recipe: chinese red-braised pork belly

Red-braised pork belly (Chinese: 红烧肉) has been a staple of my childhood diet — and now that I’ve moved out of Texas, it was the first thing that I was determined to learn how to make.

It’s made with a wonderful mix of spices, cooking wine, a soy sauce power duo, and more. What you end up with is soft, melt-in-your mouth pork belly from a two-hour long braising process, and a thick, subtly sweet sauce that’s perfect for drizzling over white rice.

It’s time-consuming, but you’ll end up with two pounds of pork belly that will made a little fun to any of your meals throughout the week. Of course, this recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother, and then to me. Here’s the first time it’s appeared in print — and from my family to yours, we hope you enjoy it just as much as we do.


☐ Pork Belly (with or without skin) (2 lb)
☐ Cooking wine OR your choice of beer (3 tbs)
☐ Dark soy sauce (3 tbs)
☐ Regular soy sauce (3 tbs)
☐ Salt (2 tsp)
☐ Brown sugar (6 tbs)
☐ Orange peel (1)
☐ Green Onion (just the stalk — the white part)
☐ Ginger (3 thin slices)


  1. Slice the pork belly widthwise (into pieces about the size of two fingers).
  2. Once all cut, place into a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the color has changed. This both helps to tenderize it a second-time through, and to remove some of the gray-looking solid that you may see come up while boiling.
  4. Drain the meat, and clean off the gray solids (it’s just protein, but I don’t like eating it.)
  5. Place back into the pot.
  6. Now, add the rest of the ingredients into the pot.
  7. Add about 2 cups of water (or until covering the meat).
  8. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to medium heat.
  9. While you wait for the sauce to evaporate off and become thicker, you can add more sugar to taste (or dark soy sauce, if you want to add more color).
  10. Let boil until the sauces have boiled down to a thick, not-quite-caramel consistency (usually about 1/2 inch left from the bottom of the pot. If you like the sauce, you can keep more).
  11. Remove from heat, and serve over rice! Or noodles! Or just eat it! Drizzle the sauce over your meal, and there you have it — red braised pork belly.

Check the video below for a visual tutorial.


  1. I LOVE red-braised pork belly; I grew up eating mountains of them as a kid. I’m really surprised that it doesn’t require a lot of complicated ingredients, either; I just might have to try making it some day!

    Liked by 1 person

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