This is Japanese char siu (BBQ / grilled pork) recipe using a low temperature method. You can make it with a cooking device such as sous vide machines or a yogurt maker that can set a temperature at 70°C (158°F).
To be more specific about how to make it, cook pork belly at 70°C (158°F) for 15 hours with the device. Then roast it in the oven until golden brown. The char siu after slow cooking at low temperature is incredibly tender which I can say melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you are looking for a recipe of super tender char siu which something on top of ramen noodles, here is the recipe for you.
What is Japanese Char Siu sauce made of?
- Soy sauce
- Minced ginger
The essential ingredients of Japanese char siu sauce you’ll see for everyday Japanese recipe is sugar and soy sauce. Depending on the recipe, sake, mirin, miso, garlic or onions are included in the base ingredients to add a complex flavor. Mine is just simply added minced ginger. For me, this 3 ingredients are enough to make amazing sweet and savory char siu sauce.
Benefits of low temperature cooking
There are 3 benefits for this cooking method as follow.
- Tenderize meat
- Bring out flavor
- Easy to cook
When you cook raw meat at high temperature like cooking in a frying pan, a protein in meat shrinks quickly and it lets moisture in meat escape away with a lot of flavor. Then the meat will turn out to be hard and flavorless. On the other hands, low temperature cooking avoids that change while breaking down the hard tissues of meat.
How to make Japanese Char Siu (brief instructions)
Slice pork belly and poke holes all around with a fork. Then mix ingredients for marinade sauce in a pot over low heat.
Place the pork and pour the marinade sauce in a heat-resistant resealable food bag. (I used ziplock.) Then place in a pot and pour hot water, then cook at 70°C (158°F) for 15 hours with a low-temperature cooking machine.
Then remove from the bag and roast until the skin becomes golden brown.
Is pork safe to cook at 70°C (158°F)?
According USDA, pork is safe to eat if you keep the internal temperature at 62.8°C (145°F) for at least 3 minutes. The temperature of this recipe is about 7°C (13°F) higher than that criteria. Besides, 15 hours is that I think enough to cook through the pork.
How to serve?
Pak choi or other Asian vegetable that stir fried with sesame oil go nice with this char siu. For lunch, I recommend eating with cooked rice or ramen noodles. Also, it’s perfect filling for bapao sandwich.
I hope you enjoy this juicy, tender, and flavorful char siu !
Char Siu (Japanese BBQ Pork)
- 500 g (1.1 lb) boneless skin-on pork belly
- 80 g (2.7 fl oz) soy sauce
- 90 g (3 oz) sugar
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- Poke holes all around the pork with a fork.
- Place the soy sauce and sugar into a small pot over low heat. Once the sugar dissolved, remove from the heat and let it cool down.
- Slice the pork belly into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) thickness if it's bigger than that size.
- Place the pork into a heat-resistant resealable food bag. (I used ziplock.) Make sure not to overlap each sliced pork.
- Seal the bag: follow the instruction below of How to remove the air from an airtight bag without vacuum.
- Make sure the bag is completely sealed so that any water won't go in.
- Place the bag in a pot. And pour 70°C (158°F) enough water to cover the bag. If you combine boiling water and half the volume of tap water, the water temperature will be approximately 70 °C (158°F).
- Cook at 70°C (158°F) for 15 hours with your low-temperature cooking machine.
- When the cooking is almost done, preheat the oven to 250°C (482°F).
- Remove the pork belly from the bag and place them skin-side up in a heat resistant dish or on the oven tray lined with parchment paper. Keep the sauce in the bag.
- Roast for 7-10 minutes until the skin becomes light golden brown. Keep your eyes on the roasting pork after 5 minutes, so it will not to be burnt. Then pour 2-3 tablespoons of the marinated sauce over the pork and roast for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
- Meanwhile roasting the pork, boil the remained marinated sauce in a pan for extra sauce. Remove the pork from the oven and slice. And serve it with the sauce while it's warm.
How to remove the air from an airtight bag by hand
- After placing the pork in the bag, seal the bag, leaving the corner slightly open.
- Fill a large bowl or pot with water and carefully lower the bag in the water.
- Lowering the bag, press out as much air as possible with your hands. Water pressure will push air out of the bag through the unsealed corner.
- Once you press out all air, completely seal the bag. Then Back to the instructions above!