Char Siu Pork Belly

What do you do when you have an extra 3+ lbs of pork belly laying around? You make char siu! Fatty, delicious char siu. Here’s one 2-3″ wide hunk o’ pork belly goodness.

I used my old Chinese Snacks cookbook for a simple recipe. All of the recipes I’ve found there have been what I’d imagine someone in my family to make, if anyone in my family cooked with any amount of regularity. (Heck, I only really even like cooking when it’s as “projects”. Ask me to cook a random dinner and I’ll just pick up the phone and order pizza).

Here’s all the ingredients you need for a

Char Siu Marinade

1T Soy Sauce
2T Hoisin Sauce
2T Sugar
1/2t Salt
1T Rice Wine Vinegar (I don’t like the taste, so I use dry vermouth)

Stupid easy, right? I was kind of like “Oh, but I want to add more stuff. And MSG.” But I resisted, since these recipes from this book are pretty fool proof, and delicious in their simplicity.

Okay, so you’ve got all of your marinating ingredients.


Blop all of your ingredients in a large bowl. I know, not very photogenic.

Whisk it all together.

Chop yo’ po’k!
Line the three little pork bellies up in your bowl of marinade. I carefully weighed out the belly chunks after slicing, before baking and after marinating, and finally after being cooked, but… now I can’t find them. If I find my numbers I promise I will nerd out for you HARDCORE! YOU CAN’T STOP ME!

MIX IT UP. Eeeeww, raw pork fingers! (Now is a great time to freak someone out and chase them around the house)

The book called for me to bake it at 500F for 20 minutes. I was kind of skeptical about that, so I only baked one as directed. That blackened parts of the outside. And…

It didn’t cook it all the way through. This was actually a nice medium-rare, but it was kind of closer to raw in the center. BTW, this was Kurobuta pork belly I procured from Adventures in Food in Menands, NY. More than fine to eat med-rare.

See? A little undercooked on the right hand slices. But pretty colors.
Here’s the other two pork bellies I didn’t cook up. I let them marinate in the fridge overnight because I was lazy. It didn’t hurt them any. Actually, I think a bit of the cover popped off at one point, so it was a little dried out, but not super dry. Just think, a bit of water-weight evaporated, and not dessicated.

Wary of the 500F baking method, I just let them go low and slow on 350 F for about an hour and a half. Or maybe more. Or less. I don’t know. About that long.

Let them drain a bit. When husbear shouts “Oooh, this looks like Meat Candy!” respond “Don’t you eat that yet!!!”

Meat candy in our house is also known as Siu Yuk (too lazy to create a backlink to it, but just google AlbanyEats! and Siu Yuk and you’ll find it), and that shit gets eaten in the blink of a fucking eye. So good.

Oh, we just pan fried the rarer slices of pork belly and had them as little lettuce cup dealies:

Next task, make some of my own steamed baos. Who wants some?

  1. I want some!

    I saw a whole pork belly when I was at Adventure in Food and was drooling at the thought of that much bacon. But I don't have a good way to smoke a whole belly yet. Still working on that…

    Looks really good. The phrase “meat candy” has officially been added to my vocabulary.

  2. llcwine said:

    me too!!!

  3. Mr. Sunshine said:

    Oh man that looks and sounds great!

  4. Name of cookbook, please. I need a legitimate Chinese cookbook that will not pull it's punches. Preferably in English :oP

  5. Lanny said:

    Don't forget me. I absolutely want some.

  6. Ooh, me, I want baos! *jumps up and down*

    I'm pretty excited to make some, actually, 'cause my boyfriend saw his mom this weekend and got a jar of the family barbecue sauce, their secret family recipe. Yay, char siu bao! 🙂

  7. I was actually just planning something like this for my next cookout!

    Your finished pork looks amazing and I love the idea of pan frying some of it for lettuce wraps

  8. Dammit. I did go to Adventure in Food and got a belly of my own–over eight pounds of fatty goodness. My first batch of Char Siu is marinating now.

    I guess I'll be experimenting with a deep marinade since it's late at night and sealed up in a foodsaver pouch in the fridge.

    Next I'll need to figure out what to do with the remaining seven pounds of delicious belly. You know, besides multiple rounds of Char Siu.

  9. just wanted to add some of my own tips….it really makes a huge difference

    1st must marinade the pork for more than 2 days

    add some alcohol to the marinade, i find it best with some chinese cooking rice sake or similar.

    if you have ginger on hand, put a slice of two if ginger in the marinade.

    use some lao-chou (dark soy sauce) for extra flavor and color.

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