Pork belly lovers know that the meat’s best qualities are its juiciness and ability to absorb a ton of flavor. Pork belly is an absolute delicacy and incredibly versatile. You can make it into barbeque, tacos, and even ramen.
I had eaten plenty of sous vide meats and seafood but never dabbled in doing it myself until a few years ago. It has been an absolute game-changer in my kitchen. My friends are accustomed to having juicy, tender, home-cooked meals every time they come over for dinner.
This recipe is inspired by the pork belly I recently had at a fantastic Korean barbeque restaurant. It is spicy, crispy, juicy, and savory. The sous vide process produces a perfectly succulent pork belly every time.
How To Make Sous Vide Pork Belly
If you’ve never used sous vide cooker, boy, you’re in for a treat. Sous vide translates to “under vacuum” in French. First, you vacuum seal your meat, then it cooks while submerged in water that’s maintained at a precise temperature.
Because precision cooker sticks are exact in their temperature measurement, the sous vide process yields perfect results every time. It works by keeping the water circulating at a specific temperature for even cooking.
- Pork Belly: I always recommend using a skinless pork belly. The skin can get pretty rubbery. If you’re getting it from a deli counter, ask the butcher to remove the skin if possible.
- Garlic: If you’re like me, you can’t get enough garlic. Add more or less if you want!
- Ginger: Ginger is super popular in Asain recipes. It adds umami and spice and blends beautifully with the rest of these ingredients. It’s also great for an upset stomach!
- Sesame Oil: Sesame adds a slightly nutty flavor. I like to sprinkle actual sesame seeds on my finished product for the taste and the look!
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a yummy sweet flavor to our recipe and makes for a sweet and salty combo when combined with soy sauce.
- Korean Hot Pepper Paste: Hot chili paste is a sweet, savory, spicy ingredient used frequently in Asain cuisine. You can find it at most grocery stores, and it’s also called Gochujang.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is salty and delicious. It works very well in marinades because of its ability to penetrate meats.
Since the cooking process is so long (10 hours), the pork belly marinates while cooking. This recipe is as simple as putting everything in the sealable bag and plopping it into the water.
You’ll notice there are two ways of sealing the bag described.
Method 1: Vacuum Sealing
You can vacuum seal your marinade and pork belly in a vacuum-sealable bag for the most even cooking. You’ll need a vacuum sealer, which you can get on Amazon or a ton of other kitchenware stores. I use this method if I’m not going to eat the pork belly right away. It will stay safe in the freezer and won’t get freezer-burned because there’s no air in the bag!
Methos 2: Water Displacement Method
This is more intuitive than the name implies. All you have to do is submerge a Ziploc in water until all the air is pushed out. Then, zip the bag up and finish dropping it in!
What You’ll Need
- Sous vide precision immersion stick
- Large pot or plastic container
- Vacuum sealer (optional)
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure the sous vid bath is covered with a lid to ensure minimal water evaporation. The last thing you want is for all of the water to evaporate, and you have to add more and change the temperature.
- There should be no air bubbles in your sous vide bag. Air bubbles cause uneven cooking, which is a big no-no! Your bag should be air-tight, free of bubbles or gaps where water could get in.
- Don’t over vacuum and squeeze your pork belly too tight. This can mess with the texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you have to sear meats after sous vide water bath?
Searing pork belly after a sous vide water bath will make the outside nice and crispy. Especially with pork belly, which is soft by nature, you want a crunchy outer layer to make it even more appetizing.
Do you have to preheat the water for sous vide?
Simply immerse your sous vide immersion cooker and set it to the desired temperature. Once the water reaches the proper heat level, you are ready to put in the meat.
Can you sous vide in a sandwich bag?
You can sous vide in high-quality sandwich bag brands like Ziploc. You definitely want to use bags with limited chemicals, as those would enter your food when heated.
I hope you love this recipe and the sous vide process as much as I do! With sous vide, the possibilities are endless.
My favorite foods to sous vide are pork belly (of course), asparagus, beets, duck, and chicken breast. Make it a new hobby and see how much you can do!