This easy braised pork belly recipe is perfect for making Japanese-style pork buns, but you can also use it as a topping for homemade tonkotsu ramen, or as a delicious side to your eggs for brunch. Brined overnight and slow-braised until super tender, you’ll never need another pork belly recipe. Plus, it’s only about 10 minutes of actual hands-on time making this one of the easiest pork recipes you’ll ever make.
If you’re following along for Ramen Month, you know we’re pretty much Ippudo and Momofuku fanatics, and since we’re no longer in NYC, when we want our ramen and pork bun fix, I make them. And no serious ramen night is complete without these squishy, porky, fluffy buns.
What is Japanese Braised Pork Belly for Pork Buns?
There are countless types of braised pork belly recipes in both Japanese and Chinese cuisines and two of our favorites both happen to be perfect for tonkotsu ramen and for piling onto homemade steamed pork buns. This pork belly is brined overnight in a mixture of salt, sugar, water, chicken stock, and scallions and then slow-braised for 3 hours. This renders pork belly that is full of flavor — it’s delicious on a whole new level, especially when it’s pan-seared.
Inspired by Taiwanese street food, “gua bao” and popularized worldwide by David Chang of Momofuku and Masashi Hirata of Ippudo, NYC, pork buns aren’t authentically Japanese, but they’ve been beautifully adapted and perfected there and in NYC.
Why We Love This Braised Pork Belly Recipe
- It takes 5 minutes to prepare the pork belly for brining & braising
- There are only 4 ingredients (6 if you count water and salt)
- It’s totally hands-off cooking (set it and forget it)
- Kiddos and adults both love this pork belly
- Braised pork belly can be made 2 or 3 days in advance
- It can be sliced and frozen for a few months until ready to reheat and eat
- It’s a great substitute for Chashu in ramen or sub it for typical breakfast bacon
Braised Pork Belly for Pork Buns Ingredients
This braised pork recipe is one of the easiest things you’ll ever make. It uses 6 ingredients (and that’s if you’re counting water and salt). As with anything braised, feel free to throw in a few additional aromatics to further flavor the pork if you like, but this is just how we love it.
- pork belly
- kosher salt
- chicken stock
How to Make Easy Homemade Braised Pork Belly
This is a great pork belly recipe for beginners because it’s almost completely hands-off cooking and it always produces great results.
- Make the pork belly braising liquid. In a liquid measuring cup, add all of the ingredients (except the pork belly) and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Brine the pork belly. Add the pork belly and the scallions to a sustainable plastic bag, or other air-tight container and add the brining liquid. Seal it up being sure the pork is completely covered in the brining solution and refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Braise the pork belly. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. Remove the pork belly and scallions from the brine and discard the liquid. Place the pork on top of the scallions in an oven-proof baking dish. Stir the water and chicken stock together and pour it over the pork belly. Bake for 2 1/2 hours until the pork is tender. Turn the oven temperature up to 450F/232°C and continue baking until the top is golden brown about 30 more minutes. You may turn on the broiler function after about 20 minutes if you want to speed up the browning process but watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in its juices. Refrigerate the brining liquid.
- Refrigerate the braised pork belly. When the pork belly has cooled, remove it from the braising liquid and place it into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Strain the braising liquid and add it to a glass jar and refrigerate. Remove the chilled pork belly from the fridge and slice it into 1/4 or 1/2-inch slices. You may reheat the slices by dipping them into a pot of reheated braising liquid, or by pan-searing them on each side until just warmed through or until they’re golden brown, Enjoy!
How to Make Braised Pork Belly For Pork Buns step-by-step recipe photos
How to Reheat Braised Pork Belly For Pork Buns
You can easily reheat sliced braised pork belly three different ways:
- use a kitchen torch to sear it on both sides
- pan-sear it in a skillet on both sides until warmed through or golden brown and crispy
- reheat the braising liquid and add sliced pork belly to the pot until warmed through
How to Store Braised Pork Belly
Braised pork belly can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and stored sliced in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and eat. Or you may slice it and freeze it for up to 3 months. In this case, I like to add parchment paper or freezer paper in between each slice so I can easily remove just what I need for a recipe and put the rest back.
Other Ramen Month Recipes to Make the Perfect Piping Hot Bowl
If you’re just getting into making homemade ramen (and all the delicious components that go with it), you can start from the beginning with our favorite ramen recipes. Lots of these components can and should be made ahead and frozen which makes it easy to have real ramen any night of the week with minimal prep work. Here are the delicious Ramen Month recipes starting with baked baking soda.
- How to Make Baked Baking Soda (for Ramen, Chinese Wheat Noodles & Pretzels)
- How To Make Homemade Ramen Noodles From Scratch (The Easy Way)
- How to Make Perfect Jammy Ramen Eggs (Ajitsuke Tamago 味付け卵)
- Easy Chashu Pork チャーシュー(Marinated Braised Pork Belly Recipe For Ramen )
- Fluffy-Soft Homemade Pork Buns (Momofuku & Ippudo-Style)
- How to Make Crispy Shallow-Fried Chicken Breast Cutlets (like chicken katsu)
- Crispy Shallow-Fried Turkey Breast Cutlets (like turkey katsu)
- Rich and Creamy Homemade Tonkotsu Ramen Broth Recipe
Let’s get started!Print