Japanese Chashu Pork Belly 6 Steps
If the pork belly is in 1 large piece, split it in the middle to make two equally sized and more manageable pieces. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is the best) on medium high heat. Add in just enough vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Begin browning the pork belly piece by gently laying the meat fat side down to start into the hot pan. Allow the fat side to brown and render for approximately 5-7 minutes until deeply golden brown, repeat this process on all other sides until evenly browned.
While the pork belly is browning, peel the thumbs of ginger, and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Combine the ginger pieces with the scallions, sake, light soy sauce, water, mirin as well as brown sugar in a Dutch oven or oven proof braiser that will also eventually fit the pork belly. Bring the braising liquid to a gentle simmer.
Once the pork belly pieces are browned, add them to the simmering pot of braising liquid, fat side facing upwards, cover with a lid and braise in a preheated 300°F oven and cook for 2 hours, flipping the pork belly pieces halfway through.
After two hours remove from the oven, flip the pork belly pieces so that once again the fat side is facing upwards. Allow to cool completely at room temperature in the liquid and then refrigerate both pork belly and braising liquid together overnight.
The next day, use a spoon to remove any undesired and excess fat from the liquid. Remove the pieces of pork belly and set aside. Strain the liquid into another pot through a fine strainer and reduce until thick and sauce like. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Slice the pork bellies into 1/4 inch pieces, brush lightly with the reduced sauce and either place under the broiler or using a handheld blow torch, char each slice lightly. Serve with additional sauce, sliced scallions with either soft boiled eggs, ramen noodles or steamed rice.