoes / taro and eggs, you’ll need a little more water and more sugar, light soy, and dark soy sauce)
Bring to a very gentle simmer (not a big boil, which can make the meat tough) and cover the lid for approximately an hour or more, stirring only very occasionally. Avoid opening the lid too often.
For tender pork belly: the lower the heat and the longer the meat braises, the more tender it will become. I left this on the stovetop over low heat for almost two hours once while doing chores and it came out melt-in-your mouth delicious!
You can also make this in less time using the popular InstantPot which I do have and enjoy. But sometimes it’s nice to do a good old-fashioned braising on the stove top!
At this point, my mom removes the meat with a slotted spoon, skims off any visible fat on the top layer, and then puts the meat back into the pot. Or you could just de-fat the leftovers the next day, after they have time to chill in the fridge.
5. Adjust to Taste + Add Mix-Ins
Taste the sauce and adjust soy, sugar, and water ratios to your liking, making sure the water level isn’t drying out. Continue simmering with lid covered for another 30 minutes or until pork is tender. If you’re adding mix-ins, do so in the last 15-20 minutes so the root vegetables don’t get too mushy.
6. Reduce Sauce
Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium so the sauce reduces down and thickens a bit. Serve hot over jasmine rice!
Does your family or culture make a similar variation of this dish? I’d love to hear about it!