Sweet and sticky, this melt-in-your-mouth Chinese-style beer braised pork belly is simple to make and incredibly flavorful. Served with potatoes, noodles, or rice.
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Whenever you see pork belly, most people think of bacon. It's rare to ever think that you can braise it, especially since it's so fatty, but in it's actually pretty common in Chinese culture to braise pork belly, and the result is an incredibly tender, and melt in your mouth piece of meat that is full of flavor.
This Chinese braised pork recipe is something I love to make at home during the warm winter months because of how cozy it is. I like to use dark beers but I know a few people have commented that it was too bitter for them so I recommend using light beer to start of with and tweak it to new types of beer in the future.
I took the traditional Chinese braised pork belly recipe (aka hong shao rou or red braised pork belly), and I tweaked it by browning the pork belly with garlic and onions for extra flavor and instead of water, I use beer to braise it.
The sauce this pork belly is braised in is sweet and savory with a touch of Chinese five spice (or star anise) to give it that extra delicious flavor.
While we are still on the topic of pork belly, another incredibly way I love using it is by stir-frying it in a spicy gochujang sauce to make Korean pork bulgogi!
Ingredients for Beer Braised Pork Belly
- Pork Belly - Try to use pork belly for this recipe. It may seem a bit fatty but the texture from the fat is melt in the mouth and melds with the sauce.
- Beer - For the beer, I used a dark beer but that is only because I enjoy the hint of bitterness to it. If you prefer something less bitter, you can use a light beer. A few people have made this with dark beers (stouts and porters) and found it incredibly bitter. Since beers have different IBU (International Bitterness Scale), I recommend using a beer that you enjoy drinking or a light or medium beer - unless you enjoy the bitterness of dark beers.
- Broth - I like to use beef broth for this because it is a bit more robust in flavor but you can definitely substitute it with any type of broth.
- Soy Sauce/Dark Soy Sauce - For the regular soy sauce, I like to use light soy sauce. The dark soy sauce is used mainly for dark rich color, you can omit it if you can't find it or you can find it online here.
- Rice Vinegar - Rice vinegar is lighter than regular white vinegar and has more flavor. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with half the amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Chinese Cooking Wine - You can use either the Chinese white rice cooking wine or the dark Shaoxing Cooking wine for this recipe. If you can't find either of them you can use dry sherry or find it online here.
- Chinese Five Spice Powder - This ingredient cannot be omitted or substituted since it gives this dish its flavor. Alternatively, you can also use a few star-anise if you cannot find five spice powder.
- Chinese Yellow Rock Sugar - For the sugar I used Chinese yellow rock sugar because it gives the meat and sauce that glossy sheen. It cooks down almost syrupy which is one of the traits of a good braised pork belly. This can be substituted with regular sugar.
How to Make Chinese Braised Pork Belly
- Slice up the ginger and roughly smash the garlic.
- Cut the pork belly into 2cm x 3cm chunks. Don't cut them too thin or it will melt away and there won't be much to eat!
- Brown the pork belly. Add in the onions, ginger and garlic to brown as well as this will give it even more flavor.
Note: When you brown pork belly it splatters - a lot. I'm pretty sure I have splatters of grease on my ceiling - occupational hazard right? To alleviate this issue I had to literally hold up the lid like a shield against the pot and deflect the oil splatters away from me. If you foodies out there have a better method, give me a shout! 🙂
- Add all the braising liquids and spices into the pan and set the stove to high and bring everything to a vigorous boil and boil everything for 15 minutes.
- Once it has boiled for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to medium low and braise for 1 hour and 20 minutes. A lot of fat will render out of the pork belly, skim off the fat before serving.
- Serve it up with white rice, plain noodles or roasted potatoes (Yep, potatoes! We liked it with fries!)
How to Serve this Asian Braised Pork Belly
- Rice - The easiest way to serve this is with a side of egg fried rice, garlic fried rice or steamed white rice. The rice absorbs the sauce and it's an easy, comforting meal!
- Noodles - I also like to make this with noodles. You can use any type of noodles for this recipe. Boil it the way according to the instructions and top it with the pork belly and sauce!
- Potatoes - You can serve this with roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes but my personal favorite is dipping fries into it.
More Chinese Recipes You May Like
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Beer Braised Pork Belly (Chinese Style)
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- IMPORTANT UPDATE: Update 08/29/18: A few people have made this with dark beers (stouts and porters) and found it incredibly bitter. Since beers have different IBU (International Bitterness Scale), I recommend using a beer that you enjoy drinking or a light or medium beer - unless you enjoy the bitterness of dark beers.
- During the simmering process a lot of the fat will render out of the pork belly. Skim off the fat so there isn't a layer of grease before serving.
- Pork belly splatters a lot during the browning process! Use a lid as a shield to deflect some of that hot oil away from you
- An alternative to pork belly that this also works with is pork ribs or pork hocks! 🙂 Cut up the pork ribs into individual ribs and use the same directions.
- 2 lbs pork belly
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 x4 cm ginger (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup beer
- 3 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine (or Shaoxing wine)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 2-3 small Chinese yellow rock sugar (or 3 tablespoons of regular sugar)
- green onions (finely chopped)
- toasted sesame seeds
- Slice the ginger and onions and roughly smash the garlic (you don't want to finely chop it, else it will burn.)
- Cut the pork belly into 2cm x 3cm chunks. (Don't cut them up too thin else they will melt away into nothing!)
- In a skillet or heavy-bottomed pot, set the heat to medium and add in the pork belly to start browning it. (Be careful at this point. Pork belly splatters a lot! Use a lid as a shield to deflect some of that hot oil away from you, if you have to!)
- When you have browned the pork belly halfway through, add in the onions, garlic and ginger to brown them as well.
- Once all the pork belly has been browned, stir in 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, 1 cup beer, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 3 cups beef broth, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine, 2-3 small Chinese yellow rock sugar (or 3 tablespoons of regular sugar).
- Set the stove to high and bring everything to a vigorous boil and boil it for 15 minutes
- Once everything has boiled for 15 minutes, set the stove to medium-low to low heat and put a lid on the pot. You want the braising liquid to be doing a low rolling boil. Check on the pot at the 45-minute mark to make sure the sauce hasn't reduced to less than half the amount of liquid and that it isn't burning. If the sauce is a syrupy consistency, then it's done. If the sauce hasn't reduced to a syrupy consistency, cook it for another 35 minutes but check on it every 10 minutes. (For a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes)
- If it still hasn't reached that syrupy consistency, continue to cook it for 5-10 more minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Once everything is done cooking, drain the layer of oil that is floating at the top by scooping it out carefully with a spoon.
- Serve with white rice, plain noodles or roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or fries.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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