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Chashu Pork (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

Many ramen lovers adore a couple of slices of chashu pork atop their steaming bowls of deliciousness. The caramelized outside layer and tender inside layer is just the most perfect union for creating the ultimate ramen trophy. There’s probably nothing more perfect in a ramen lover’s mind than a rich bowl of ramen topped with chashu pork and a ramen egg (ajitsuke tamago). 

This melt-in-your-mouth pork is seared and then braised in a sweet and savory sauce for hours. Most people assume chashu pork is difficult to make and don’t even attempt to replicate it at home. The truth though (sorry, ramen joints) is that it is really quite simple to make yourself. It does take a while to cook, but the actual prep time is minimal. So skip the restaurant and make your own chashu. I promise it’ll be better anyway. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. pork belly

1 c. water

½ c. soy sauce

½ c. sake

½ c. mirin

¼ c. sugar

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

3 inch piece of ginger, sliced

5 green onions, sliced into 2 inch sections

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. 

Roll the pork belly as tightly as you can, leaving the skin side out. Using butcher’s twine, tie up the roll so that the pork belly will stay rolled up during cooking. This is important because rolling a pork belly allows it to cook more evenly. 

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and sear the pork belly until it is browned on all sides. In the meantime, mix together the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar in an oven safe pan or dutch oven. Add in the garlic, ginger, and green onions. Add the browned pork belly and cover. Place in the oven.

Braise in the oven for about 2 hours, flip the pork belly and braise for 2 more hours. If you would like to caramelize the outside even more, you can broil the chashu for a few minutes. 

Let the chashu cool completely and then refrigerate it overnight. It will be much easier to cut if it’s cool. To reheat, just simply slice and add it to your hot bowl of ramen.

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