Korean Braised Pork Belly

The Koreans love their pork belly. They braise, barbecue, grill and stir fry it. When pork belly is cured and smoked, it becomes Western-style bacon. For this recipe and many other Asian pork belly recipes, uncured, unsmoked, fresh pork belly is used. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with an Asian community large enough to have grocery stores with a fresh meat counter you’ll easily find fresh pork belly, both in slabs and sliced for grilling. Here, in Las Vegas, we are able to purchase fresh pork from highly regarded black pigs at my favorite Korean supermarket, Greenland Market on Spring Mountain at Rainbow.

The marinade and braising liquid in this recipe both contain Korean red pepper powder, a Korean kitchen staple. While it looks like Western cayenne pepper, it isn’t. It’s exceptionally fragrant, fruity and vibrant red. It only contains a fraction of the spicy heat of cayenne pepper and can be used in copious amounts without making food too spicy. If you can’t buy it locally, it can be purchased on-line and is well worth seeking out. I use it in my dry rubs for good old American style BBQ ribs and chicken and receive rave reviews every time. It reminds me a great deal of really nice, fresh Hungarian or Spanish paprika and I often use it in place of paprika.

I prefer cooking this recipe in my pressure cooker because it’s quicker. Oven or stove-top braising work equally well, and I have also included those methods in the instructions below. This is a three-step step cooking process. The first cooking firms the meat up for the braising step. The braising renders the fat into a silky, luxurious mouth feel. The final roasting crisps up the top layer of fat.

This is a luxurious, special occasion dish. Yes, it is fatty, but it is meant to be eaten in small portions, wrapped in lettuce leaves with cabbage kimchi, marinated cucumbers or any other of the endless Korean side dishes know as banchan. The beverage of choice with this is soju, a Korean rice wine, or sake.

Braised Korean Style Pork Belly
2 lbs fresh, meaty pork belly
2 tablespoons Korean chile/garlic/sesame paste
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

Braising Liquid:
2 1/2cups water
½ cup rice wine or sherry
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Rub the pork all over with the marinade ingredients. Place in a Ziploc bag and marinate, refrigerated for 4 hours or better yet, overnight.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to firm the meat up.

*To cook in a pressure cooker, place the pork on rack in the pressure cooker, add the braising liquid and process for 45 minutes according to your cooker’s instructions.

*To oven braise, place the pork in a baking pan, add the braising liquid and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven for 2 hours at 325 degrees or until the pork is fork tender.

* To braise on top of the stove, place the pork on rack placed in a wok or Dutch oven, add the braising liquid, bring to a boil, cover tightly and simmer for 2 hours or until fork tender.

With either method, at the end of the cooking time, remove the pork to a plate and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pork in a baking pan, fat side up and roast for about 30 minutes or until the fat on the top becomes crisp. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

Serve with cabbage kimchi, marinated cucumbers and either steamed rice, or whole leaves of butter-crunch lettuce for diners to roll up thin slices of the crispy skin pork burrito-style.

Serves 8-10

One Perfect Bite..crispy, juicy and flavorful

    • Jen
    • July 22nd, 2017

    Have used this recipe many times. It is absolutely amazing, by far possibly the best recipe I’ve ever found online. This said by a Korean! Thank you

  1. No matter if some one searches for his required thing, so he/she
    wants to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

    • ghanan
    • March 6th, 2014


    • Botpol
    • January 21st, 2013

    This looks good but you’re way off base about Korean red pepper. Perhaps you should show the pepper you are using because the Korean red pepper I have is hotter than cayenne and nothing like paprika. Also the Korean chili/garlic/sesame paste, are you talking about gochujang?

    • Sorry to disagree with you, but the Korean red pepper (gochugaru) comes in a hot and a mild version. The bags I buy at my Korean market are marked as such. I prefer the mild version which is sweet, mild and very fragrant, much like a fresh, high quality Spanish or Hungarian paprika. That is what I used in this recipe. It is also available in a coarse flake version as well as a finer powdered version. As far as the paste, it is not gochujang but it does resemble it in appearance. It is actually called “hot chile paste with garlic and sesame” (sorry, I don’t know the Korean name for it). You certainly could substitute gochujang and add a clove or two of mashed garlic and a few drops of sesame oil with good results.

      • Jason
      • April 15th, 2014

      There are two versions of chili flakes.

      Taeyangcho – red fruity flakes (mild)

      And chungyanggochu – these are

      Way spicier than jalapeños but still

      Are Korean favorite

  2. Absolutely beautiful!! It looks like the fat does not really melt while you pressure steamed it as I would expect it would.. however, it is lovely and dark and delicious looking!

  3. I want to eat this.

  1. February 18th, 2014
  2. December 9th, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: