3. Now that we have the marinade ready to go we can move onto preparing the pork belly. Start by carefully removing the top layer of skin first or get your butcher to do this for you. The reason for this is the skin will not not have enough time to crisp and may end up chewy when cooked. When ready slice the pork belly into 2 inch thick long strips of pork belly.
4. Next take the sliced pork belly and add to the marinade. Ensure all of the pork is well coated then cover tightly with cling film. Allow the pork to sit in the marinade in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours before cooking.
Method 1 – Sous vide Char Siu:
5. Right off the bat I know what your thinking, I don’t have one of those machine things, no sweat, a tightly air free zip lock bag works just as well. When the pork has finished marinading place a strip of pork into a Sous vide sheet or ziplock then add a small ladle of the marinade. Tightly seal ensuring that there is no air left in the bag then we can begin to cook. Place a large pan of water onto a medium to low heat and bring the temperature of the water up to 67°c using a thermometer to assist. When at temperature, add the pork belly then place something weighted over the top to keep the pork submerged. Cook the pork belly sous vide for 8 hours.
6. After 8 hours of cooking, the pork should be tender yet still have enough texture to be able to be sliced nice and thin. Remove the pork from the sous vide bag then place onto a wire rack to slightly cool. To finish the pork from here, use a blow torch or salamander to char until evenly caramalised all over the pork belly. Next slice as thin as you prefer and we have sous vide Char Siu pork belly.
Method 2 – Roast Char Siu:
7. Now onto the other method the classic roast Char Siu, start by removing the pork from the marinade then place the pork belly onto a wire roasting rack. Place the rack onto a lined baking tray then preset an oven to 150°c. When hot add the Char Siu and roast slowly for 1 hour and 30 minutes turning occasionally.
8. Just before the pork has finished roasting take the left over marinade then add to a small saucepan. Add 2 tbsp of honey and place onto a high heat. Reduce the marinade until a nice glossy glaze is made and set this to one side as we will use this to baste the pork when finished roasting.
9. When the pork is cooked remove from the oven and glaze generously with the glaze then when ready return back to the oven for an additional 5 minutes to caramelise. Remove the pork when nice and caramalised and allow to cool to one side before serving and we now have roast Char Siu….
Regardless of which cooking method you go for i’m sure you will enjoy both, however, cooking sous vide definitely improved the texture and enhanced the flavour of Char Siu. If I had to choose i’d roast easily due to the cooking time, but if your after that special hit Char Siu for a special occasion then go all out and cook it Sous Vide! I hope you like this recipe and as always peace!