Home » The Ultimate Guide to Chashu Pork
Master the art of creating a melt-in-your-mouth chashu style pork, the perfect topping for fresh restaurant-style ramen, with our braised pork belly chashu and roasted pork shoulder chashu recipes.

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Anyone who loves ramen knows it’s the variety of toppings that make it unique and tasty. One of the most beloved traditional ramen toppings in Japan is chashu pork. Learning how to make it and what to do with it will help you make fresh restaurant-style ramen right at home for friends and family. You might think it’s hard to recreate a restaurant-quality bowl of ramen on your own, but with these tips and tricks, you can do it!

What Is Chashu?

Chashu is a dish made from fatty cuts of pork slow-braised or roasted until they are juicy enough to simply melt in your mouth. Based on the Chinese BBQ pork dish Char Siu, Japanese chashu is typically marinated in traditional ingredients like soy sauce, sake and sugar and braised/roasted at low temperatures. After cooking, cool it down to keep all of the umami inside of the meat until it’s time to eat!

What Cut of Meat Is Good for Chashu?

Pork belly and pork shoulder are the most popular choices for Chashu because they are fatty and become tender when cooked for enough time. Tonkotsu ramen pairs well with juicy braised chashu made with pork belly. Soy sauce ramen, on the other hand, has a more subtle taste and is more fragrant than tonkotsu ramen. It pairs better with pork shoulder.

You can also use beef substitutions for chashu. For braised pork belly chashu, use beef brisket, rib, etc. For roast shoulder chashu, use beef cuts like chuck tender or sirloin.

How to Make Chashu

Here we introduce recipes for two kinds of chashu: braised pork belly and roast shoulder. You’ll find that making tender and juicy chashu pork requires a lot of patience. Taking your time ensures the meat stays tender and absorbs tons of umami flavor from the sauce in the process. This is what gives the whole dish that fresh restaurant quality.

Braised Pork Belly Chashu

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Braised Pork Belly Chashu

Recipe presented by Akira (Brooklyn Ramen)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork Belly

Chashu Sauce

  • 2 cup Mirin
  • 2 cup Sake
  • 2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 piece Whole Chill Pepper

Instructions

Make Chashu sauce

  1. Add Mirin and Sake in a small pot and then heat it up over high heat to bring it to boil. Keep boiling for 2 to 3 minutes to burn off alcohol.
  2. Add soy sauce, garlic, and chill pepper in the pot and bring to boil again. Keep boiling for 30 seconds and turn off the heat.

Braise Pork

  1. Boil plenty of water in a large pot. Add pork belly and boil for 15 minutes. Take out the boiled pork belly and set it aside.
  2. Reheat chashu sauce over high heat and bring to boil. Add the pork belly into boiling chashu sauce.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the pork belly in the sauce for about 3 hours.
  4. Turn off the heat and rest it until the meat temperature goes down to the room temperature.
  5. Take braised pork out from the sauce and chill the pork in the refrigerator until serving.
  6. When serving, slice the pork and reheat in a pan with a bit of oil, or sear it with a cooking torch.

Cooking tips and side notes from the chef:

  • Once the pork belly is in the sauce, keep simmering it for a long period of time, but do not bring it to a boil. This allows the meat to soak up as much sauce as possible for as long as possible.
  • When cooling down the meat, don’t put it in the refrigerator or an ice bath. Doing either will make the meat less tender and more chewy and stiff. Also, make sure to keep the meat in the sauce to keep absorbing umami flavor while it cools down.
  • Further chilling the meat in the refrigerator (after it is cooled down) makes meat absorb umami flavor deep into the core of the meat.
  • You can reuse the chashu sauce two to three more times to marinate meat. You can also use the sauce to season fried rice and other dishes.
  • Braised pork belly chashu goes perfectly with tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu ramen soup is very thick, so it harmonizes well with pork belly, which is also thick and full of flavor. If you want to make tonkotsu ramen at home, we recommend using Hakubaku’s fresh ramen noodle kit, tonkotsu flavor. Hakubaku’s kit includes herty tonkotsu broth along with restaurant-style fresh noodle.
  • Place leftover pork belly chashu on hamburger buns with your favorite condiments and veggies to make juicy pork buns. Or, you can put it on top of cooked rice to make a chashu bowl.

Click here to learn more about Hakubaku's fresh ramen kit!

Roast Pork Chashu

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Roast Pork Chashu

Recipe presented by Akira (Brooklyn Ramen)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork Shoulder

Chashu Sauce

  • 2 cup Mirin
  • 2 cup Sake
  • 2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 piece Whole Chill Pepper

Instructions

Make Chashu sauce

  1. Add Mirin and Sake in a small pot and then heat it up over high heat to bring it to boil. Keep boiling for 2 to 3 minutes to burn off alcohol.
  2. Add soy sauce, garlic, and chill pepper in the pot and bring to boil again. Keep boiling for 30 seconds and turn off the heat.

Roast Pork

  1. Marinate raw pork shoulder blocks in the chashu sauce and let it rest in a refrigerator for about 12 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 250F.
  3. Take out marinated pork from the sauce and put the pork on a sheet pan.
  4. Roast the marinated pork in the oven for 3 hours.
  5. Take roasted pork out from the oven and leave it at the room temperature for an hour.
  6. Chill the roasted pork in a refrigerator until serve.
  7. When serving, slice the pork and reheat in a pan with a bit of oil, or sear it with a cooking torch.

Cooking tips and side notes from the chef:

  • Do not rush through the roasting process. Roast the meat for a long time at a low temperature. By doing this, you will break the hard fibers in the meat and make it tender (just like in the making of pulled pork!).
  • Proper moisture control during the roasting period is very important. If the surface of the meat looks dry, cover the meat in the middle of the roasting process to make sure it stays moist.
  • Make sure to cool the meat down all the way. If you cut the meat right after roasting, the oil and juice inside of the meat come out and you’ll lose the umami flavor! You want to make sure to keep that goodness intact until serving. By cutting the meat after it’s completely cooled down, you’ll keep the umami inside of the meat, and it will go into the ramen broth and give it serious flavor.
  • Roast chashu goes well with soy sauce ramen because the latter tends to have a subtle flavor that is very fragrant. Pork shoulder also has less fat, so it goes well with soy sauce broth as well. If you want to make soy sauce ramen at home, we recommend using Hakubaku’s fresh ramen noodle kit, soy sauce flavor.
  • You can reuse chashu sauce two to three more times to marinate meat. You can also use the sauce to season fried rice and other dishes.
  • Use leftover chashu by slicing it and topping a salad, or stir fry it with rice and egg to make fried rice.

Meet Hakubaku

Hakubaku has been a leading company in grain and grain-processed products in Japan since 1941. Hakubaku, which means “white barely,” refers to the delicious but healthy staple grain products that are an essential part of the Japanese diet and now are available around the world. It creates quality grain-processed products such as authentic Japanese noodles, mixed grains teas and flour products for both restaurants and households while exploring new possibilities of grains every day.

Get 2 ramen recipes using Hakubaku's fresh ramen kit here.