This sous vide char siu pork belly is a straight mouthgasm. First off, sous vide pork belly is simply unbelievable. It is insanely tender and juicy. The definition of perfection. Then you glaze the belly with a delectable char siu marinade and you have the perfect flavor profile.
Do yourself a favor and make this recipe stat.
Time and Temperature
Through loads of experimentation, we’ve found that cooking the char siu pork belly at 74C/165F for 10 hours is the perfect combo. Leaving the pork in for 10 hours breaks down the connective tissue (collagen), which results in an extremely tender belly. Also, cooking it at a temperature of 165F is the sweet spot for juicy, delicious pork belly. Just make sure you have a reliable sous vide that accurately regulates the temperature of the bath or your results may vary (check out the Anova or Joule). For other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide here.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule. The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for 72 hours care-free.
Cast Iron Skillet – If you are looking to take your searing game to the next level, we recommend investing in a cast iron skillet. By using a cast iron in this recipe, you’ll achieve a deep sear on the protein. Cast irons are also extremely handy for searing just about any and all sous vide meat. Lodge offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite cast iron brand.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Sous Vide Char Siu Pork Belly
- 1 lb pork belly
- 1 ½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
In a bowl, mix together hoisin, soy sauce, honey, sugar, five spice powder, sesame oil and red food coloring.
Put the pork belly in a freezer bag with the char siu sauce, and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Put the bag in the fridge, and let the pork marinade for 4 to 24 hours (optional, but recommended).
Set sous vide machine to 74C/165F. Once the target temperature is reached, drop pork belly in the bath for 10 hours.
Set oven to 204C/400F.
Remove bag from bath, and immediately transfer bag to an ice bath to cool down the pork belly. Once cooled, take pork belly out, pat dry and slice the belly into ¼-inch lengthwise pieces.
Heat small sauce pan on medium, add char siu sauce from bag and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Once thickened, turn off heat and add pork belly to evenly coat each slice. Leave extra sauce for a second coat. Remove slices from pan and arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Set oven to 350F. Place baking sheet in oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven, and re-coat the pieces with remaining sauce. Switch to broil mode and finish for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, and cut in to desired piece size. Serve with fried rice, noodles, and/or vegetables and enjoy!