Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Radishes


Richard Blais crashed in the final moments of Top Chef Season 4 when his pressure-cooked pork belly did not turn out to be as delicious, or nearly as tender, as he had hoped: He didn't leave the meat in long enough. Gail Simmons chooses to stick with a more classic cooking method, marinating the pork overnight and braising it in a savory soy-and-mirin broth. More Pork Recipes

Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Radishes
Photo: © Anson Smart
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins


Pickled Radishes

  • 1 cup very hot water

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 8 small radishes, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium daikon (1 pound), peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Braised Pork Belly

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup mirin

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 limes)

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3 pounds pork belly, skin removed

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Steamed rice, for serving


Make the Pickled Radishes

  1. In a quart-size glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or in a large resealable plastic container, combine the water, sugar, and salt; cover and shake until dissolved. Add the vinegar along with the radishes, daikon, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain the pickled radishes before serving.

Make the Braised Pork Belly

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, mirin, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Cut the pork belly in half crosswise, roughly into two 6-inch squares. Add the pork belly to the marinade and seal the bag, pressing out any excess air. Refrigerate overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the pork from the bag and pat dry with paper towels; reserve the marinade. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the pork and cook over moderately low heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to a plate.

  3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the casserole. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the marinade and chicken broth and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole. Return the pork to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is nearly tender. Uncover and braise for 1 hour longer, until the meat is very tender.

  4. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet fat side up. Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl and spoon off the fat. Return the broth to the casserole and simmer until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

  5. Preheat the broiler. Broil the pork 8 inches from the heat until crisp, about 2 minutes; cut it into twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange in shallow bowls. Spoon the broth all around and garnish with the scallions. Serve with the Pickled Radishes and rice.

Make Ahead

The drained radishes can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. The pork can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated in the broth for up to 4 days. Reheat before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Pork belly is rich, so any wine without substantial tannins tends to disappear when served with it. A red wine from the Rhône Valley will make a good partner.

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