Red braised pork belly may not be one of the best known Chinese food dishes in the West, but it is hands down the best. At least it is as far as I’m concerned.
The salty, sweet, gingery, and caramel flavors coupled with the decadent pieces of bite-sized pork belly is enough to reduce everybody at the table to silence, except for some animal-like grunts.
We’ve rated this recipe as EASY due to being able to combine most ingredients into resealable containers at home before you head out. The steps at the campsite are quite simple.
I had been making this for a while, and I always liked it, but last year we hosted a foreign exchange student from China and she showed me the error of my ways.
I supposed that’s what will happen when an American tries to cook Chinese food for somebody from China. I’m glad I tried to cook it for her anyway because after she set me straight, it’s one of my favorite dishes of any cuisine.
I learned that I was being far too bashful with the seasonings. This dish is meant to have an enormous amount of flavor.
The nice thing about it is that it’s simple enough to whip up at the campsite without much hassle.
What it isn’t is diet food. If I ate this every day, I’d have to hauled out to the campsite in the back of a flat-bed truck. It’s perfectly fine for a treat every once in a while though.
Ingredients and Substitutions
The recipe calls for some ingredients that aren’t common in a typical grocery store. There isn’t a substitute for them though. I would recommend finding an Asian food market nearby, or ordering them on Amazon.
One ingredient that I didn’t include is yellow rock candy. I think granulated white sugar is an acceptable substitute. If you want to do the recipe the completely authentic way, just substitute an equal amount of rock candy for the white sugar in the recipe.
The only real difference is the rock candy is slightly less sweet than granulated sugar.
You will need the following ingredients:
The Szechuan Chilis are optional but recommended. They are very mild if you throw them in whole. If you want a little bit of heat, you can snip one with a pair of scissors or cut it completely in half.
The more chilis you cut, the hotter it will be.
Serving Your Red Braised Pork Belly
We recommend parboiled rice as a side. Parboiled rice is much easier to deal with at the campsite than regular rice, although we don’t think the texture is quite as good.
Explore more camp stove recipes.
If you’re a beer drinker like me, an Irish Red Ale goes excellent with this recipe (Killian’s is my favorite). The toasty and malty notes of the beer pairs very well with the caramel notes of the braised pork.
A lighter beer would likely be overpowered by the bold flavors of this dish.
Camp Stove Red-Braised Pork Belly
- 1 lb. Pork belly
- 1 inch piece Fresh ginger – sliced into 5 disks
- 2 Green onions – white and green parts separated. White sliced into 1" pieces and green cut into small disks.
- 2 tbs. Vegetable oil
- 3 cups Chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tbs. Dark soy sauce
- 2 tbs. Shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp. Morton's Kosher Salt
- 3 tbs. Granulated white sugar
- 1 whole Star anise
- 4 Szechuan dried red chilis – optional
Before You Leave Home
- Slice pork belly into bite-size pieces (approximately 1-inch x 1/2-inch chunks). Put in a resealable zip-top bag and squeeze as much air out as possible.
- Add salt, star anise, and dried chilis to a zip-top bag.
- Add chicken stock, dark soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine to a jar or plastic container that will seal tightly without leaking.
At the Campsite
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Throw in your pork belly pieces and cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain the pot and rinse the pork belly with cold water.
- Heat oil until just smoking. Add the pork pieces and stir fry a couple of minutes until just starting to brown.
- Pinch the white portion of the green onions between your fingers and add to the pot. Add all other ingredients except the green portions of the green onions and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely melted. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, with the lid slightly ajar for about 1 hour, stirring on occasion until the pork is tender.
- If, toward the end of the cooking time, the sauce is still thin, turn up the heat and stir constantly to reduce it to a thick glaze prior to serving.
- Remove from heat and discard the ginger slices and chili peppers. Garnish with the remaining green parts of the scallions.
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